Why Great Companies Struggle to Build Great Employee Experience


Today’s leaders know that employee experience (EX) matters. As reported by Deloitte, nearly 80 percent of executives consider EX “important” or “very important.” Yet only 22 percent believe their companies excel at it. What’s responsible for this gap? If leaders are committed to putting “people over profits,” why aren’t they confident in the experience they’re providing for their people?

Why a Great EX Is Elusive
In a nutshell, the answer is that world-class EX doesn’t come from the top down—not anymore. Office snacks and annual holiday parties are the new normal, so “perks” are no longer enough to attract, retain, and get maximum value from top talent.

Today’s high-value employees aren’t interested in free candy. They’re interested in a more comprehensive experience, which means:

They want to feel valued and heard.
They want their work to be meaningful.
They want to contribute in creative ways that may extend beyond their roles.
Above all, they want leaders to take action based on what they report from the front lines.

From the c-suite’s perspective, this is an abstract problem with no turnkey solution, which is why some great companies are struggling to build a great EX and turning to HR leaders in their organizations to help.

Learn more: Employee Experience: Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts

The Three Building Blocks of a Great EX
Good news: For HR leaders who are willing to take the wheel, there is a clear, gimmick-free path to outstanding EX. It’s all about 2 main things – one being (efficiently) crowdsourcing employee ideas, then taking action based on those ideas and the second being consistently understanding where employees are in their career journey with the organization.

We’ve boiled this process down to three actionable steps, outlined below. The best part of this approach is that it’s neither abstract nor theoretical. Instead, we rely on existing intuitive and elegant tools that companies can use to accomplish all of this at any scale.

Building Block #1: Obtain Constant and Consistent Feedback
Although annual employee surveys are common, the leading practice is to hear employees’ voices much more frequently. That’s because annual surveys are simply too infrequent to capture everyday pain points. If the survey takes place in October, an operational problem that took three weeks to resolve back in April is probably not going to be reported.

The result, somewhat paradoxically, is that annual surveys are more likely to reflect employees’ moods on the day of the survey than their experiences over the course of a year. This, in turn, means that only a fraction of the feedback collected is truly actionable. Employees are also wise to this, so they don’t perceive annual surveys as an opportunity to make any real change or feel like they are being truly he.

Comcast, for example, has an effective model for continuous employee engagement, in which employee pain points are uncovered via regular team “huddles.” During these huddles, team members review and discuss internal NPS scores, comments, shout-outs, and “Elevations” (ideas for action).

Once an Elevation is submitted following a huddle, its progress is tracked transparently. While Elevations are often low-tech, simple fixes, these minor tweaks have major benefits not only for employees but also for customers. Thanks to this system, Comcast can continuously improve both EX and customer experience (CX) at the same time.

Building Block #2: Track Employee Journeys
Marketing teams track customer journeys, but most HR teams don’t track employee journeys. This is puzzling. Isn’t it true that every company needs loyal, passionate employees just as much as it needs loyal, passionate customers?

For every HR team, understanding employees’ journeys — and the inevitable weak spots along the way — is a strategic necessity. Without an understanding of the employee lifecycle, it’s difficult to build a strong strategy for EX.

Below are the most universal stages of an employee journey. Collecting employee feedback via surveys at these key moments in their journeys is an effective way to improve hiring, onboarding, training, and management practices.

To identify deep patterns, you’ll want to look at this employee journey feedback side by side with employee turnover data. For example, if the majority of your employee turnover occurs within the third or fourth year of employment, that may indicate a lack of internal career advancement opportunities. In that case, you’ll want to explore your company’s promotion process in more detail. Qualitative survey responses will come in handy for that.

By pairing turnover data with employees’ feedback on their journeys, you can gain powerful and directly actionable insights into your EX.

Building Block #3: Act on Employees’ Best Ideas
When mapping the first two building blocks above, we discussed effective ways to listen to employees. That’s the first part of great EX. The second part, equally important, is action. You need to act on employee ideas to show that you value their feedback. However, some employee ideas are better than others. You need to make sure that your system empowers you to act on employees’ best ideas efficiently.

At scale, there are two ways to make sure you’re acting on employees’ best ideas, and you can use one or both.

1. Data Analytics
Hopefully, you’re collecting employees’ unspoken feedback digitally (and not re-purposing a Kleenex box into a “suggestion box”). From there, text analytics makes it possible to continuously identify and prioritize the most pressing problems with the help of machine intelligence.

To improve your recruiting and retention strategy and process based on employee journey data, it’s helpful to segment employees by age group, office location, and other attributes that may differentiate their EX. You can use embedded analytics to do this effortlessly.

2. Decentralized Collaboration
Typically, around 87 percent of employees connect on Facebook. This means that they want their collegial relationships to extend beyond the water cooler.

At some companies, it can be fruitful to encourage employees on different teams to break away from their silos and collaborate. Especially if you want to encourage creativity and innovation, consider establishing an internal digital community among your employees using a crowdsourcing technology platform. These systems make it possible for employees to blur hierarchies and interact with each other as a community of people, which can be a powerful driver of employee retention and happiness.

Using Technology to Make a Company More Human, Not Less
At scale, company leaders need some kind of technology to collect, analyze, and act upon employees’ voices to improve their EX efficiently. What we’ve learned at Medallia is that the same tech that helps companies build better, more human CX can also help build better, more human EX.

In other words, the same tools that companies use to reduce churn and turn detractors into loyal brand lovers can be applied to reduce employee turnover and turn employees into brand ambassadors. The same tools that help employees exemplify company values to customers can also reinforce company values internally.

In short, we as business leaders can show tremendous value to our employees in many of the same ways that we show our love to customers: by connecting with them regularly, checking in at significant moments, and taking action when they come to use with good ideas.

Source : https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/employee-engagement/why-great-companies-struggle-to-build-great-employee-experience/

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