Mastering the next stage of EX management

Qualtrics highlights the core competencies needed for organisations to grow and improve their EX programmes.
By: | November 30, 2021

With employee experience (EX) continuing to be redefined by the pandemic, organisations are adopting a longer-term approach in creating the best EX programmes to meet the needs of their employees.

“Organisations do not master EX overnight,” said Lauren Huntington, EX Solution Strategist, Qualtrics. “Research from Qualtrics’ XM Institute shows that organisations evolve through five stages of EX maturity.”

This begins with the stage of Investigate, where organisations are not focused on EX as a strategic opportunity. Instead, they should be looking to identify the “best” first steps and building buy-in with senior executives to acquire the resources needed for moving forward.

In the next stage of Initiate, leaders see the potential in EX, investigate how EX can help their organisations, and kick off isolated pockets of EX activities. Ad-hoc or part-time teams are formed to define initial strategies and formalise Voice of Employee efforts.

Once executives view EX as a strategic priority, the organisation enters the Mobilise stage and taps into full-time EX staff who distribute insights and drive experience improvements. At this stage, organisations begin to see results that define what good EX looks like for the entire organisation.

With strong EX practices in place, organisations systematically use insights to identify and improve experiences and invests in engaging the entire workforce in EX. Companies in the Scale stage work on consistently using EX metrics and insights to improve EX and track the impact of their EX efforts.

In the final stage of Embed, EX skills are ingrained across the organisation, and it can rapidly adapt to shifts in the marketplace. Mature EX programmes enable an organisation to continuously learn, propagate insights, and rapidly adapt to the needs and expectations of all relevant stakeholders.

Huntington said, “This maturity model provides a roadmap for how organisations go about mastering the competencies and skills to successfully start EX programmes and progress through the maturity stages.”

Building key XM competencies

Key to building a successful EX programme, according to Qualtrics, are Experience Management (EX) competencies that organisations need to be equipped with.

To effectively manage the experiences of all stakeholders, organisations need to articulate a clear XM strategy and then coordinate the execution of that strategy – the Lead competency requires architecting, aligning, and sustaining XM efforts.

For XM efforts to have a lasting positive impact, they need to generate strategic and financial value for organisations. The Realise Competency is about identifying and tracking the right metrics to ensure XM efforts achieve well-defined business objectives.

People tend to gravitate towards the status quo, so a successful XM programme must overcome people’s inertia and their natural resistance to change. The Activate competency is about making sure that organisations have the appropriate skills, support, and motivation to achieve desired XM results.

To improve the delivery of experiences, organisations must be capable of collecting and processing a constant flow of X-data and O-data, and then transforming all that data into useful information. The Enlighten competency is about capturing, analysing, and distributing actionable insights.

Gathering and disseminating insights is important, but value is only generated when organisations act on what they learn. The Respond competency is about building organisational mechanisms to continuously act based on insights.

READ: Why EX should be a business priority in 2022

While finding and fixing problems is necessary, just responding to explicit issues is not sufficient to capture people’s hearts and minds. The Disrupt competency is about identifying and creating experiences that differentiate organisations from their competitors.

Four key pillars for a successful employee feedback programme

For EX programmes to be successful, organisations also need to improve their understanding of employees.

To establish successful employee feedback programmes, start by establishing a culture of feedback and transparency that is driven by executive leaders who see employee feedback as an integral part of EX and organisational improvement, said Huntington.

She continued, “You also need to have the tools, technology, and resources to be able to gather and analyse feedback at every stage of the life cycle.”

Next, organisations need to democratise EX data to empower managers and leaders to act by giving them the tools to analyse and visualise data, and to establish action plans for improvement.

Scalable and flexible EX technology is also key, as Huntington explained, “Make sure your tech setup is designed to scale. You are likely to start out small, growing your programme over time. If it’s set up right to start with, scaling will be easy. If not, there could be a lot more work down the road.”

To access your organisation’s current maturity level, learn how to progress to next stage, as well as hearing real-life examples of successful organisations developing and maturing their EX programmes, register for Qualtrics’ free online EX 101 course, EX Fundamentals.