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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
The Future of Employee Engagement: Perks of Personalization and Predictive Analytics

According to a new Harris Poll with a sample size of 2,257 HR professionals and recruitment managers for CareerBuilder, the wrong choice of candidate cost the average employer a steep $14,900 in 2017. Moreover, 10% of the participants stated the lack of adequate tools contributed severely to wrong candidate choices. These numbers speak of a ubiquitous recruitment hurdle and point towards and even greater retention obstacle. No wonder every organization today is upgrading their employee engagement methods! Companies have finally made (or are in the process of making) the shift to regarding their employees as digital consumers who need to be able to connect and plug into work with the same comfort level they have at home. 

ConnectMe at Deloitte for example, not only utilizes the best in class CRM cloud solution by Salesforce but also provides for the creation and maintenance of a truly digital workplace through insightful data mining and need-based solutions and improve employee experience and thus look at better engagement.

A personal touch

With the concept of work having evolved, more employees today seem to want to feel at home at work. Whether it is the location they work out of, the tools they use or even the schedule they follow, employees look for a certain level of personalization that makes them relate better to work.  

With our recent digital leaps, personalization is now possible at a whole new level and is thus a pervasive trend across workplace, industries and geographies. The experiential employee of today might want to “meet” and have a face-to-face conversation with colleagues across the world and with the new AR (Augmented Reality) enabled workplaces that is no longer fiction. Employees can now free their schedules off routine tasks with the help of AI assistants. They could plan their work better by making the most of software that is intuitive and use analytics to predict the steps ahead. It’s ironic that non-human interventions could increase the essentially human personal touch that is an unavoidable requisite today.

The following is a pictorial depiction of the different levels of engagement. Personalization must be extended across all these levels:

Implications of personalized innovation

Personalization at work today is thus more than just allowing employees to bring in their own systems or coffee mugs. It could also be acknowledging the need of an employee to work remotely from a “distraction-free” location. At the moment, personalized engagement endeavours are in the middle of moving from being an afterthought to being the norm. 

With work cultures evolving into connected, cohesive ecosystems, new trends like BYOS (Bring Your Own Software) is gaining popularity. Moreover, this points towards a more intriguing shift – organizations allowing employees the freedom to personalize work processes – to choose enterprise apps and software that they feel benefit them the most.

With software offerings themselves moving toward intelligent, personalized, specific and tailored experiences themselves, everyone is entitled to their own slice of personalized brand of reality at work. This has implications for software companies too since they now not only have to stay ahead of the curve but at the same time, ensure that their offerings play nice with the other apps and software that their customers tune into. This is a key learning point for organizations who are trying to adapt to these new trends so that information and communication flows seamlessly across platforms.

Primary issues that confront personalization at work are that of security and compliance. The basic format of monitoring then calls for a change with regard to protection of company information, compliance with non-disclosure and other such agreements. It is for each organization to weigh out whether the benefits of allowing a BYOS environment negate the risks. 

Engagement redefined

There is a sizable percentage of employees today who would choose lifestyle perks over a bigger pay package. Such crucial changes in terms of workforce behavior have been instrumental in leading the thought renaissance that we see around the industry today. The modern employee wants his/her respective organizations to add more than financial value to their lives. Recognition, personal and career development, happiness and wellness, work-life balance are among the other aspects of work that are of mounting importance when it comes to engagement and retention.

According to Forrester Research, Employee Experience Powers the Future of Work, 2017, besides being recognized for their effort at work, employees seek technology-driven experiential, immersive processes and tangible changes like personalizing benefits. The Hays US What People Want Survey conducted in 2017 revealed that 71% of the participants indicated that they would be keen to accept lower pay for a job that allowed greater role-alignment in terms of what their past experience, present needs and future plans. Furthermore, customizable benefits seem to have a direct and positive influence on employee loyalty as seen in the MetLife, 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 2017.

Predictive analytics: the crystal ball of behaviour?

An analysis by LifeWorks, Taking Care: How to Develop and Support Today’s Employees, 2017, enumerates how organizations run the risk of losing quality workers if they fail to tweak their strategies in order to provide employee experiences that are personalized and truly engaging. That is where using the gifts of predictive analytics come into play. Employees are human and analyzing human behavior often poses difficulties due to its dynamism and the need to take into consideration individual differences. These data points not only help in tracking payroll, benefits enrollment or growth projection but also allow for the prediction of growth and longevity of an employee. 

 

“If you had analytics that could help you predict the success of a candidate based on their past performances, their skill levels, their personality and their cultural fit it could paint a better picture of how they will fit into your company,” says Michael Fauscette, chief research officer for G2 Crowd. “If the analytics can predict the success of a candidate, then it could be a huge benefit to the hiring process, and if that fits, then it is a huge benefit to retaining an employee.”

As with any technological incorporation at work, behavioural analytics too comes with its set of legal and ethical concerns since monitoring employee behaviour has its complexities and that needs to be acknowledged. It thus needs a certain level of employee education where all employees are made aware of how their data is being used and for what purposes. This would also help in analyzing legal repercussions better. Moreover, before the organization is enabled in making the shift, all levels of leadership and of the HR function must allow a permeation of personalization and predictive analytics. 

While the employee engagement space modifies, mutates and evolves, it would be interesting to witness the changes yet to come. Would companies continue to work towards it in retrospect with reactive methods or are we ready for intuitive, predictive and proactive moves?


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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Demand For Both Digital & Human-Based Experience

Digital technology has transformed our consumer habits. This is not only true with the customer experience journey but also with the consumerization of HR. Consumerization of HR actually refers to creating a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience for employees inside the company in their entire employee lifecycle from stages selection to the separation process.

Today organizations are aiming to provide their people with positive touch-points at all stages of the employee lifecycle. Consumerizing the employee service experience can be a win-win scenario for both workforce and companies. The experience comes from consuming HR functions, job, leadership, and culture. And the last but not the least, the technology, workplace, and the digital experience.

The workforce prefers to have an exceptional digital experience today where they can free themselves to do more important and engaging work, where they can impose value with more human skills. PwC’s latest Consumer Intelligence Report: Our status with tech at work: It’s complicated, shows how digital interactions are preferred by more workers. Almost half (43–55)% of the workers prefer digital interactions for common HR Tasks, such as:

● Getting help with IT issue.
● Looking for a new job
● Schedule vacation time
● Update personal/HR Information
● Enroll/Review employee benefits

We often talk about customer experience and user experience. Both of these experiences contain essential components of the digital strategy, and at the same time, we should also realize that the transformation is directly linked to a great employee experience. Digital transformation makes sense only if the processes we optimize lead to a better experience for our customers and employees. But one thing we must make sure of is that Investing in HR Technology is Not the Same as Digital Transformation

The same PwC study shows that while 92% of C-suite execs say they’re satisfied with tech choices at work, only 68% of staff agree. Employees aren’t getting what they need and want. Fewer people feel satisfied with how technology improves the experience for HR/people management tasks.

Technology and change processes target people and their experiences. Therefore, the human experience, in general, should be the main focus of transformation.

In general, the workforce does not want interactions with machines to take place of the valuable human connections needed to feel a sense of belonging at work and provide customers with a human touch.

Many of us may feel technology is taking the workforce away from human interactions, which is not false. In the Our status with tech at work: It’s complicated report, PwC found that 35–45% of employees prefer human interactions over digital.

Here are the top areas where employees prefer HR-related tasks with more human interaction:

● Conduct performance reviews
● Communication with colleagues
● Ask HR questions
● Get help with difficult problems
● Provide feedback to colleagues
● Complete Training

56% say they feel technology is taking them away from human interaction at work. Finding the balance between technology and humans means business leaders have to ask important questions about technology choices. Technology will maximize its impact in the workplace only when integrated with human skills.

Today, most companies are investing in minimal technology to support key HR processes, efficiency and decision making. Digital solutions to enhance the employee experience and engagement come in addition in most cases. A right digital solution can make a huge difference in change agility, having a captivating Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and see HR as an advisor on human capital risks. All these can only be achieved with human interactions on the other hand.

The workforce wants new ways of working and an employee experience that offers digital access, personalization and effectiveness. They also want digital solutions that will help them do their jobs better, faster and smarter. Employee experience interventions must be designed holistically and breakthrough functional barriers to addressing how work gets done. That helps:

● Individuals to do purposeful work for meaningful rewards and recognition, encouraged by managers who provide regular feedback.
● Teams to make decisions, operate with trust and working with great user experiences.
● Company to provide a positive work environment and culture.

Shaping employee’s experience at work can have a positive impact on employee engagement — the extent to which employees are motivated to contribute and also attract new talent.

According to PwC’s latest Consumer Intelligence Series Report, today’s workforce is curious about technology and ready to invest time in learning. Employees report that they’re willing to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills if offered by their employer — a median response of 15 hours each month.

PwC found that most workers are motivated by two distinct incentives: improved efficiency and rewards that improve their status, which further affirms that people’s attitudes and behaviors can shape people’s willingness to adopt new technologies. The divide between incentives holds true for all levels of the workforce, including across functions, teams, and generations.

A digital culture is needed where people are comfortable with transparency, curious about new things and aching to have the latest technology, which is critical to success. Many early adopting organizations assess how HR teams can best gather, analyze, visualize and share the data they need to execute against business objectives. For better decision making and to generate better employee experiences.

Today one can’t separate technology from your employee experience. Technology is now a backbone of the overall work experience that one can’t separate it from the people agenda. Today’s workforce is overwhelmingly positive about the potential for technology to improve their lives, but they also have concerns about how it can be used.

AI augmentation and automation are definitely shaping the future of work, but only people can unlock the value of technology investments. Without a bold culture of innovation and lifelong learning, organizations will fall behind.

Technology imprints itself on the user, creating a unique relationship. Because of this, leaders must use caution when adopting new technology in the workplace by including employees early in the process and helping them understand how the tech will be integrated to improve efficiency.

Informal leaders may also serve as a bridge between leaders and those at lower levels of the

Organization. These unofficial leaders can be a powerful force in accelerating the culture and behavior changes that are essential to any successful tech-led transformation.

Adopting a continual learning mindset is what we need. Upskilling isn’t just about completing courses or adding new tools; it’s also about giving people opportunities to explore new mindsets, behaviors, relationships, and ways of working. The more organizations support their workforce in becoming digitally savvy, the greater the likelihood that decision-makers will stop thinking about how specific technologies will be transformative and instead focus on changing the ways people work.

So we can see that there is a clear demand in both digital and human-based experiences, actually, we can’t separate them and it’s complicated indeed.


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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Employee Experience and why it fits well with People Analytics

Employee experience is rapidly becoming one of the key topics on the CHRO agenda. Yet many of the conversations that I hear miss a critical factor: that creating valuable employee experiences is a systematic and data-driven process.

When I left a senior HR role in 2009 to build a business ‘to help make HR an empirically-driven function’ one of the key areas of information that we started with was experience data. In the diagram above, which I’ve taken from one of our earliest presentation decks, the components at the bottom right are all ways of measuring experience.

Our earliest proposition said OrganizationView focused on 3 things:

  • measurement & meaning – collecting data and making sense of it through analytics
  • employee-centric design – as we said ‘use a scientific approach to ensure technologies and services are closely aligned to users’ needs and behaviours
  • develop and deliver – moving analysis into production

Why experience?

Why such a focus on experience in 2009? Well, my background in the early noughties was centred around understanding in a deep way how to systematically understand user experience. Lots of this was in the area of candidate experience. You can see some of this in a 2004 article by David Bowen in the Financial Times – subscription needed – that came after a long conversation we had about candidate needs from my research at the time. It’s about building career sites and recruitment systems that are based around optimising the candidate experience.

As an aside when I joined UBS in 2005 to launch their first global careers site on the first meeting of the project team, when we were discussing governance I added one rule: “if we can’t decide what to do we’ll test it with users in an experience lab.” We tested lots (UBS had two user-research labs and we also ran tests in London) and the bank came (joint) top in the FT web ratings in the career section that year. We cut our marketing budget that year by over-investing in research.

Some of this philosophy came from working in a couple of firms where my close peers were working on projects with IDEO. We took this view and many of the techniques into recruitment, making it candidate centric and based on experience and relationships. The key though was that the process was heavily research-centric. Experience design is highly aligned with empirical decision making. It is systematic and based on data. A central theme is to actively and constantly listen and understand the experiences your stakeholders.

IDEO, in their 51 method cards, separate their ‘measurement’ approaches to 4 categories – Learn, Look, Ask and Try. What they all are is ways of understanding how the user experiences a product or service or the part of their life where the offering will fit. Some are very qualitative, some more quantitive. I believe all qualitative data can be quantitive if you capture enough examples. Also, the first thing you do with qualitative data is to add meta-data which makes it quantitive. In the end data is just information.

From Candidate Experience to Employee Experience

The roots of Employee Experience came from Candidate Experience. From 2002 I smashed my head against the proverbial wall for a long time trying to evangelising why it was critical. The Talent Board folks did a much more effective job.

One of the slides we used to show in the early days was the following graphic. In it we compared the importance of experience as a driver of satisfaction in banking and in work. We used internal bank research (not UBS) with some re-cut data from the CEB. It turns out that in each case components of the offer which could be classified as ‘experience’ account for about 70% of what drives satisfaction, and therefore engagement.

How Employee and Customer experiences drive satisfaction

How Employee and Customer experiences drive satisfaction

 

 

The way an employee thinks about their organization is the sum of their experiences. At different stages in their journey from consideration, through selection to employee and alumni their perception will change. How that perception develops is the sum of their experiences. I discussed how this is linked with the EVP in early 2011.

Employee Experience and People Analytics

What we can establish is that experience design is both systematic and data-driven. Yes, it incorporates systems and user experience but critically it includes experiences that have nothing to do with systems. Even with systems you need to understand what people were doing before they go to the system and what they do after using it.

Our vision of People Analytics is that it should drive evidence-based decision making about the workforce in organisations. We have always felt that that evidence is a mixture of quantitive and qualitative data. We believe that experience measurement is a core element of the role of a People Analytics team.

In the graph above we show that 70% of the drivers of satisfaction is experience based. If we think of the current state of People Analytics too many firms only use existing data from their HR systems to develop their models. None of this data is likely to be describing experiences. They’re building models trying to squeeze meaning without signal about the important part.

The analysts’ job is not to build accurate models, it’s to answer critical questions with data. Given how important a driver experience is it needs to include experience and therefore many analyses need to include experience data these models. The analyst needs a robust and automated way of capturing this data.

At the heart, this was the basis from which we decided to build Workometry. Capturing open, reliable experience data at critical touchpoints – what some call ‘moments that matter’ – and doing so in a way so that it can be integrated into sophisticated models is critical to understanding and managing the employee experience.


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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
The Employee Experience: It’s Trickier (and more important) Than You Thought

I just finished a week of meetings discussing HR Technology and the Employee Experience and I want to give you some thoughts. This topic is enormously important, and it’s actually harder than it looks.

Why This Topic Has Become So Big

First, the phrase “Employee Experience” has become a giant vortex for everything in HR. All the programs we’ve invested in over the years (employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, performance management) are all part of the employee experience. So in a sense Employee Experience is not a “program,” it’s a “topic.” (Or maybe a mindset.)

irresistible organization, employee experience

And wrapped around this topic we have hundreds of new technology tools to help diagnose and improve the employee experience. Every survey tool, portal tool, mobile app, and process management tool now has “employee experience” slapped on its website, telling us “this, too, will make your employee experience better.”

It turns out we are now in a stage where most companies have too much technology, and not enough time.  (Time is now the most precious resource at work.) So a major part of the employee experience is simplifying the technology experience, and designing HR programs that happen “in the flow of work.”

I’m starting a big research project to study the adoption of HR technology (hope to share findings this Fall) and I think you’ll be surprised how we’ve failed to deliver on lots of the systems we’ve purchased.  (One study just found that 59% of cloud-based HCM buyers did not achieve the business results they hoped.)

Third, while the topic is crowded with books and articles, the real methodologies to improve employee experience are just emerging. I”m working with quite a few companies on this topic so let me share what I’ve seen.

The Methodology We Are Discovering

If you want to improve your employee experience, productivity, wellbeing, and output, what should you do? Where do you start?

Here are some things I’ve discovered:

  • Design thinking: this really matters. It’s time for you to “empathize” with your employees, follow them around, survey and interview them, and sit down with them in workshops. They will tell you what bugs them at work, and you’ll hear all sorts of little things that make work difficult.
  • Start with the basics: look at the common “moments that matter” at work first, and flatten these issue completely. Onboarding, job changes, relocation, and all the little things can really bog people down if they’re difficult. Every company can look at these topics and map out better solutions.
  • Partner with IT and Finance:  as I discuss in the Employee Experience Platform report, none of these problems is HR”s alone. Bring finance and IT into the team immediately, they are going to be part of the solution.
  • Practice Co-creation: every solution you develop should be “co-created” with business people and leaders. There’s no way to improve the employee experience without employees being involved. We have to work with them to fix old and broken processes, design new systems, and make work easier. Job shadowing is a good practice to use.
  • Look at New Tools: the ERP and HCM platforms may not help as much as you think. Every client I met with in Europe told me their big HR systems project did NOT necessarily improve the employee experience. In some cases they did, but only if they looked at the platform project as an “employee experience project.” (more on Employee Experience Platforms)
  • Practice process simplification: every “process harmonization” project I uncover comes down to one thing. We have a tendency in business to make things too complicated. As your company grows, acquires, and changes people keep tacking on new steps, approvals, and branches to everything.
  • Segment the workforce:  we can’t possibly fix every employee’s experience in every way at once, so we need to segment the workforce. After we take care of the basics (ie. core HR practices, IT), we can move into specific strategies for the workforces or personas that matter most.

Becoming A Business Consultant

After you’ve covered the basics, much of this work comes down to work simplification – and it may include job redesign as well. So you’re going to become a business consultant, which is the best place HR should be.

A few tricks to consider: some companies design their organization around the customer and employee, not around the hierarchy. Southwest Airlines designs its employee experience around the airplane and crew. One of the manufacturers I talked with designs its experiences around the customer and service engineering team. UPS designs much of its business around the driver and the distribution center. Retail banks often design around the retail branch. And companies like T-Mobile design around the sales team.

This is the type of approach that gives you focus as you look at the top issues to address.

Applying Marie Kondo

As I’ve interviewed companies, I find these projects are like reading the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. Companies have to say good-bye to the processes that we don’t need, and simply keep the things they love.

As she advises in her process, if something is sitting in the back of the closet, just take it out, thank it for its service, and give it away. This “continuous decluttering” process is what we need to do in HR.

Examples Of What To Do

Let me share a few things I’ve seen to help you get started.

  • Avoid system projects without a focus. Several of the companies I met with told me “we are implementing a new system because we have too many systems and they’re not all integrated.” And guess what. The new “system” is not going as well as they hoped. Why?  They didn’t design around the employee experience, they designed around the back-end. If consolidation is your goal, that’s nice – but employees don’t care. What they want is simplicity, ease of use, and a single place to go. You may not need a new system to accomplish this – an employee experience platform sitting in front of existing systems may be far easier.
  • Create employee personas. One of the companies I met with (a large TV network) created a set of personas they now use to design solutions. They built these personas with help from the business unit and then mapped all the various HR transactions against these personas. Each persona had its own design session (co-created with the business) and they created a role called “innovation consultant” in HR to rethink the way things get done. They’re implementing many of their new ideas in ServiceNow and other tools, but it was the personas that got the business leaders excited.
  • Look at everything. One of the companies I met with (Coca Cola) found that ordering a new employee credit card required 52 different process steps. I’m sure all those steps were well intended when they were designed, but it ended up wasting hours and hours of employees’ time. Re-engineering this simple thing, coupled with a relook at onboarding, enabled them to save a million hours a year of employee time. This entire project was cost-justified immediately, and now they know how to look for other time-wasting processes.
  • Work on onboarding. Everyone I talk with tells me their onboarding process is complex and incomplete. One of the companies told me their service engineers suffer a 50% turnover rate in the first year. This is because there really is no strategic onboarding process, so managers are filling in the gap. Employee moves are a similar opportunity. (Have you ever had a job where the first week was horrible?  It sets a bad tone for a long time.)
  • Engage the people analytics team. These problems are all about measurement. Where are people wasting time? How much effort is going into doing something?  Where are people clicking and who are they emailing? If you have a good ONA tool (TrustSphere, Microsoft Workplace Analytics, etc.), a good survey system, and a good set of instrumentation on your workforce you’ll need the data. SAP’s $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics was justified by helping to instrument employee feedback – this data and the analytics team should be part of your plan.

One of the companies I interviewed used an ONA (Organizational Network Analysis) tool to analyze employee productivity in their sales force. The data found that the low performing sales teams were spending far more time communicating with managers than their high-performing peers. As the HR team dove in, they discovered that these “low-performing” managers were micro-managing sales teams on pricing, configuration, and sales offers. The more empowered teams were outperforming their peers.

The answer?  Fix the “sales employee experience.” 

How? The team worked with sales leadership to further empower sales teams with pricing, configuration, and negotiation authority.

More to Come

I’m digging into this topic in detail and developing a whole course on it. Let me conclude that this is an essential topic in business today, and the practices and tools are now becoming clear.

Finally, consider what we’ve done for customers. Journey mapping, segmentation, and micro-targeting are well-established practices in marketing and product management. Now they’ve come to HR.

Just remember that “the customer experience is dependent on the employee experience.” Every time we make employees’ lives better, we better serve customers as well.

There’s the motivation to take this topic seriously!


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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Is it possible to show the Business Value of Employee Experience?

I had the opportunity to meet ING’s CHRO Hein Knaapen, EMEA’s CHRO of the year for ‘Sustainable Workforce’, to discuss Employee Experience (EX) and how best to manage it. 

Hein was interested to understand how employee experience relates to engagement and to McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index, a KPI they used at ING to manage its performance. I explained that we’d spent the last two and a half years working on how to manage EX in large scale companies. Having visibility to common EX pain points we were able to co-create solutions to these, with 30 other companies. Among them were AXA, BASF, Bertelsmann, BMW, Bosch, Capgemini, Cisco, Dolby, E.ON, GE, Grundfos, Haufe, HERE Technologies, ING, Merck, Otto Group, Schenker, S&P Global, and USAA. I walked him through the detailed methodology that resulted in: CxHR - the Customer Experience of HR, with its four key components ‘Design / Share / Measure / Act’ underpinned by an online platform to support CxHR in large organisations. Hein seemed impressed – he’s a kind man. He shared with me, and the members of our Digital HR Program peer meeting that “If there is one thing I learned as a CHRO, it is that everything HR does has to have a clear line of sight to business results.” In other words, what is the business value of EX? So, let me take you through it in a little bit more detail, here goes.  

On the left-hand side, the model shows generic business value levers in a simplified way: Business value is defined as return on invested capital – with the ‘invested capital’ lever greyed out – equals increasing net profit by increasing revenue and decreasing cost.

The right-hand-side the model shows the ‘What’ of EX: CxHR, our Design / Share / Measure / Act methodology, co-created, tested, continuously refined and kept up to date by the members of our ‘Journey Networks’. The most important part of the model is where CxHR connects to the generic business value tree through EX-specific business value levers in the ‘Why’ part of the model. Reading from right to left, CxHR creates two experiences:

1. An engaging experience at ‘Moments of Truth’

2. An effortless experience of HR

Moments of truth are ‘emotionally loaded moments with disproportionate impact on employee engagement’. With engagement defined as ‘discretionary effort and a higher intent to stay with the company’ it increases work productivity (discretionary effort) and retention (intent to stay; in recruiting the same logic applies for attraction). Ultimately, work productivity and retention impact the revenue lever of our generic BV tree.

An effortless experience is something consumers happily get used to, for example, Netflix makes it effortless to find the next movie to watch, with Amazon it’s effortless to buy things. Compared to these effortless experiences in their private lives, consumers’ experiences with HR services in their professional life are, alas, very different. Employees, managers, and HR professionals spend too much time with non-value adding activities. This threatens the engagement of employees, but more importantly, the business value of effortless experiences takes an undesired path.

If HR can create effortless experiences at all of the touch-points of HR customers in HR journeys, the manager time, employee time and HR staff time spent on HR activities will decline. Thus improving work productivity of managers and employees by up to 3%, which in return frees up time to generate revenue. One of the companies we are working with put their EX initiative under the motto: ‘Giving 1 million hours back to employees and managers each year!’

Moreover, effortless experiences decrease HR function costs, as less HR staff are involved in compensating for a lack of effortlessness. Finally, effortless experiences at touch-points that are supported by new, cloud-based HRIT systems will improve the end-user adoption of these systems. A massive impact: 26% of the total investment in new cloud HRIS is at risk due to lower than expected end-user adoption – mainly because the experience with the new system is not as effortless as it could be.

In summary, EX does have a clear line of sight to business outcomes! Hence, it is important not to miss this opportunity for HR to provide value to the business. We better get it right (this time). That’s why we will share more details in a small series of articles on CxHR, our methodology of EX Design / Share / Measure / Act. Stay tuned!


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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
The Wider Angle of the Employee Experience

Employee experience is not only a top priority for organizations today. As digital thinking is transforming our consumer habits and experiences in respect to every interaction we have with a person, product, place, service or company, the employee experience – which is defined by various moments – is gradually becoming an expectation from the workforce.

 

Human experiences can be thought of as a series of intimate, meaningful, precious and natural moments and while we remember some moments for a long time, others just expire quickly. Not every memorable moment is a happy moment either, as moments are not created equal, and the ones that make us feel stressed, frustrated, scared or helpless, have a negative impact on our lives.

 

This should also be true for the experiences and moments created for employees in organizations. As per a Gartner Research, the employee experience can be defined as ‘an employee’s perceptions and related feelings originated by either one or cumulative effects of interactions with their organization’s customers, leaders, teams, processes, policies, systems, and work environment.’

 

These memorable moments for the employee can be both positive or negative. It could be, for example, being discriminated against at work or getting injured at work and it could also be about taking maternity leave or being promoted. Although some memorable moments matter most for employees, not all employees have the same moments that matter. The above-mentioned Gartner analysis states that across several employee segments, such as age, gender, generation, and geography, there are differences in the moments that matter most for each segment.

 

In most cases, the employee experience summarizes all that people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employee lifecycle journey at an organization. Today, a common misconception is that the employee experience begins when the new hire walks through the door on their first day and ends when they leave through that same door. The employee experience, however, is an extensive view of the relationship between the individual and the organization and must include the entire organizational journey; starting from the application process and continuing after being separated.

 

Listening to the voice of the employee only matters for designing and optimizing an employee experience when we start to think about the moments from an employee perspective, as a part of the workforce, not as an employee experience expert. So, it is vital to understand the wider angle of the employee experience and to see the big picture from an employee point of view. That’s what should matter most for organizations.

 

The Wider or Entire Employee Experience

Organizations must also eliminate or optimize the moments that have a negative impact on their workforce. They should aim to provide their people with positive touch-points not only at the various stages of the employee-lifecycle but also, when an employee is still just a candidate and beyond the separation process, even after becoming alumni. The experience generated from the moments that matter comes from consuming human resource functions, the actual job, and the company culture along with technology and workplace experience.

 

Wider angle of employee experience

Figure 1 –  The Wider Angle of the Employee Experience

 

More and more companies are realizing that success depends on improving and optimizing the wider or entire employee lifecycle experience and not only a part of it. However, they may start focusing on a few of those parts first. An overview of the different components or dimensions of a wider employee experience – which can be divided into four – is shown in figure 1.

 

1. Candidate Experience

While the candidate experience is an often overlooked part of the employee lifecycle and considered separately, it can make a new employee’s life much easier and provide an entirely different experience when done well. It starts with attracting talent and covers the entire recruiting experience, including pre-onboarding, the period between accepting and starting a job.

In the employee experience, a potential candidate plays a huge role in the overall satisfaction. Once the organization starts separating employee and candidate experience, the value starts diminishing automatically and a discriminative experience appears immediately, where moments for candidates and employees are treated differently.

 

2. Employee Lifecycle Experience 

Every employee goes through a series of stages from the day they get selected up until the day they leave the company. This is a proven model generally applied by HR organizations around the world, known as the employee lifecycle, and it’s the most common form of employee experience most organizations focus on today. Below are the employee lifecycle stages along with their different elements.

 

  • Hiring and Onboarding – when onboarding is considered as the experience from an employee’s perspective, the complex and uncertain process become very simple. It begins with recruitment and hiring, as applicants engage with the organization, they get an initial sense of the workplace vibe and how it operates. Organizations with an exceptional onboarding experience are more likely to attract and keep the best talents, as the moment to get started in an organization can be remembered forever, in most cases.
  • Leadership and Career – employees need a clear purpose, and they want to feel like they’re part of the organization and its vision. This is only possible through clear communication from their leaders. Leadership is not about position and title, it is about the actions and examples shown by the leaders, which can literally inspire and motivate employees to keep performing and engaging in their career. Experiences with leadership are vital, as, in most of the cases, these moments affect the decisions of employees to stay or leave.
  • Development and Learning – the demand for continuous learning should ensure that the workforce is always up to date, and to keep on going in their work and job. Investing in employee development and learning is not only needed for the organization’s growth and performance, it also provides a different positive experience for the workforce to get motivated and work efficiently. Moments that were created during an employee’s learning initiatives could directly reflect the decisions on their career and development plan. 
  • Team Building and Engagement – a good team is a group of different abilities, experiences, talents, and diversity, who come together for a shared purpose. A good moment with a team who respects each other and whose relationships are based on trust is always a fabulous experience for an individual. An employee’s satisfaction with their job, loyalty, and team is an inclination to spend an open effort toward organizational goals and creates an outstanding experience for employee engagement.  
  • Flexibility and Wellness – flexibility has become a modern-day value that everyone wants as a memorable moment. Flexible employees modify their approach to tasks based on the preferences of stakeholders and, the benefits of flexible working are increasing engagement and performance. A right wellbeing and wellness program gives the employee the best opportunity to be healthy, motivated, happy and successful in their job, along with a valuable experience for the employee. 
  • Performance and Rewards – being recognized and rewarded for the efforts and performance that employees put into their work are crucial memorable moments for employees. Feeling valued at work is one of the key factors for generating engagement and showing that the organization values its employees keeps them motivated. An amazing experience is only established when an organization can provide an open, feedback-driven culture and relevant recognition at work.
  • Off-boarding and Separation – a formalized offboarding process not only mitigates legal and security threats and helps you gain honest feedback from employees on where to improve your organization. It can also create space for boomerang employees to return in the future. It’s easy to get excited about bringing a new team member on board, but it’s not the same when an employee is getting separated from the organization. These moments usually linger longer, as they may hold a lot of emotions and relations.
  • Growth and Mobility – competition for top talent is increasing, and so is an organizational focus on engagement and retention. Effective succession planning, opportunities for growth and a superior mobility program are an advantage for employees not only to move forward and grow but also generate an experience for the employee that matters. And these moments are always considered as a top memorable experience for an employee.

 

3. Alumni Experience

People no longer stay in the same job forever. This also means that your employees of today could be your customers and networkers of tomorrow. It’s a common misconception that employees who have left a company no longer have an influence on it. Alumni are among a company’s most effective means of external communication, and actively nurturing these relationships contributes immensely to a business’s success.

 

Therefore, an alumni experience can be a big turning point for both the workforce and the organization and should not be separated from the employee experience. And although in most cases today, this is the weakest experience for people, it is a vital one, as such moments can help with building long-term relationships, networking, and leveraging the social capital.

 

4. Organizational-journey Experience

There are indeed different moments being generated when employees interact with their team, bosses, workplace and experience culture. Employees build relationships with others and connect emotionally, they collaborate openly in the team and they either learn or contribute to the culture of the organization. 

 

Employees are also quite attached to their workplaces. After all, it’s the place where they spend most of their working time, it’s where their senses are being put to work. Employees have different experiences and feelings about their jobs, the use of technology, regulation, compliance, training and many more aspects of their journey. Figure 2 shows some of the moments that matter in an organizational journey experience.

 

Moments that matter for employees

Figure 2 –  Moments That Matters for the Organizational Journey Experience 

 

 

Below you’ll find the different dimensions from the organizational journey experience, where the various moments matter equally for an employee.

 

HR Functions Experience 

The human resources organization handles many necessary functions of the business, related to people. These functions are critical because without those functions being completed, the organization would not be able to meet the essential needs of the management and the workforce. There are many such functions, apart from the employee lifecycle which creates memorable moments and experiences
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The experiences with time tracking, requesting holiday, work from home, managing sick leave and doctor’s notes, travel requests and expense management are crucial for an employee as well, as all these moments are part of their working lives. Moments that also matter are how an employee or manager is managing shifts, accessing the team calendar, and experiencing employee relations, compliances, or policies.

 

Job Experience

No one can work alone in their job, every task and challenge is engaged in a relationship and network, with relevant support from various tools and processes. Employees’ personal tools and applications have given them high expectations regarding their user experience. However, many business tools and supporting processes don’t live up to these expectations with complicated and complex user experiences. Moments are valuable when we deal with any relationship and it is very important to have an experience which can handle these moments regarding communication, collaboration, accessing global networks, connection with communities, or even knowing the change agents and informal leaders.

 

For employees, it matters to experience moments on how they access to their company info, news, contacts, offerings, lunch menu, or wellness programs and how easily they can book a meeting room, or organize a workshop, or even report an issue. The experiences they have with supporting tools and processes like in purchasing, facilities, budgeting, taxation, security or data privacy, can’t be ignored either.

 

Culture Experience

Although we can’t see the organizational culture directly, we can feel it in every part of our professional lives, as it centers on the concepts of values, shared assumptions, beliefs, and behaviors from individuals and teams. Culture doesn’t only concern the employees, as it starts when a candidate first comes across a company. Most of the moments that any individual generates in a company, are somehow connected with the organization’s culture and also represent that culture.

 

Today, employees are looking for more than perks and benefits; they constantly want to feel their contribution, even to the organizational culture. When the organization’s culture centers on positivity, effectiveness, and creativity, it creates moments for the employees that can bring value to their life and lead the organization towards success. Experiences generated from the moments related to trust, respect, openness, transparency, and relationships are important to consider for culture as well.

 

Technology Experience

The technology environment is all about the tools, systems, and applications that employees use to get their jobs done. Failure to provide the right use of technologies definitely hinders efficiency and changes how employees feel about the organization. Today, employees expect workplace agility and ease of use for any device. They want an improved information-sharing, collaboration, and a more intuitive experience. Experiences generated from accessing the IT systems and services, WIFI capabilities or connectivity, the use of new devices, and all other digital experiences matter a lot for employees, especially since we are in a digital age. Employees also want an easy, smart process for reporting technical issues, service requests, connectivity issues, buying services and devices, security awareness and a digital skills training experience.

 

Moreover, the workforce does not want interactions with machines instead of the valuable human connections needed to feel a sense of belonging at work. Therefore, for nicer moments a human touch is also important, with the right balance between a digital and a human-based experience.

 

Workplace Experience

When organizations provide employees the right provision and resources they need to complete their work productively, along with a fun and creative environment, organizations can obtain the benefits of a healthy, happy and engaged workforce. An innovative, memorable and effective workplace can transform an organization to do their business with a higher level of success and provide an employee with much more interesting memorable moments at their work.

 

A good workplace experience does not come from free food, yoga, and a foosball table. It comes from moments that matter for employees generated from their experience with feedback processes, the organizational structure, commute time, bureaucracy, cubicles, etc. These workplaces should be the places where the employee’s senses are being put to work, and they are the key to creativity, collaboration, and wellness. The moments are also vital from digital workplaces, that enable new, more effective ways of working and increase employee engagement and agility in a consumer-oriented way.

 

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For a successful employee experience design and optimization, it is important to have a good sense of an overall employee experience journey from beginning to end. 

 

A journey map is a great tool which visually describes an employee’s journey as she or he strives to achieve a goal. It represents a timeline of the employee experience and key touchpoints; what the employee is feeling, thinking and doing; as well as pain points and opportunities. Employee journey mapping can provide a much-required clarity and help to identify the areas where one should prioritize your employee experience efforts, based on all the moments that are generated from the wider or entire employee experience.

 

If the employee experience matters for an organization, then they need to make sure it provides the right value to employees, and it should also care for the memorable moments that matter for an employee. If we try to understand and capture these moments, we really need to think of ourselves as an employee first. Once we do that, it becomes pretty clear that experiences come from many different moments that arise from the entire employee journey in an organization and that we need a wider angle to view the full picture.


The entire or wider employee experience is usually the sum of all types of experiences and interactions that affect an employee’s perception, behavior and feelings. Creating an inspiring employee experience is not about providing extra benefits, perks and usage of modern technologies. What’s important is to motivate and engage employees and to help them become better at their job; what’s important is to provide them with a great culture and leadership that inspires them to work continually and happily.