The four pillars of employee experience success
In our personal lives we’re used to giving and receiving instant feedback. Whether a like on an Instagram photo, retweet of a Twitter post or a reaction on a Facebook status, we have grown accustomed to receiving real-time feedback. Yet in our working lives the situation couldn’t be more different and our experiences outside of work are starting to have a big impact on our expectations within the workplace.
More often than not, our manager—the person we’re entrusting our career to—only makes a point of giving or asking for feedback at most once or twice a year. According to research from Qualtrics, 45% of employers only ask their employees for feedback at most once a year. Similarly, a third of employers have no formal process in place for employees to provide feedback. Given this fact, it’s rare for employees to have any platforms available to voice their own opinions on the workplace, their colleagues or the management.
There’s a clear gap emerging between employees’ expectations at work and the delivery of a world-class employee experience. Done right, employee experience management drives financial results through attracting and hiring top talent, developing and retaining top performers, improving employee engagement and productivity, and reducing unwanted and costly attrition.
Follow these four core principles to find out how you can close the employee experience gap and create a successful approach to employee experience management:
1. Executive alignment
Building an employee experience culture starts with leadership commitment and extends outward through managers, HR teams, and toward every individual employee. Company leaders and people managers are ultimately accountable for the experiences and development of people employed at an organisation. While HR may take the lead, executives ultimately engage and give sign-off.
Employee experience should start at the very top, with a culture of continuous feedback and transparency that is driven by executive leaders who see feedback as an integral driver of employee experience and organisational improvement.
Executives need to view employees as important stakeholders and become receptive to, and willing to act on, employee feedback. When HR leaders can deliver feedback to executives paired with recommended action plans, those executives can act decisively.
Their buy-in and ongoing involvement will pave the way for others throughout the organisation to allocate time and energy to improving the employee experience.
2. Experience feedback systems
Creating a culture of transparency establishes trust and helps employees understand their role in contributing to the company. Instead of relying on appraisals or annual employee surveys, capture feedback at every stage of the employee journey—from recruitment to exit—to identify and optimise key experience and engagement drivers at every stage.
Guiding employees on the difference between constructive feedback (solving problems) and non-constructive feedback (airing problems) will be important for any employee experience feedback to be valuable. Provide a mechanism for offering suggestions, recommendations and problem-solving and protect their feedback to encourage candour.
Reward employee participation and candour with visible efforts from leaders and proactive sharing of feedback. Every employee should have some view of company-wide and team-level employee experience results, even if it’s just a summary. It’s an important step in reinforcing engagement,
identifying opportunities for incremental improvements and acknowledging challenges.
3. Engagement and accountability
If leadership and people managers are ultimately accountable for the employee experience, then it’s important to empower them to understand the feedback and act on it. Equip leaders and managers with the tools they need to visualise and analyse data and build action plans.
As you build or configure reporting layouts for managers, keep in mind their purposes or ability to understand the data.
If managers are not accustomed to an employee feedback or experience initiative, HR leaders should offer guidance and best practices. You may want to deliver these verbally or in written format, with training help managers understand the results and take proper action from their dashboards.
4. Expansion and scale
Employee experience is not a “launch and leave” initiative. An effective employee experience programme is one that is flexible and scalable and that allows you to continually test and innovate.
Your insights process must be agile enough to change approach if needed, scalable enough to add new people or groups cleanly as the company grows, and advanced enough to map previous survey results to each other. Mature employee experience programmes scale easily and focus on continuous and sustained improvement.
With full-lifecycle measurements, dynamic feedback and analysis tools, and flexible action planning, your organisation can deliver frequent and actionable data to improve the employee experience at the pace of today’s workforce.