5 Simple Strategies to Make Employee Experience the Center of Your HR Policy
Employee experience (also referred to as EX) is tightly intertwined with other compelling factors like a company’s culture, working styles, collaboration tools, communication skills, and technology. All these components are, in fact, how employees judge their overall employee experience.
According to Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of executives who say their organizations make employee experience a high priority report their teams have the right tools and technology to do their work efficiently.
The paradigm shift to remote work has put more onus on companies to deliver quality employee experience and wellbeing. The post-pandemic phase presents huge opportunities for companies to completely reimagine and innovate their employee experience strategy. By analyzing key individual employee differences like, home lives, skills and capabilities, mindsets, and personal characteristics, leaders can address employee wellbeing in more personalized and dynamic ways.
During this unprecedented workplace disruption, a focus on employee experience has been linked to a 62 percent increase in team productivity, employee engagement and retention, as well as company resilience, despite external disruption and uncertainty.
Strategy 1 – Personalize for your employees/workforce
Money is no longer the key motivator at work, nor is a one-size-fits-all approach. As companies emerge from the pandemic, they are facing game-changing questions about employee experience and wellness. The bottom line: A whole new approach is required. Customer segmentation and personalization are some of the key ways in which companies identify and target their customers with the right messages. Why not use this same approach for your employees?
Personalization can help companies segment their workforce and use IT systems and processes to adapt targeted employee experience and wellness strategies. This holistic approach to employee experience can also be used to address the physical and psychological needs of your team. Conducting a company-wide employee satisfaction survey is one easy strategy to identify whether your team wants to work remotely or from the office, or choose a hybrid work option.
Additionally, companies need to start looking at how they can meet increasingly high employee expectations. For example, does your team need IT and office equipment to set-up comfortable remote work spaces? Ensure you’re providing them with new perks like this to maintain employee happiness in the remote work era.
Strategy #2 – Building trust within your team
People across the world have experienced unprecedented levels of disruption, both in their personal and work lives. But it’s never too late for executives and leaders to instill a sense of trust and safety within their teams, which has been linked to a positive employee experience.
According to McKinsey’s recent employee experience survey, respondents who say their organizations have reacted particularly well to the effects of the pandemic are four times more likely to be engaged and six times more likely to report a positive state of wellbeing.
While these survey results don’t offset the uncertainty and anxiety employees face around the world, they do prove that company leaders who invest time in building trust within their teams increase employee confidence in their organization.
Companies can focus on these four key elements to build on the trust established with their employees pre-pandemic.
- Credibility: As a leader, it’s important to prove that you care about the wellbeing of your team. Conduct internal team satisfaction surveys, speak transparently and empathetically on what employees are experiencing, use data to analyze related information, and communicate findings to your team regularly.
- Feasibility: Prioritize a proactive approach, rather than waiting for a solution. Utilize remote working tools to encourage formal and informal team communication.
- Sustainability: Develop strategies that are sustainable beyond a crisis. Reassure your team that support has no end point.
- Personability: Look to technology, behavioral science, and advanced analytics to encourage self-development and communication around individual employee needs.
Strategy #3 – Help your team develop a sense of purpose
Company leaders who build a relationship with their team are better able to aid employees in developing a sense of belonging and purpose, giving meaning to their role, especially in times of a crisis. This is often referred to as “sense making,” and this behavior enhances social connection and affiliation within work teams – not just in a formal sense, but also an organic, informal relationship. This is particularly vital, as our global employee survey reveals 32 percent of employees report remote working due to Covid-19 caused them to feel less connected to their colleagues.
Research indicates that employees who are “living their purpose” at work have four times higher engagement and five times more likely to have positive wellbeing. There are three actions leaders can take to create a strong sense of purpose, including:
- Embed purpose into how you talk with your team members – consider switching your focus from the “why” as well as the “how” when establishing processes and actions for your team. As your company evolves, consistently update your team on their purpose within the company.
- Lead by example – connect with other executives and team leaders who lead with purpose. Share their stories with your team.
- Make purpose part of your long-term strategic plan – consciously revise and update your company’s goals and remind your team how they play a vital part in this strategy.
Strategy #4 – Utilize technology to boost employee experience
Positive employee experience and wellbeing are closely dependent on a variety of factors, from company culture to communication. Technology also has a critical impact, but is often overshadowed by HR processes.
However, prioritizing technology to benefit employee experience has already become a strategic imperative. For instance, 70 percent of executives say their organization’s tech-focused employee experience initiatives have a “somewhat positive” or “very positive” effect on employee engagement and wellbeing.
Additionally, the study also revealed that there are significant differences in profitability, resilience, and growth between companies that prioritize employee experience through technology, versus those that don’t.
Various collaboration tools are frequently cited as very important components for global remote team satisfaction. According to Harvard Business Review, 74 percent of executives consider communication tools a top priority for team efficiency, and 73 percent rank remote work tools as a critical piece of technology for team satisfaction. If technology is not working well, teams are going to get frustrated.
Some simple ways in which companies can utilize technology for a positive employee experience include:
- Ensuring internet bandwidth and latency issues are solved.
- Single sign-on across different tools can be used to easily control multiple application logins.
- Ensuring application compatibility across various tools and devices.
- Utilizing smart, on-the-go remote work tools like Slack, Zoom, Jira, Smartsheets, and many more.
Strategy #5 – Promote a healthy team and company culture
Ninety percent of an iceberg’s mass lies beneath the surface, and culture is no different. A mere 10 percent of a company’s culture are observable surface behaviors (the “what” and “how”). Whereas all other aspects of company culture, including the shared mindset and beliefs that influence how teams behave, lie below the surface.
Managers need to practice cultural competency to identify the non-observable (deep culture) characteristics. This can be challenging but is important – cultural competence has been linked to a positive employee experience and 200 percent higher company performance than those in the bottom quartile.
Past studies have shown that 70 percent of company innovations fail, and 70 percent of those failures are due to cultural-related issues. Ultimately, company culture is inherently difficult to copy, but a healthy culture encourages a strong competitive advantage.
How can managers and executives practice cultural competence? Empathetic attunement is an incredibly powerful tool. To attune with others means we allow our own internal state to shift and resonate with the internal state of someone else. Empathetic attuning of both your own culture and your employees communicates a genuine willingness to connect. In remote global teams, showcasing willingness for empathetic cross-cultural communication is invaluable for fostering positive employee experience and wellbeing.