Kim Dawson, Director of Employee Experience at YouEarnedIt, shares key takeaways from YouEarnedIt’s latest market research, The Employee Experience Optimized, that uncovers the business benefits of optimized employee experience and offers data-backed steps for creating a best-in-class culture at organization’s today.
Employees today expect a better employee experience, yet many businesses are still using outdated and ineffective strategies to approach engagement and retention. Employees want more connection, a deeper sense of meaning, the ability to impact others, and appreciation from the companies they work for . If they receive these, they will give back to their employer in the form of increased revenue and earnings, improved productivity, higher retention, and better customer experience.
We surveyed more than 2,000 full-time employees to understand what culture looks like in organizations today, what constitutes a high-performing culture, and how the employee experience impacts business success
Our report, The Employee Experience Optimized, uncovered 10 Culture Building Blocks that embed connection, meaning, impact, and appreciation into the corporate culture. Each building block serves as a leading indicator of the quality of employee experience and, when leadership owns these building blocks and helps embed them into the company culture, 95% of employees rated their employee experience as positive.
The 10 Culture Building Blocks are:
Sense of pride for what the company does and stands for
Positive, trusting relationships with managers
Strong, positive relationships between team members
Regular feedback on and appreciation for day-to-day work
Clear understanding of company and team goals
Opportunities for professional growth and continued learning
Knowledge of how individual work makes a difference in a company or team success
Flexibility to meet demands of personal and professional life
Swift and transparent company-wide communication
Opportunities for ownership, creativity, and innovation at work
While these Building Blocks may seem intimidating, especially for companies that may not put culture on the same level as other KPIs, there are several actionable steps companies can take today to better optimize the employee experience.
Hold regular, effective one-on-ones
Effective one-on-ones are a key tool for building a great culture. 82% of employees who had frequent one-on-ones with their manager had a positive employee experience. When compared to employees who didn’t have regular meetings with their managers:
38% more employees with regular one-ones said they received feedback and appreciation for their work
10% more knew how their work linked to team and company goals
33% more said that company goals and objectives were communicated clearly
38% more said they had a trusted relationship with their manager
44% more said their company had swift and transparent communication
Amplify core values using a public recognition program
Having company core values directly impacts the employee experience. 83% of employees at companies that had communicated core values had a positive employee experience, vs. 38% of those that didn’t. The numbers jump higher — to 91% positive — if leadership demonstrates the core values frequently or constantly. According to SHRM, taking recognition a step further and embedding core values into a public recognition platform amplifies both the recognition and the values.
Invest in team connection
Gallup has asked “do you have a best friend at work?” in their engagement surveys for the past 30 years and have consistently found that having a best friend at work leads to better performance. Our research matches these findings with 92% of employees saying that having positive relationships with coworkers mattered to their employee experience. While companies can’t ensure that all teams are best friends, they can build a culture of respect. Investing in team rewards, letting employees recognize each other for a job well done, and asking employees to be thoughtful in resolving differences of opinion all set the stage for positive connection .
Give employees the gift of time
When employees are juggling the time to perform Alsoa demanding job and the needs of a family or life outside of work, burnout is an enormous risk. But investing in work/life balance reaps benefits. 80% of employees whose companies supported work/life balance reported a positive employee experience.
Incentivize organic on-the-job learning and professional growth
We found that professional development and learning contribute to high-performing cultures with 82% of employees who were learning and growing in their job reporting a positive employee experience. In addition, 88% of all employees said that learning and growing in their job mattered to their employee experience. Professional growth doesn’t have to be a promotion, a tuition reimbursement plan, or a structured learning program. A good first step is to encourage employees to learn from each other and collaborate with another department, work on a project outside of typical day-to-day duties, or contribute to new processes and improvements.
Encourage employees to take small risks
86% of the employees said that being able to make suggestions or decisions about the way their job is performed mattered to their employee experience. While ownership and decision-making matter to employees, they also need to feel safe if they’re going to take risks . And that safety matters to performance. With Project Aristotle, Google performed a two-year study of the characteristics of their highest performing teams. The single most common attribute? Psychological safety. If employees feel safe taking risks or sharing new ideas, the whole team performs better.
Practice continuous listening
Asking employees their impressions of the employee experience, and comparing results gives clear metrics and direction on what companies need to optimize. Today, only 11% of companies with 1,000 or more employees are measuring engagement more than once a year – let alone taking a pulse on culture or the employee experience. There is a flood of new options to give and collect feedback from employees today: surveys, eNPS, and recognition tools can combine to give valuable snapshots of the quality of a company’s employee experience.