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Nurture Employee Well-Being and Productivity with EXPs
Most businesses are struggling to retain talent—thanks to the Great Resignation—a continuing trend in which people seeking a change leave their jobs willingly as a result of the pandemic. In a case of great industry timing, concurrent with the Great Resignation is a generation of employee experience platforms on the rise—which measure end-user application usage and experience data to determine how employees interact with the tools they use and essential attributes of an employee experience platform.
The Great Resignation isn't about "employees spitting out their pacifiers in a temper tantrum and working from home," Omdia principal analyst Tim Banting explained during the Enterprise Connect 2021 session "Well-being and Productivity – The Promised Land of Employee Experience Platforms (EXPs)." Instead, he says, it’s about culture and meaningful work— aspects that organizations face when observing employee experience. Banting and panelist Johnny Russ, the experience management (XM) product manager for the employee-experience software platform Qualtrics.
Russ said his company Qualtrics is in a “unique spot,” where a lot of companies either work in employee experience or customer experience. He added that the company has "been building out quite an extensive platform" in both areas for the last ten years.
He recalled a large manufacturing customer who wanted to narrow the focus on customer experience in a "genuine and authentic way." However, the customer soon discovered via employee feedback that the workforce "felt used, like they were a tool or a means to an end." Consequently, the customer pivoted the program to focus on employee experience first, with a goal of making the workplace experience better for employees. Once employees are taken care off, Russ said, ”they will then take care of your customer.”
According to Banting and Russ, any business transformation plan that includes an employee experience platform must be sure to follow the five guidelines below:
- Holistically Meet Employee Needs – A genuine desire to listen to and understand your employees is an essential component of a mature and healthy transformation, Russ said. “What’s best for business is to do what’s best for your people.”
- Listen, Respect, Drive Change – “When you start listening to your employees, you understand what their needs are,” Russ said. “Wherever you are in your journey, figure out the right way to listen, with the intention to act.” Banting says employees need to be listened to and respected. More importantly, based on feedback, leaders have to make changes. “A listening organization is more responsive to rivals and better positioned to serve the market in which they operate in,” Banting said. He also says leaders must have a clear vision and recognize that in order to drive cultural change, they must provide the tools that foster customer experience, employee experience, and ease of use. The tools people use are as important as customer and employee experience, which leads to better returns, productivity improvements.
- Conduct Engagement Surveys – Qualtrics conducted research that found many employees to be anxious because “the more frequently you’re checking in with employees, it affects their engagement,” Russ said. Organizations must be thoughtful about what they measure, how, and where. Russ described some healthy ways to check in with employees. For example, one is to embed surveys into employee’s natural workflows so “they can give feedback on their terms in the way they want.” Sometimes when a company asks for too much feedback, there’s a perception from employees in terms of “lack of action.” Organizations that say “‘my company acts on feedback provided,’” are the ones dramatically hiring, [increasing] engagement, and improving retention,” Russ said.
- Correlate Customer Data with Employee Experience – Many customer experience platforms don’t have an avenue to let employees weigh in, Russ said. He added, you can highlight gaps where employees think they’re providing a better experience. For example, employees deal with a lot of the same customers daily. "If you start measuring your customer and employee experience together on a platform-like culture, then you start looking at that more granularly,” Russ said.
- Bridge the Experience Gap – Russ defines this as the difference between the people who are creating and providing an experience and those who are having the experience. This gap is where organizations say, “‘I have some data or some information, but it's an incomplete picture,'” Russ said. He advised organizations to start at the beginning, listen, and look at the teams carrying out these transformations. And remember, while an organization is going through the process of testing and implementing a solution, be sure to have a plan to address and resolve anyone who is avoiding really incorporating feedback thanks to the dual perceptions, “I'm never [going to] make everybody happy,” and “There's always going to be resistance to change.”
Banting also addressed digital transformation, describing it as a combination of the customer journey, the user experience, and the employee experience. According to a 2020 study of over 300 employee and customer experience leaders from 14 sites, he said, roughly 70% of executives agree that happy employees lead to happy customers, which, of course, accelerates growth and improves revenue. “So, if you want customers to love your company, get your employees to love their jobs. Be interested in what you're seeing from your customers and your clients.”
If you’re an Enterprise Connect pass holder and missed Banting’s session, "Well-being and Productivity – The Promised Land of Employee Experience Platforms (EXPs)" watch it on-demand here.