On April 19, I had the opportunity to present a webinar for Saba titled "Driving Employee Engagement through Employee Experience." We had a lively and engaged group of participants who asked some great questions. But since our time was limited, we didn't have time to get to them all. If you missed the webinar, you can view it here.
So, we decided to take them offline and tackle a few of those questions here in a blog post.
1. For an organization that is in the beginning stages of discovering what employee experience is for them, what are some suggested steps or research to help get them started?
I love this question because it hints towards building your knowledge as a first step. That's exactly where I'd start. Since employee experience is a relatively new concept, there aren't a lot of great resources out there yet. Much of what's being written under the heading "employee experience" is either not helpful or a repackaging of employee engagement you've seen before (to be clear, employee experience and employee engagement are not the same).
Instead, go do some reading about customer and user experience design. As usual, the technology and marketing practices are out ahead of human resource practice. Learn from the work that's been done and what has been learned in those domains.
For example, this article about moments of truth is a great example. It defines a moment of truth as "any interaction during which a customer may form an impression of your brand or product." Moments of truth are what drive interest, buying decisions and loyalty. Employees also have moments of truth about their work experience every day that affect their commitment, loyalty and engagement. As you dig into this domain of work, you'll find many transferable ideas and practices to pull into the work you do on building a great employee experience.
2. How can you create an employee experience that meets the needs and expectations of so many different people?
There is no way to answer this question adequately in a few paragraphs, but I'll at least provide a couple of thoughts. In the webinar, I shared how satisfaction at work comes from the degree to which our experience meets or exceeds our expectations. The objective of employee experience design is to build systems and processes with a clear intention of the experience we want to create. This clarity of intention is the key as it drives everything else.
It's also important to manage expectations. Where most organizations fail in the realm of employee experience is that they aren't actively managing and communicating about what the employee can and should expect. When your organization gets clear about what kind of experience you want to create, you can then set clear expectations about what that means. I shared the example of The Motley Fool Employee Handbook to illustrate what clarity looks like.
With clarity of intention and expectation, you can start thinking about how to build systems and processes to deliver on them. These systems should recognize that to meet expectations for one employee might look different than for another. If flexibility is part of your intention, you need to first define specifically what that word means and share that with everyone. Then, you must empower managers and employees to sort out how to make that intention a reality for each individual. Creating flexibility for one employee might mean starting and leaving earlier and for another be about schedule flexibility to attend their kids' sports games or recitals.
3. How do I get leadership and management to care about employee satisfaction and engagement?
It hurts my heart every time I hear this question especially given how frequently it gets asked. After all, we have so much research and evidence in support of how treating employees well is good for business. I keep holding out hope that someday, all people leaders will understand the importance of people.
The answer to this question lies in understanding the reason your executives or managers don't care. Have they had bad experiences with employee engagement efforts in the past? Have they seen efforts that didn't result in much? Or are they new to their role and just don't get it yet? Or, do they hate the fact that they have to deal with employees at all?
In the first two cases, a well-executed influence and education strategy is the key. Leaders need to understand what this work is really about and how it can affect not only their employees but also the bottom line. Also, if you currently measure engagement through a survey of some sort, make sure you design it so that you can tie the results back to the business metrics that matter to your executives.
If the reason they don't care about employee satisfaction or engagement is that they don't really care about people, that's a tough one. It's hard to win those individuals over. Often the best you can do is try to mitigate the damage they do until they leave or retire. Alternatively, go find some different managers or executives to work with who get it.
Want to learn more about crafting a great employee experience?
My webinar, "Driving Employee Engagement Through Employee Experience" is now available to view on-demand! Watch it at the link below and let me know what your organization is doing to improve employee experience in the comments.