Eight out of ten (79%) HR and business leaders believe that a great employee experience (eX) can have positive business impact. Yet, less than a third (28%) have a deliberate approach to design and deliver an effective strategy. These are some key statistics on the interest and state of delivery of eX from Kincentric’s 2019 Global Employee eXperience Report.
According to the findings, interest in eX outpaces delivery readiness – but not for long. Lessons from ‘the eXtraordinary organisations’ provide relevant insight for companies to close the gaps.
Employee eXperience covers how employees perceive all events throughout the employment lifecycle, from pre-hire interviews to exit. eX is all about how culture and engagement come to life in moments that matter to both the organisation and employees – the ups, downs, and transitions... and how these moments inspire, improve and connect. Getting too many of these moments wrong can destroy value through loss of productivity, turnover, poor customer delivery and so on. Getting many of these moments right, ignites change and unlocks the power of people and teams.
To date, many organisations have approached eX by implementing HR technology systems or surveys, with sub-optimised results. Those who want to elevate their eX, need an agile process to align strategy, continuous dialogue and delivery.
Top five lessons to deliver an eXtraordinary eX
There are key lessons for HR leaders who want to accelerate their organisation's and employees' potential from the 28% eXtraordinary organisations in the eX Report that do align eX strategy, continuous dialogue and delivery to create a differentiated employee experience.
1. Strategy eats the staff survey for breakfast. Eighty four percent of the eXtraordinary companies have identified the employee segments and experiences that matter most to their business strategy. They have gained leadership input and support to get moving. And they seem to be focusing more on high potentials and future leaders for these organisations. If you want a differentiated employee experience, define the required employee experience and for whom it is intended. Which segments and which behaviours matter most? What experiences are required to accelerate behaviour change? Is the organisation ready to move quickly to make this happen?
2. Have a hypothesis. The days of running staff surveys in search of problems are dead. Over two thirds (67%) of eXtraordinary organisations clarify their hypotheses, decisions and actions before jumping into measurement. The majority use surveys and pulses to inform hypothesised actions for targeted stakeholders – not treating them as research studies in search of action plans to be led by unprepared managers. What actions are your pulses informing? How will these actions improve the employee experience?
3. Understand the employee experience of change so you can be more agile. Similar to most organisations, the eXtraordinary are focusing on the expected moments like onboarding, learning, advancement and recognition. But unlike the average organisation, the eXtraordinary organisations are increasing their focus on how employees experience change to help understand and improve organisational agility. They understand that organisations don't change - people change. Are people with you, falling behind, leading the charge, inspiring others?
4. People deliver the employee eXperience to other people. In order to deliver a great, and consistent eX, you must align programme, technology and people channels. Our research shows that, of the three, the greatest predictor of a differentiated eX is people. Technology is a critical enabler and accelerator, and programme content is a critical prerequisite, but eX delivery often fails without the right people with the skills and bandwidth to bring it to life. Six out of ten of the eXtraordinary think that HR and people managers have the necessary capability and capacity to deliver (compared with about two out of ten for average organisations). Who is most critical to deliver on your required eX? How ready are they?
5. HR is in the driver’s seat. If you want to truly deliver on your intended eX, who is accountable to do so? The answer is that leaders, managers, HR and employees themselves all play an important role, but the vast majority see eX as HR’s to drive. Nearly three quarters of eXtraordinary organisations (74%) are clear on the HR governance, roles, and decisions to support the organisation in delivering the eX. Is your HR function optimised to deliver and support the eX you need?
Unlock the power of people and teams
High-performing cultures come from highly engaged employees having meaningful experiences throughout the employee lifecycle. Unlocking people’s potential through moments that matter requires a holistic, agile process (not a project) to align strategy, continuous dialogue and delivery. Therefore, it’s essential to design and deliver an eX that unlocks people's passion, inspiration and performance and in doing so, enable you to achieve truly engaged employees that will help contribute to strong business performance.
Ken Oehler is Senior Partner, Global Culture & Engagement Practice Leader at Kincentric. He has a successful track record accelerating business transformation and performance improvement through business leadership, human capital, technology and data analytics.