Employee Experience (EX) is more than a compelling reality today. It is a critical priority for all organisations looking to acquire and retain top talent. Organisations that fail to create engaging work environments run the risk of direct and negative impact on their reputation and bottom lines. The imperative of EX can, therefore, no longer be ignored.
We suggest four key actions for businesses to kick off their EX strategies.
1. Exceed Employees’ Expectations
Exceeding employees’ expectations is just as important as exceeding customers’ expectations. A recent EMEA Health Survey shows that 67 percent of HR departments struggle to increase productivity and performance, while for 57 percent of companies, improving engagement and morale is a major challenge.
Frontline employees interact every day with clients and their end customers. Support staff enable operational staff. Ultimately, every employee is a company reviewer. Additionally, employees who are enthusiastic and motivated deliver higher quality work and aim to exceed customer expectations. If employees do not speak positively about the brand, no one will believe that the same company can satisfy customers. Employees ‘make or break’ a brand – and it is important for organisations to help exceed their expectations. The rest will follow.
2. Develop Employee Value Proposition
Similar to the way we prioritise value propositions for customers, an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) strongly indicates that an organisation cares about its people. It shows that the company has put in the time, effort and resources to better understand and serve them. EVP is the perfect opportunity for all employees to share their opinions and ideas, and voice their concerns. By conducting numerous EVP sessions across departments, organisations can create an environment of camaraderie and fellowship among their people. It’s important to have these sessions conducted by leaders who are passionate and excited about employee experience.
This is what Nike says of their EVP: “We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world.” Powerful words to enthuse and excite employees. Shopify touches the core and nerve of millennial energy with their EVP. “We’re Shopify. Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone – but we’re not the workplace for everyone. We thrive on change, operate on trust, and leverage the diverse perspectives of people on our team in everything we do. We solve problems at a rapid pace. In short, we get shit done.”
When a company decides on its EVP, senior leaders will need to drive this across the organisation. The internal communications teams should also continuously and consistently communicate this message.
3. Foster an Environment of Learning and Development
Nothing says, ‘I appreciate you’ more than investing in an individual’s career and future. More than feeling un-appreciated, most employees tend to underperform or leave their organisations due to inadequate opportunities for growth and development.
Deloitte’s 2018 millennial survey report states that 81 percent of millennials and 75 percent of Generation Z believe in the importance of continuous professional development and self-learning. Self-learning is important to help people exceed performance expectations. Any organisation that is looking at boosting employee performance and reducing attrition rates should invest in upskilling its employees.
At WNS, we have seen great success through our internal BPM Academy, ‘Ucademy’. This academy has helped employees grow from agents to team leaders to managers in a span of five years. Employees who have steady and purposeful career paths usually stay on at a company.
4. Celebrate Positivity
Celebrating team milestones, whether big or small, is extremely important and fun too. It gives leaders the opportunity to recognise their people and motivate people to outperform. This could be as simple as celebrating operational improvements (such as reducing turnaround times), or maintaining a positive attitude during stressful times. Surprise team parties, celebrating weekly achievements and embracing a high-five culture (employees’ high-five each other after every win) are great ways to improve employee experience.
Take the example of Urban Airship, an organisation that enables leading brands to build high-value relationships with their mobile app users. Their culture club helps employees stay engaged with the company and the community around them through game nights, pancake breakfasts and other creatively-themed events. Employees also receive company-paid vacations every three years to promote work-life balance.
Employees who are acknowledged and recognised for their hard work are more likely to support businesses during challenging times. They will unhesitatingly go the extra mile to protect the business and help it grow.
Technology – An Ally to Create Experiences
HR technology pervades the market today. With employees increasingly becoming digitally savvy, businesses should leverage technology to boost employee experience and engagement. A continuous feedback process through mobile applications (where employees and managers are able to communicate in real time) will infuse interest and commitment among employees. Such empowerment will create a sense of transparency between employees and their managers.
‘Early adopters’ of analytics and automation have seen significant engagement improvements. Data dashboards provide valuable insights on performance and improvement areas, enable relevant employee conversations and increases trust between leaders and team members. Take the example of Phenom People that leverages marketing personalisation practices and data analysis to enhance the recruitment process. Similarly, KPMG is developing a proprietary model for enterprise employee engagement based on machine learning algorithms.
It’s All About Collaboration
A culture of collaboration instils a sense of belonging among employees. People want to be included in decision-making and share innovative ideas. If there are teams in different locations, frequent video calls and meetings can dispel feelings of disconnect. If the teams are in the same office, more face-to-face meetings and less e-mails are recommended wherever possible.
At WNS, our agile methodology encourages team collaboration and decision-making. Weekly or bi-weekly sprints include a planning session (that involves all team members), daily stand-ups (that allow teams to report on tasks completed, and highlight roadblocks and concerns), and retrospective sessions (where teams acknowledge wins, look at what was achieved and what can be improved). This has positively impacted employee engagement, communication, performance and team work.
It is no secret that high attrition and low productivity negatively impact an organisation’s bottom line. Investments to improve employee experiences have proved to be more viable in retaining and managing talent. With businesses prioritising employee experience, the competition for talent acquisition and retention has multiplied ten-fold. Organisations that fail to provide unique experiences to their employees risk losing them to companies that are willing to invest in EX.
An experiential approach to employee engagement may just be the need of the hour for enhanced employee retention, stronger loyalty and higher productivity.
Read the whitepaper on employee engagement: Find out how Businesses are investing in Employee Experience to Attract and Retain Quality Staff