There are probably as many interpretations of employee experiences as there are solutions promising the next experience. This situation is not unexpected as experience is subjective and difficult to corral and interpret. Employee experience is often made a solution to many challenges organisations face. However, most ideas look at experience with either a focus on process improvement or as transactions that deliver a wow experience to the employee and miss the point that it can be viewed strategically to improve business outcomes.
Let’s look at employee experience using three lenses and then see how we can add value to business through better outcomes.
The productivity lens: Which means creating a friction-free experience on every task, with time saved and value added. For example, if a routine transaction like an expense claim takes an extra minute either due to process design or system delays, collectively it would mean an extra day a year for an employee considering the various transactions they can do.
The technology lens: A considerable amount of technology is multi-use and can be re-designed to enhance experience. For example, communication technology in the social media space can bring joy at work if we integrate it to the workplace. All it needs is an openness to the new as well as enterprise-level security features to be built in.
The human lens: Each organisation has a culture that is unique. It is people who make a difference, and how these individuals are treated makes a difference. Just as consumer service brands listen to customer preferences and deliver content, such as movies or clothes that are highly personal to each user, organisations too need to take a similar approach by listening to employees and then enabling their experience.
So how does one take the triad of lenses – productivity, technology, and the human -- to deliver experiences that delight the employee? These steps should help in delivering a better employee experience:
The first step to work on improving the employee experience is understanding what your employees want. There are two parts to this phase. The first part is about analyzing the data that you already have on your process as well as inputs from various productivity measures that are available. The second part is through user discussions that give inputs that the data might not reveal. And it’s important to cross check the output from both these methods for validation. AI and other tools can help you gain insights quickly.
The second step is co-creating a solution. Picking something off the shelf or copying what some other company has done will not help, as organizations differ widely. An iterative process like design thinking can help you understand unique user needs and design solutions that are empathetic and have a user-first approach. It’s also important to foster your organization culture by being inclusive and respecting unique needs of diverse groups while building solutions.
The third and often missed step is analyzing the impact of the solution. Financial resources are always scarce and the only way to get organizations to spend on better employee experience is by showing a linkage to business outcomes. You should make it a practice to measure the value the improved experience brings in – productivity, user delight, customer impact, reduced attrition and so on. Each parameter has a value associated and hence can be measured.
And finally, you need to listen to people who get to use the new experience. Are they talking about the change, are they putting up testimonials, what are the informal channels telling you? When it comes to human experiences, the mode is always look, listen, improve – each new set of employees is different and comes with expectations. So, what we offer in terms of experience needs to constantly change and evolve.
At the core, employee experience is linked to every interaction and touch point the employee experiences through their association with the company. A large portion of our workforces has changed as well as connected remotely over the last 2 years. We need a re-visit of what we offer to them so that we improve their work as well as their lives. Just as you expect an improved experience as a consumer, it’s normal to expect it as an employee. As HR of companies, we need to work on this and deliver.
Views are personal. The author is Executive Vice President, Head HR, Infosys.
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