Human Resources

Employee Experience: Making work worthwhile

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Why employee experience is a deal-breaker for successful companies

In recent years, organisations have ploughed resources into enhancing the customer experience. This is, and will always be, an important focus area. But IBM research shows that employee experience is just as vital to the productivity and resilience of a business.

As we discussed at the recent Unleash HR event, forward-thinking organisations are evaluating the close connection between employees’ physical, social and cultural environment, as well as the tools and relationships they need to get their work done.

There are many different reasons to examine the employee experience – all of them worthwhile. Our research found that this new focus on designing a meaningful employee journey has its roots in five cultural shifts:

  • The ongoing war for talent is intensifying, particularly in emerging disciplines
  • The millennial mindset is permeating the entire workforce
  • Employees are increasingly approaching the workplace as consumers
  • Organisations are recognising the relationship between customer experience and employee experience
  • Research continues to show links between employee engagement and productivity
  • We combined our research findings with IBM’s deep industry expertise to better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with this trend.

We identified a number of components of employee experience that can be grouped within three spheres of influence: the social sphere, the physical sphere and the work sphere. Organisations that consider these components in the context of their overall business goals and culture – and, importantly, reflect their findings in the behaviour of their leaders – are more likely to have engaged, productive employees.

So, where should organisations begin? We believe the following four recommendations lay good groundwork for positive employee experiences.

1. Use analytics to tune in to the voice of the employee

Get to grips with your present employee experience by drawing on the same techniques you use to evaluate customer experience. Examine data from engagement surveys, social platforms and the Internet of Things to measure sentiment and identify challenges.

2. Invest in key touchpoints where employee experience has the greatest impact

Improving the employee experience requires investment, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Once you have identified pressure points in the employee lifecycle – whether around onboarding, the office environment or career development – you can work swiftly to make impactful changes.

3. Build an employee experience coalition that crosses silos

Employee engagement must be woven into the fabric of your business, so designing experiences around the physical, social and work spheres requires a multifunctional perspective. IT, facilities, marketing and leadership teams all play an important role.

4. Design employee experiences using rapid, iterative design principles

Don’t attempt to solve every problem in one fell swoop. First, develop a deep understanding of your employees based on quantitative and observational data. Second, document the stages of the employee journey. Third, rapidly develop individual solutions over short time periods. Finally, capture feedback and refine the solutions on an ongoing basis.

Start today

Today’s organisations need to attract and grow top-performing talent, create engaging social and collaborative cultures and connect the right people to get work done. To read more about IBM’s research and findings, including the five practices organisations are using to create more effective employee experiences and stories from clients who have succeeded in this area, download our report.

IBM helps clients to build impassioned and engaged workforces and deepen client relationships for measurable business outcomes. Find out more about the IBM Talent and Change Consulting Practice.

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