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Three key practices of employee experience leaders

25th Oct 2021
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This month, a new research report found that employee experience ‘leaders’ were 12 times more likely than ‘laggards’ to indicate revenue growth of more than 20% over the last year. Leaders all scored in the top 10th percentile of companies in terms of employee satisfaction, employee retention and perception as a great place to work, while laggards took the bottom 10th percentile.

When the financial benefit of a well-oiled employee engagement and experience programme is so pronounced, it begs the question – what are employee experience leaders doing so well, and what immediate steps can laggards take to catch up?

The cost of the Great Resignation

Listening and acting on employee feedback has never been more important than today, when 41% of the global workforce are considering quitting or changing professions – a phenomenon dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’. As vaccination programmes take effect, more and more people are taking stock of their experiences in the past year and a half and asking themselves important questions: “Does my company value my health and happiness? Does it recognise my needs or ask me about them? Is it open to my ideas and solutions?”

It is clear that experience is top-of-mind for workers. But while 8 in 10 agree on the importance of the employee experience, only 2 in 10 say their companies excel at it. Even more alarming is that the same number of people say they do not trust their employer.

Employers that are falling victim to the Great Resignation must face up to the grim reality that replacing an employee can cost between 1.5 to 2 times their annual salary. What’s more, the perception of the company having a ‘revolving door’ will impede their ability to attract top talent in the long term.

No company should consider themselves safe in this economic reshuffle. Those that realise this now and course-correct to improve the employee experience stand a far better chance at ensuring they establish and maintain a caring and productive workplace, and in turn, a more prosperous business.

The experience management divide

So, where does your organisation fall on this leader-laggard scale? The Medallia-Josh Bersin research identified some key distinguishing factors between the two camps. These include:

  • Nearly all (93%) of leaders have a dedicated employee experience team, compared to 59% of laggards
     
  • Leading organisations do a better job at involving wider teams in employee experience initiatives. Eighty two percent of leaders involve those in Human Resources roles in the employee experience strategy, where only 54% of laggards do, and 42% of leaders involve those in Sales & Marketing functions, vs. 7% of laggards
     
  • Leaders use a wide variety of channels to capture employee feedback, for example text messaging. A quarter of leaders use this method, compared to just 6% of laggards
     
  • Leaders also successfully capture unstructured data on the employee experience. They are twice as likely to use internal community or collaboration platforms for this than laggards

Three strategies to kick-start change

Organisations can leverage the findings of the report by focusing on three key practices that enable employees to thrive and their managers to stay cognizant of their expectations and experiences.

  1. Capture both direct and indirect employee feedback to build a holistic, timely view of the workforce and drive meaningful action

    Traditional, annual employee surveys are a thing of the past. Employee experience leaders understand this and are transcending them by collecting employee experience data in real-time, using a diverse set of direct and indirect sources. This gives employees more opportunities to voice their concerns throughout their regular flow of work, and over the channels of their choice.

    Organisations can take advantage of a wide array of technologies to capture employee experience signals in a holistic way and guide their response or preventative action. They should leverage text, speech and video to collect rich data and think outside of the box when it comes to unstructured data – it could be hiding in plain sight in collaboration platforms, support requests or tickets.
     

  2. Create an environment where employees feel safe sharing their views

    Making sure employees feel secure when sharing feedback is critical for moving towards employee experience excellence. Without a culture of trust, transparency and honesty, organisations cannot identify recurring pain points, emerging trends or areas for improvement. They should not shy away from listening to their workforce and asking questions about difficult topics, either. For example, introducing a mental health day may seem to employers like it would undoubtedly be a ‘popular’ action, while a quick analysis of employee feedback could prove a different initiative more welcome.

    Most importantly, employees must trust that their company will act on their feedback to improve their experience. Taking visible action in response to employee feedback and communicating broadly about those decisions is a critical first step in building trust and transparency.
     

  3. Collaborate with leaders across the organisation on key employee experience initiatives

    Employee experience signals are gathered throughout the business, but are often confined to information silos or a singular employee experience function. Breaking down these silos is key to making employee experience a foundational part of organisational strategy.

    Employee experience leaders are much more likely to collaborate across departments, especially those who deal closely with customers. Employees on the front lines will often bring creative ideas to the table around improving not just the employee experience but also the customer experience, making it all the more crucial that their voices and ideas are heard.

In conclusion, companies that can successfully capture a holistic, truthful picture of their employees’ perceptions and needs, and then take data-driven, meaningful action – that is owned and supported by the entire organisation – will succeed through the era of the Great Resignation.

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