The Do’s and Don’ts of Crafting a Stellar Employee Experience Strategy
Workers have never had more options for employment. The challenge of the global pandemic has forced employees across all departments to reconsider what they want out of their occupations. While the “Great Resignation” has been a staffing challenge for HR teams the world over, economists consider it a sign of a strong economy when workers have choices available. Even as most have returned to the office, organisations have had to make new considerations based on a once complacent workforce that now demands more of employers.
One successful approach by managers is designing and enhancing a strong employee experience strategy. Employee experience (EX) is simply defined as the relationship between an employee and employer from their first day to their final day on the job. It has been shown repeatedly that companies which invest in a positive employee experience have better retention rates and higher productivity. It has also been shown that companies that don’t make EX a priority tend to have higher turnover and less-engaged employees. In turn, this results in unsatisfactory work and costly hiring processes.
Though EX may seem like a simple concept, it is often misunderstood. Some tactics are quite reliable and focused on methods that grant employees more autonomy over their positions. Others can appear beneficial but have hidden problems. Using a recent report from SAPinsider, “The State of Human Experience in the Workplace,” let’s explore some examples of do’s and don’ts to see what works and what doesn’t.
Do: Make Everything (Pay Data, Scheduling, Communication) More Accessible
Workers are most content when they feel they have some agency over their own positions. By using accessible workforce management programs, employees can take control of their own affairs. Access to pay data, work scheduling and easy communication helps ensure that your team feels like a vital, respected part of your organisation rather than “spokes on a wheel.”
A good workforce management tool will enable easy task management, information sharing and communication between management and workers. These tools keep everybody on task and in touch in ways that are simply impossible with the old-fashioned methods.
Don’t: Under-Prioritise Employee Experience
Despite repeated studies on how important EX is to worker satisfaction and retention, it has only recently been considered a top priority by managers worldwide. End-to-end EX solutions are currently in use by less than 2% of companies, with 8% being in the process of implementing them. However, of those surveyed, 72% of companies have plans to implement EX solutions in the next 24 months.
Low prioritisation has several causes. Budget restraints, lack of understanding and higher priorities are all cited as reasons. But managers must learn that these issues do not occur in a vacuum, and many of the expressed reasons are directly related to a poor employee experience strategy.
If your business has retention issues, you have an employee experience problem.
If your workers have poor morale, you have an employee experience problem.
If your employees are slipping on productivity, you have an employee experience problem.
How can fixing these issues be a high priority, but investing in a solution isn’t?
Do: Make Use of Mobile
These days, nearly every facet of our personal lives is mediated through applications on our smartphones. Why should a job be any different?
Whether organisations have been slow to adapt to new technologies or just don’t know how to engage non-office workers, advancements in the average person’s connection to the digital world must be considered. A single phone number to the boss’s secretary is simply not how workplace communication should be done in the 21st century. Investing in workforce management programs that allow for mobile access can open the floodgates for communication in your organisation, facilitating greater cooperation, collaboration and clarity in your daily operations.
Don’t: Use the Loosey-Goosey Method
Many smaller or unorthodox workplaces attempt to have an overly open method of communication. “If you need anything, just ask your manager, their door is always open! Need time off? Running late? Issue with a supervisor? Just go to the boss’s office, or give them a call on their personal phone!”
This method can lead to multiple problems. For example, what should be a simple pro forma request to leave early for a doctor’s appointment feels more like asking your supervisor for a favor. And to avoid issues caused by inflexible time-management software, many of these managers will just tell you to take the whole day off. Of course, being forced to use PTO to accommodate a one-hour doctor’s visit has no real benefit to the employee. Further, the need to use personal phones for business reasons can cross an uncomfortable boundary for workers—not to mention the security concerns that can arise when employees don’t have access to internal communication methods.
Informality has its place and can be an important part of an easygoing company culture. But work is work and business is business, and some things must be handled professionally.
Do: Employ Company Surveys
If you want to know what would make your employees happier, there is a trusted authority that could give you some insight: the employees themselves! When this SAPinsider report asked companies what they required from potential workforce management programs, 69% said “employee feedback via surveys.” Frequent, low-friction check-ins allow managers to capture the sentiment of their workforce, gain insight into what strategies are working to increase satisfaction, and hear suggestions from those who will be most affected by company policy.
Suitable survey technologies can also retain data to track your workforce’s morale and productivity. Surveys are a quick, easy way to test the waters for new policies, determine employee engagement and develop employee trust that their voice is heard.
Don’t: Feed the Perk Monster
Before implementing a tactic of positive employee experience, ask yourself: Is it a solution or a perk? Allowing employees to manage their work/life balance is a solution that leaves them satisfied. A ping-pong table is a perk that does not.
A waning trend of the 2010s, “office perks” were once seen as a suitable method of making employees feel more comfortable at the office. Nap rooms, ping-pong tables, espresso machines, yoga classes and many other novelties were pitched as honest efforts to make work less humdrum and encourage friendlier relations between co-workers.
Critics point out that—despite good intentions—these tactics led to one primary result: keeping employees at the office for excessive hours. Work/life balance is more important to employees than who the reigning office table football champion is. These perks also did not give workers any agency over their work lives or better communication with managers. Despite a near-universal love among workers for yoga and naps, such gimmicks don’t ultimately do much keep them happy or improve retention.
Employee experience is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the biggest predictors of turnover and morale in the workplace. Read more in SAPinsider’s recent report “The State of Human Experience in the Workplace,” and learn how WorkForce Software can give your organisation the winning edge!
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