Employee Experience – the key to business success

Posted on: January 23, 2019 by Hanna Koukkula

“Thanks for your visit. We hope you enjoyed your stay – see you soon again!”

A greeting you might expect to hear after visiting a restaurant or service company keen on delivering a superior experience to engage regular customers. Saying thank you, wishing customers a good day, monitoring their mood and satisfaction on a regular basis, providing updates (sometimes even spamming them with too much news) and offering personal rewards… All practices that seem to be commonplace in the consumer world, but sadly, seldom the service you encounter in the workplace as an internal customer.

“If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.” – J.W. Marriott

Just like Marriott’s mantra encourages, to ensure business success, you should treat your employees like you’d treat your best customers. That’s at least, what millennials expect from their employers, and one should not underestimate this demand. By 2025, these individuals will make up 75% of the global workforce, bringing with them high expectations of their working environment – so their voice and behaviors will be the ones that count in the ‘Future of Work.’

There is certainly a lot we can learn from the best practices of customer experience to improve how we deal with our workforce. During the last decade we saw customer experience going through a fundamental change: customers became real kings and queens, and nowadays enjoy almost full control of their experiences. The coming decade will be dedicated to employees, with attention shifting to Employee Experience (EX) to ensure business success.

Here I will focus on two crucial points, which companies will have to rethink to get ahead in the next phase of transformation – of which employees will sit at the heart.

Analyzing data for the benefit of the employees

It all starts with gathering and connecting data of Employee Experience, which is defined as all the perceptions, emotions and interactions involved in an employee’s connection to the organization. Just like companies now analyze every touch point with their customers, we should look at the rich data accumulated throughout the employee’s journey with the organization, from the very moment they start considering it as a prospective employer.

Ranging from time registration apps to annual reviews, internal HR portals, employee benefit systems and wearables – employers have access to a wide and ever-expanding data pool to drive valuable insights and actions that can make the life of their employees easier and more comfortable.

However, for most companies, these data sources are rarely connected, and as formal performance reviews are only conducted once or twice a year, managers have a limited view of how their employees are really feeling. Without these crucial insights, organizations fail to measure the significant experiences and act on the data before it’s too late and the employee has resigned.

Listening to the Voice of Employee (VoE)

EX is a continuously evolving phenomenon and should be measured on an ongoing basis. Data should also be gathered holistically, taking into consideration all the key factors that influence an employee’s day-to-day experiences in the physical, technological and cultural environments.

This calls for a shift in focus away from annual review results and towards listening to what the people actually feel and experience in their daily encounters within the workplace.

Consider all the loops where you can leave your feedback as a consumer: surveys, benchmark ratings, social media… There is a ‘like’ button for almost everything we buy – fishing feedback to improve our experience. Similarly, technology can today help management to discover the real needs of their organization. Continuous listening and feedback tools enable to listen and learn what employees really value: where they prefer to work, which tools and resources they need to do their work and what makes them thrive?

Gartner shows, that identifying and supporting employees’ real values can increase performance by up to 20%! Yet today, most organizations still use annual surveys to measure how their workforce perceive their job. These provide an outdated view and time limitation for employees to express the real causes of their (dis)satisfaction. In some cases, they might even work against their purpose to improve satisfaction, as companies often have difficulties in following up promptly large-scale survey results with corrective actions.

This year is time to change the scene. In fact, Gartner predicts that in 2019, over half (59%) of organizations will use engagement data from sources other than formal review forms, and expects the new employee monitoring data methods to increase in importance, eventually replacing the traditional survey methods.

EX is the key to success

Unquestionably, it’s about time to put your data to work - for your people.

If 2018 was the year when EX moved from a simple buzzword to a business-critical topic at the top of the board’s agenda, let us this year walk the talk. By identifying the data sources, taking advantage of innovative new tools and technologies, and listening to the VoE, we can co-create unique experiences and a working environment, where employee can feel like a truly valued VIP.

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About Hanna Koukkula
Employee Experience, Ambassador and Business Development
Passionate about people and human-centered innovation, Hanna is devoted to exploring employee experience and its connection to business success. With a background in marketing communications and sales, Hanna is dedicated to helping companies to empower their workforce, being currently responsible for developing Atos EX offering in Benelux and the Nordics area. Hanna is also a member of Atos FUEL for Emerging Leaders Group, and international, cross-functional network of colleagues participating in innovative projects that contribute to Atos global business performance.

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