“As employees, we’re all on a journey with our employer. Our experiences on this journey will strongly influence our attitudes; our attitudes in turn form our behaviours which ultimately drive outcomes. A poor Employee Experience (EX) naturally results in a poor outcome.” – Oracle
Employee experience is not just another buzzword created to jargonize the discipline of employee engagement. It is, in fact, the foundation for achieving differentiated and sustainable business results. This is hardly surprising when you consider its impact. When the employee experience is good, employees are happy, engaged, and able to get their work done efficiently. That delivers better bottom line results.
But what is employee experience? Is it the perks and benefits that you offer to your employees – the cherry on the top of the ice-cream sundae? Or is it something more? An important point to consider here is if the ice-cream sundae is appalling, the cherry will not make up for it. Your employee experience is like the sundae, it runs so much deeper than perks and casual Fridays!
When we talk about employee experience, we are also referring to the days where there are difficult performance reviews, or how well the manager supported an employee the day she learned her son had cancer? Or consider whether the organization acted upon the key areas of opportunities identified in the last engagement survey.
Designing the right employee experience
Employee experience is principally concerned with one of the essential questions in business: How do I create the right Employee experience (that is, the right employee operating environment) so I can help my people deliver great results? Once you accept this notion – that it’s all about your people – then you really begin to see how the right employee experience can be transformative. Hence, your most vital contribution as a leader is to design, build, and sustain the right employee experience so that the sum of your employees’ perceptions, whether across your organization, division or team, is such that it encourages and produces the very best in your people.
Here are our recommendations that can act as a roadmap to your organization’s employee experience strategy –
Tune into the voice of your employees using analytics
The subject of employee experience may suggest the softer disciplines of employee culture and perception, but enhancement efforts should start with analytics. Your organization can apply similar techniques to gauging employee experience as those you use to measure and evaluate customer experience. Traditional employee HR information, semi-structured engagement surveys and unstructured comments from internal and external social platforms can provide insights into potential solutions to experience challenges. Even the Internet of Things can generate useful data about working conditions and personal wellness. Analytics can help you develop insights about specific segments of the population, identify changes in physical and social environments, amplify employee voice and address issues associated with productivity and tool usage.
Invest in key touchpoints where employee experience has the greatest impact
Making changes to employee experience often requires investment. It forces you to think about the points in the employee lifecycle that truly make a difference —for employees and the organization as a whole. For some companies, particularly those in traditionally labor-intensive industries, recruiting and onboarding processes have a significant impact on attracting and retaining top talent. These organizations depend on recruiting experiences that reflect the employer brand and are able to rapidly absorb employees into the working environment.
For other companies, experiences related to project assignments and career development will more notably impact retention and productivity. Understanding the relevance of different employee experiences, and taking into consideration your organizational strategy and culture, will help you target investment in those areas that are most impactful.
Build an employee experience coalition that crosses traditional silos
Designing integrated experiences around the physical, social and task spheres requires a multi-functional perspective. In addition to tool design and development, IT needs to provide the hardware and help desk support that makes it easier for employees to perform their jobs. Facilities and real estate services are vital to delivering workspaces that enable individual productivity and collective innovations. Marketing must help amplify and communicate the connection between employee and corporate branding. And perhaps most importantly, leadership at the line-of-business level must oversee day-to-day employee activities and the overall work environment.
Employee experience cannot be delegated to a specific supporting organization; rather, it needs to be woven into the very fabric of your business. In the future, responsibility for the employee experience may fall under the umbrella of a Chief Digital Officer. While many of these digital leadership roles currently cover external customer experiences, it is not too far-flung to imagine them expanding to encompass employee experience issues, as well.
Design employee experiences using rapid, iterative design principles
Lessons from the world of customer experience point to the value of applying agile design principles to enhancing employee experiences. First, develop a deep understanding of your user population based on quantitative as well as observational data. Second, document the stages of the employee journey, highlighting the physical, social and task-related interactions that occur at each stage, as well as approaches for addressing limitations or bottlenecks. Third, rapidly develop solutions that solve parts of the puzzle over short time periods rather than creating one larger solution that may take months or years to execute. Finally, capture feedback and refine the original solution on an ongoing basis. Applying these principles to the design of employee experience can generate quick successes and prevent larger, more costly challenges in the future.
If your aim is to create a thriving workforce, successful business, and happy customers, the obvious route is via your employees. How you treat them will have a knock-on effect that ripples throughout your company. It’s time to examine your employee experience and, where necessary, get started on making positive changes. Today.
How InspireOne | IBM can help:
Today’s organizations need to attract, retain and develop top-performing talent, create engaging social and collaborative cultures, and connect the right people to get work done. InspireOne | IBM solutions combine market-leading talent management and social collaboration tools with the power of workforce science and advanced analytics. We help organizations build impassioned and engaged workforces, and deepen client relationships that can lead to measurable business outcomes.
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