High-performing organizations make employee experience an integral part of every department, from H.R. to sales and marketing. They place just as much value on employee experience as they do on customer experience. After all, your employees are your first customers; their attitude about your organization will filter down to customers, potential customers, and beyond.
On a basic level, we all understand that having a good experience at work is important, enabling and motivating us to do our best. Companies are increasingly finding that employees who have a positive experience are motivated to work harder, are less likely to go job-hunting, and are more likely to be advocates to potential future hires. This is just common sense.
Still, it can be surprising just how much employee experience makes a difference. Employee experience affects the business at every level, from H.R. to Customer Service to the bottom line. For example:
Disengaged employees cost the US between $450 - $550 billion per year.
Customer loyalty improves up to 200% when employees are engaged.
Clearly, it’s time for business leaders to get serious about employee experience. To help you get a handle on it, we created the following guide. Read on to learn about the crucial elements of employee experience through practical advice from experts in the field.
“[Employee experience] is not a moment in HR, but a movement that is part of a larger initiative to transform businesses and create an experience for employees which mirrors their last best customer experience.” -Jeanne C. Meister, Founding Partner, Future Workplace, Author of The Future Workplace Experience Click to Tweet
Since employee experience is such a crucial element of success, leadership should approach it with the same strategic mindset as any other major business initiative. Any plan to improve employee experience should have measurement built in during the planning stages, with clear KPIs and quantifiable metrics to evaluate progress.
“Measurement of employee experience initiatives is extremely important, since failure to develop metrics to monitor their performance can negatively impact an organization’s ability to attract and hire top talent.
But all organizations are different, and there’s no standard of measurements that suits every organization. Examples of traditional metrics that have been used to measure ROI of the experience (particularly the candidate one) include cost per hire, time to fill, time to productivity, and candidate satisfaction rates. However, more sophisticated metrics include:
Thanks to predictive analytics, organizations have more sophisticated metrics at their disposal. You can tell, for instance, how and why your employer brand messaging and your experience overall is resonating with a particular audience of recruits or employees.”
“One aspect of employee experience being overlooked today is how employee experience is the correlation between customer experience and employee experience. My research in my book, The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules for Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees shows that early adopter organizations that understand the shift of power from companies to customers and employees are investing resources to enhance their employee experience as a way to better attract and retain talent. These early adopter organizations are creating new job roles and functions within HR to create great experiences for employees from recruiting to career development, workspace and ongoing engagement. This is not a moment in HR, but a movement that is part of a larger initiative to transform businesses and create an experience for employees which mirrors their last best customer experience.”
Employee experience is about more than compensation, type of work, or style of management. While each of these considerations are part of the equation, they’re a small part of the bigger picture. Make sure your plan is designed to address the following five essential elements.
New hardware and software can help improve employee experience. But the investment must be made thoughtfully and strategically, with employee input. Employees need tools that enable people to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Otherwise, even the shiniest new tech is just another thing the employee has to learn, disrupting routines and hurting productivity.
“Digital transformation is everywhere in business and the employee experience is no different: it is increasingly primarily digital. The reality is that increasing numbers of workers are working virtually: they are trying to get things done while traveling, working from home, or logging in outside of traditional office hours and environments.
So companies need to keep the tools and technologies they are offering workers front and center when evaluating the “experience.” A critical aspect of any “personas” used in “design thinking” approaches to improving the employee experience should be when, where, and why they use technology and most importantly how.”
The nature of work is changing, as digital transformation makes it possible for people to work whenever and wherever they are the most productive. A one-size-fits-all approach to employee experience is sure to leave some employees feeling left out. However, a tailored approach that seeks to group employees together by artificial measures like age or seniority is just as detrimental. A truly personalized approach involves employees in crafting the experience that suits their work style.
“Organizations should be prepared to consider different options for different types of digital adopters and not necessarily just by generational lines (e.g. Millennials vs Baby Boomers). Some may prefer mobile access to everything, others will want to have micro interactions embedded into wherever they are working, such as collaboration or customer-focused applications, which may work better on a laptop or desktop than mobile phone.
And increasingly more and more folks will get used to having voice interaction via cognitive technologies to provide them enhanced access to whatever systems organizations may have in place. And that means that needing to upgrade to a whole new platform to get a “modern UI” becomes increasingly moot.”
The days of closed-door management, of word coming down “from on high,” are over. Modern employees want to feel connected to management on a personal level. Management can show that the organization is invested in each employee’s success by offering mentoring, regular meetings, and meaningful performance assessments designed to promote improvement.
“There are two skills, or rather, traits, that the company's leaders must have in order to foster a stronger connection with employees and to, ultimately, improve the employee experience: (1) being servant leaders and (2) embracing truly human leadership.
What does that mean? Servant leadership is all about leaders putting their people first and themselves second. They must trust, respect, listen, and empathize, as well as recognize that their employees' needs come before their own. They must also develop people and ensure they become high performers.
Truly human leadership takes that one step further and encourages leaders to treat their employees like family. It’s about measuring success by the way company leaders touch the lives of their people. Instead of viewing employees as a cog in the wheel to company success, truly human leaders view employees as humans, as family, as family members.
Imagine the employee experience if that was the case, if leaders put their employees and their needs before themselves and cared about employees, their families, and their well-being! And measured success by how they touched their employees' lives! A little humanity and humaneness would go a long way.”
This personal connection requires two-way communication, of course. Employees need to feel like they have an active role in shaping the corporate culture, their work environment, and ultimately their own experience. That means management should be prepared to actively listen as much as talk.
“In combination with a holistic strategy to foster a culture of engagement, technology can enable organizations to establish a digitally connected enterprise that is built on systems and processes that unleash the potential of human capital data. That is, technology can create a greater workforce experience by enabling better career development opportunities, create a fairer environment for reward and progression, and allowing leadership to access data about the workforce that drives better decisions about who can contribute to the goals of the organization.
When employees and leaders are better connected, the greater chance of employees being identified for new opportunities or mentorship because of their engagement and commitment means that employees know their contributions to the enterprise have a meaningful impact on their career opportunities and remuneration. When everyone knows that their contributions to the organization matter and can lead to career enhancement, the employee experience becomes something real for everyone.”
To have a truly positive work experience day after day, employees need to feel that their work has purpose. They need to see how their role fits into the company’s overall vision, and feel that their contribution is both necessary and valuable.
Employees need to avoid stagnation to continually feel as though their work is meaningful. As such, part of the employee experience should be access to learning and development within the organization. If employees can share the company’s vision, and feel the company is invested in making each employee an ever greater part of that vision, they’re more likely to be fully engaged.
“Companies can foster a greater sense of purpose by ensuring a good fit between work tasks and personal values. When employees feel as though their work is contributing to something that is important to them, they are likely to be more engaged and fulfilled by what they are doing.”
A feeling of connection to co-workers is the final essential component of employee experience. Employees need to feel that they are part of a larger culture that encourages collaboration and innovation. Isolated employees who are discouraged from sharing information with each other are more likely to disengage. What’s more, the organization as a whole benefits from cross-collaboration. Companies that value communication within departments and across departmental lines are more likely to generate new ideas and stay ahead of the competition.
“Forward thinking companies are looking beyond the “employee experience” to the “total workforce experience”: considering how they treat other constituents of their workforces: contractors, contingent workers, outsourced service staff, partner employees, even extended family and dependents of their traditional full time employees who may need access to systems such as for pay, benefits administration, and well-being. They should also incorporate access to all self-service systems outside of the traditional HR function as well, such as for travel, expense, and supplies requisitioning – which may be the most overlooked aspect of addressing employee experience of all.”
Employee experience plays a substantial role in how effective, efficient, motivated and productive your employees are. But the benefits of great employee experience don’t stop at the employee level. Engaged employees with a sense of well-being improve customer service, talent acquisition, and ultimately drive more revenue.
Use the tools and resources on this page to take a well-rounded, strategic approach to employee experience.