The cultural, physical and technological environments of an organization determine its employee experience. All of them need to be designed thoughtfully to give an employee experience that is appreciated by the employees. Great employee experience leads to happy employees, in turn translating into high productivity.
Employee experience has always been important for organizations. Of late, it has assumed a greater significance due to factors like globalization of work force and rapid mobility. These factors pose a challenge in terms of retention of talent to organizations. A report by Deloitte states that nearly 80% of the executives consider employee experience to be very important and only 22% of the executed stated that their organizations were not very good at structuring personalized employee experience. So obviously there are experience gaps. Experience gap is the difference in perception between what an organization thinks is happening and what its employees are really experiencing.
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So why is employee experience management still a challenge for companies? Several factors are responsible for this. First and foremost, companies have not made employee experience framework a priority for their senior HR managers. Some companies create a post of the employee experience officer but senior managers or a dedicated team is not given the responsibility to take care of employee experience. A lot of times, old traditional siloed HR has tackled employee engagement, work culture, rewards, learning and career advancements separately. This is not the way employees want their experience to be. They want a holistic and integrated experience encompassing their work and personal life promoting their physical, emotional, professional and financial health.
How to improve employee experience (EX)? Shifts in mindsets of senior managers as well as changes in technology can bring about the desired change. For EX to be completely holistic, internal processes, manager-employee relationship, interactions with colleagues and technology all have to blend together. In practical terms, this translates into giving special attention to moments like on-boarding and recognition of job milestones. Giving due importance to and making use of insights shared by employees, and sharing it all with the relevant teams as opposed to keeping it with only HR are some of the ways in which HR can connect with the employees and improve EX.
Connect with employees improves when companies devise and implement different ways of listening. To improve employee experience, multiple feedback systems need to be put in place. There are many ways in which employee feedback can be collated apart from surveys.
An on demand anonymous feedback system should be a part of employee experience software of every company. Such a system makes it easy for the employees to give feedback when they want, as opposed to when companies want them to give feedback. Similarly, ad-hoc feedback on customer handling, internal programs or organizational changes from employees as and when needed is also great. Of course most companies have regular and structured pulse surveys to gauge employee attitudes. These surveys are a useful part of employee experience framework. Employee lifecycle surveys, at the time of on-boarding, job milestones and exiting provide critical insights for improving employee experience.
HR needs to pay attention to the everyday experience of employees. Apart from important milestone moments like interviewing, on-boarding exiting etc, there are other times in an employee’s life such as initial month at the job, successful completion of an important assignment and work anniversary that are significant. HR must ask their thoughts at these moments too (by ad-hoc surveys or pulse surveys).
Use of technology to improve HR connect with employees is essential. People analytics by using a mix of data ensures that HR learns more. Experiential data as well as operational data both can be used to understand more about employee experience leading to improvement.
Management must think of providing healthy and happy work environment. This is a prerequisite for a great employee experience. Wellness programs, gyms, meditation center and recreational activities foster a lively work place. The central idea is really to make employees feel valued.
A change in thinking where employees can be given more control over their work time helps a lot too. Flexibility in work schedule leads to better work-life balance and employees are better motivated. Latest technological tools to help them work from anywhere anytime should be provided.
Recognition and reward are powerful components in the employee experience framework. Employees that are recognized do not leave.
It is for the companies to think innovatively to bring about truly great employee experience in these highly competitive times to retain talent. A survey by Glassdoor Inc. in 2018 stated that companies with great employee experience exceed the sales and performance by nearly 122%.
Paying attention to employee experience, management can succeed in bettering employee engagement leading to empowered teams and leaders. Workforce solutions that make employees happy can be developed. For a satisfied workforce works best for positive business outcomes.
- Improving EX takes a different way of thinking. Elizabeth Kampf and Liz Pavese-Kaplan. 9th August 2019
- Make employee experience a top priority in 2018. Gunjan Bhatia. 6th February 2018