Employee Experience: Top Ways for Leaders to Lead
In a book written by Jeffrey Pfeffer's, Dying for a Paycheck, he observes these words: "In one survey, 61 percent of employees said that workplace stress had made them sick, and 7 percent said they had been hospitalized. Job stress costs US employers more than $300 billion annually and may cause 120,000 excess deaths each year. In China, 1 million people a year may be dying from overwork. People are literally dying for a paycheck. And it needs to stop."
Organizations have finally started to feel it too.
In a digitally transparent world with the growing influence of Millennials, employees expect a more engaging, fun, productive work environment. Instead of focusing strictly on engagement and culture, many leading organizations aim to improve the overall employee experience, by providing them with pulse feedback tools, wellness, and fitness apps, and HR self-service platforms to improve the on-job experience.
Organizations have moved from age-old approaches to design thinking and employee sentiments tracking, especially in times like the one we are living in. Employee pulse surveys have become crucial for HR departments to implement, to improve the overall employee experience.
Many studies have shown that Americans were already vulnerable to burnout before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now they are more stressed and exhausted than ever, confined to home with additional domestic responsibilities and increasingly fluid work-life boundaries.
Prolonged work stress, lack of required resources, tight deadlines, and discontentment can all contribute to employee burnout. Employees tend to drain out on physical and emotional energy.
According to research conducted by Gallup, Burned-out employees are
- 63% more likely to take a sick day
- 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job
- Have 13% lower confidence in their performance and are half as possible to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager.
HR has historically tackled topics like employee engagement, culture building, compensation management, and employee learning and development in individual silos. Each program had a different manager with a set of tools to perform their functions and measure only their performances.
Employees envision this differently from the organization; they see it as an integrated experience that influences life in and outside the work environment. This includes professional, emotional, physical, and financial well-being. Employees assess their employers from the very point of recruitment about what their journey will be like in the organization.
Employees today need a more holistic experience approach from their employers. Also, this thought shouldn't change based on the contract you are on with the employee. In order to move towards this theory, there needs to be a radical change in the employers' part.
Business leaders and their HR departments should strategically consider and continuously evaluate the tools they are utilizing to provide their employees with the complete employee experience.
A better-designed experience is not everything the employee requires. They also need convenience, an advanced and smarter model of delivery. Most lives run on smartphones, and employees get most of their tasks done on smartphone apps; they would like it better if every bit of this employee experience advances with it. Work updates, rewards, learning modules, pulse checks to be accessible and easy to use on their mobile devices.
Leaders and HR teams need to understand that employee experience is a very critical factor in the company's overall business success.
"Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability."
- Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox
The best leaders are curious about their employees' inner motivations because it's the key to high performance.
Does your employee enjoy meeting new people?
Are they mastering new skills?
Bonding with a team?
Are you working in the background?
To keep the employee interested at all times, the employer needs to discover what they care about, like, hate, think is fun. Understand the kinds of projects that inspire them, and they look forward to working on them and the ones they dodge. This naturally requires the employers and the HR team to know the employees better and at a deeper level.
You've got to show them you respect them, and they matter to you and your organization. You have to be able to identify and celebrate successes — even if they aren't as relevant to you. Also, when no one believes in your team, you always have to — and never forget to show it. Every human needs re-affirmation, and a little validation hurts nobody!
Life is happening. And life is also having a significant effect on work efficiency. Employers need to realize that their employees are people. They should know what is going on in an employee's life at an appropriate level. Somebody is probably buying a house, lost a member of the family, or going through therapy.
In the end, it's the boss's responsibility to get the best out of their men. Great leaders have always found ways to tailor, adjust, and individualize roles to suit employee needs. Small adjustments can make a huge difference in how much an employee enjoys work. And just knowing your employer is concerned\about you can create a substantial impact on employee experience.
Bad leaders focus on the past — what is unchangeable. Average leaders are focusing on the present — only the issue at hand. But the best leaders are focused on the future— success is their target!
Great leaders view themselves as coaches, shaping players to maximize their potential.
Krause Leia is a passionate content marketer and a market researcher who is on the spree to capture multiple facets of industry through creativity and innovation. Krause is a content geek who writes for market research, marketing, business and startup niche.