Why EX should be a business priority in 2022
As the pandemic continues to re-shape the way people work, the expectations, needs, and preferences of employees are constantly changing. To meet the needs of an increasingly diverse hybrid workforce – against the backdrop of the Great Resignation – organisations are rapidly realising the critical need for a super employee experience (EX).
To begin, how should organisations define EX?
Lauren Huntington, EX Solution Strategist, Qualtrics, offered, “EX is defined as the perception that employees have of their collective interaction with their employers – from the moment they look at your job opening to the moment they leave your company. Everything that employees learn, do, see, and feel at each stage of the employee lifecycle contribute to the employee experience.”
Highlighting the increasing importance of EX for organisations, Huntington said, “Studies have found that employers who offer superior EX have 40% lower turnover and 17% higher productivity. The business value extends beyond these people outcomes and translates into real returns in the form of revenue, innovative outcomes, and superior customer service.”
Foundational elements in elevating and maturing EX programmes
EX, whether positive or negative, will have a direct impact on how hard employees work, how much they collaborate, and whether they are invested in improving operational performance, she pointed out.
To create successful EX programmes, organisations should pay attention to these key elements:
Technology: The technology platform that empowers an organisation to collect, understand, and act on insights and data. A powerful Experience Management (XM) platform is an essential component of any XM effort as it allows the company to capture, analyse, and distribute a constant flow of insights to the relevant people and processes. Without such a platform, companies will not be able to scale EX capabilities and practices across the entire business.
Competency: This is defined by the skills and actions that establish XM as a discipline. At the end of the day, to realise value from XM, companies are going to have to alter the way they operate in a number of different ways – from how they collect and use insights, to how they design experiences, to how they engage leaders and employees in their change efforts. This element is made up of six XM Competencies: Lead, Realise, Activate, Enlighten, Respond, and Disrupt.
Culture: The mindsets and beliefs that encourage and nurture XM-centric behaviours across the organisation. A company’s culture will either accelerate or inhibit the spread of XM-centric behaviours and practices. So, if XM is going to thrive across the business, organisations must create an environment that fosters XM-centric mindsets and behaviours in its leaders and employees.
Perhaps more importantly, the key to a great EX is understanding your people, Huntington added. “Embedding employee listening across the employee lifecycle – from traditional events like onboarding and performance assessments, to more personal events like a work anniversary, parental leave return – these can offer invaluable insights to find and fix underperforming experience, as well as create breakthrough experiences that can attract and retain the best talent.”
Huntington also advised organisations to refrain from mistaking EX with employee engagement. For instance, to deliver personalised experiences, organisations must understand how employees feel at different stages of the employee lifecycle.
To be able to continually design new and improved experiences that meet employees’ expectations, organisations need to move from an engagement model to one that highlights experience. While the focus might have previously been on consulting innovation, it now needs to shift to science and technology innovation.
Annual engagement studies need to be replaced in favour of continuous learning; workplace transparency should be the norm as managers are encouraged to be targeted and specific in engaging with employees; and most importantly, organisations need to listen and act on employees’ feedback.
An EX management programme should incorporate different types of listening elements – such as pulse surveys and 360 reviews – to measure employee engagement and experiences at key moments in the employee lifecycle.
“While annual engagement surveys are foundational to many programmes, the mix of listening that is possible has evolved thanks to technological advancements,” Huntington said.
To find out more about how you can position EX as a differentiator to attract and retain talent, register for Qualtrics’ free online EX 101 course, EX Fundamentals.