5 Steps to Create a Sustainable and Meaningful Employee Experience
By: Sandi Verrecchia @satoriinsight
According to the 2017 Global Human Trends Survey administered by Deloitte, almost 80 percent of executives rated employee experience either very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent). However, only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience. If employee experience is at the top of the strategic priority pile, then why are companies not good at creating a sustainable employee experience that permeates all levels of their organization and sets them apart?
First of all, we need to answer the question of what is employee experience?
Employee experience is your working environment and the sum of all perceptions, touch-points, strategies, interactions, programs and processes that make up that working environment.
A positive employee experience across any organization will drive higher results, attract and retain the top talent, and build an impassioned workforce that acts as ambassadors. Equally important, a positive employee experience will drive a strong customer experience and better results.
From our experience working with organizations on this important topic, there are five steps that organizations must consider, explore and execute on to promote a sustainable and meaningful member experience.
#1 Define Your Ideal Employee Experience
Clearly define the experience that you want your employees to live every day. For example, it is not enough to want to have a fun environment; you must be able to define what fun means within your organization. Likewise, you need to clearly articulate how the value of fun connects to every position within the organization. A great way to define your employee experience is to hold interdepartmental sessions with employees to map out the experience that they desire to have every day. Ask the teams questions such as:
- Why did they join?
- Why do they stay?
- What fuels their passion?
- What are the best attributes of the organization?
- What are the amazing bright spots within your organization that employees wish would always be shining?
Taking the time to skillfully and systematically develop the ideal employee experience, from the perspective of many, will form the basis for creating an integrated framework of performance management, engagement, inclusion, wellness, workplace design, and leadership.
#2 Get Real
The flip side of crafting the ideal employee experience is getting clear on your reality. Put aside ideas of what you think the employee experience is, and find out what it really is! Once again, pull together groups of employees, and have them define the current experience. This will likely uncover variances in the employee experience based on role, tenure, and demographics. Doing a deep dive into reality will provide a base from which to assess the gaps between what is, and what could be. Some organizations will find strong alignment and others will find more gaps. Regardless of the situation your organization is in, there is always room for improvement. Projects like this engage with the workforce in the change and always have a positive impact on morale and engagement.
# 3 Design a Holistic Solution that Bridges the Gaps
Living a sustainable and meaningful employee experience requires an integrated approach to employee engagement, culture, reward & recognition, and learning & development. Human Resource partners and business leaders must rethink the roles, structure, tools, and strategy they use to design and deliver an integrated employee experience. Use process mapping to review current HR practices and processes and identify which ones link positively to the ideal experience. Determine which ones move your organization further away. Be innovative in your quest to build practices and processes that will bridge the gaps. Design thinking is a great concept to help people and organizations think differently and build out innovative programs that align with future goals. At all cost avoid falling into the legacy quagmire of, ‘we’ve always done it this way.’
Use your employee engagement survey to measure all aspects of your employee experience. In addition to measuring elements such as engagement, agility, collaboration and communication, tie a section of the engagement survey directly to your unique employee experience. How are you measuring up? As exciting as new initiatives such as creating a new employee experience can be, employees look for evidence that organizations are walking the talk and that their individual contributions in creating the program were not for not. Using your engagement survey as a means to measure more than just engagement can provide invaluable quantifiable data that speaks to the heart of change.
#5 Listen, Strategize and Execute for Change
The final step is one that is often either overlooked or not executed well. It is the point when the organization needs to reflect on the changes made, digest what employees say is the current true experience, and continue to strategize for change. Many times this important step is not done or executed well because egos get in the way. Leaders may not like the results of the engagement survey or not believe that they are accurate. However, as I always say, “perception is reality.” Regardless of whether your leadership believes that the ideal state is in full swing, if all employees, or a subset of employees, don’t agree then you still have work to do.
♥♥ Give Your Employees the Love they Deserve ♥♥
The bottom line is that your employee experience must become a priority as it is directly linked to your customer experience. A positive customer experience means higher sales and a stronger bottom line. Following these 5 steps does not create a ‘one and done solution.’ Creating a sustainable and meaningful employee experience needs to be driven from the top, have ownership across the organization, and involve every level of the organization. It needs to be top of mind, tested, measured and revisited often.
Give your employees the love they deserve…the same love you give your customers. The dividends will outweigh the effort every time with a stronger culture, stronger employee engagement and a stronger bottom line.
CMC, CPCC, MBA
Sandi Verrecchia is a Certified Management Consultant, holds a Masters degree and is a professional Leadership Coach. With over 20 years of experience in the financial services, academic and not for profit sectors, her diverse background of consulting, operations, marketing and sales is a wonderful compliment to her passion for coaching.