Creating a positive employee experience (EX) has emerged as a top-three priority for leaders in 2019 because it has been proven to improve critical HR and business metrics. Research cited in Harvard Business Review shows that companies that invested most heavily in EX featured 28 times more among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and earned more than four times the average profit than others. The big question for leaders now is how to craft an unforgettable positive experience for employees at work.
So, what does positive EX feel like? It goes far beyond the Instagrammable, short-term perks like bean bag chairs, foosball tables, or bags of potato chips in the office. An excellent comparable to EX is Customer Experience (CX). Companies have long focused on ways to improve CX, and the results are the highly intuitive, integrated experiences offered by companies such as Amazon, and Apple.
Employees now expect their workplace experience to be comparable to their experience as consumers. In response, organizations need to offer employees a consumerized experience that is intuitive, integrated, instantaneous, personalized, perceptive, and mobile.
Consumer brands are successful when they make it easy for customers to consume their products or services. Companies are increasingly applying the same thinking to HR, by adopting intuitive tools that make HR easy for employees to consume. The growing adoption of Learning Experience Platforms and HR virtual assistants is an example of this trend.
Forcing employees to deal with disjointed HR services and technologies leads to a poor experience. Companies, in response, are focusing on putting employee-centric processes and technologies in place that integrate various HR areas and put employee needs at the center. In pursuit of such an integrated, holistic approach to HCM, companies are leveraging concepts such design thinking, which is based on developing a deep understanding of the people for whom a product or service is being designed.
In this age of instant gratification, HR services should also be instant – without unnecessary waiting periods.
On-demand pay is a key example of bringing this to life. It allows employees access to a payout based on their earnings during the active pay cycle (in other words, they can get their pay right after a shift, rather than waiting until a pay day), thus eliminating wait periods and helping employees stay away from costly overdraft fees and payday loans.
HR’s approach to employees shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. About 56% of employees feel that their employer should understand them as well as they are expected to understand their customers. Personalizing HR, or as Gartner defines it, creating relevant, individualized interactions, enhances employee experience.
Benefits decision support tools are an example of how employers can offer a personalized solution to address an employee pain point.
Just like the voice of the customer, companies are realizing the importance of capturing the voice of the employee, too. Tools and processes that allow employees’ opinions to be captured and acted upon are gaining popularity.
This is reflected in the evolution of employee engagement surveys and employee feedback mechanisms. Though annual/biannual surveys that focus on year-over-year comparison of broad engagement metrics continue to be used widely, they are increasingly being supplemented by simpler, more frequent pulse surveys on specific issues. Companies are also increasingly considering continuous feedback as the cornerstone of performance management.
Employees should be able to access HR services and technologies easily, especially via mobile devices, considering that about 95% of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind. For a highly mobile workforce, an intuitive mobile app is a must-have.
Consumerizing EX is, in short, about aligning processes and technologies across the organization to provide a positive experience at all moments that matter for employees.