Is it truly possible to measure employee experience (EX)? What is employee experience?
EX is the perception of an employee’s experience across different touchpoints with a company. These touchpoints can range from:
- Interview/Hiring process
- Company culture introduction
- Promotion opportunities
- Professional development
- Exit Interviews
By nature, employee experience is intuitive, changing in measurement based on different factors and potential events. Because of this, ways to view experiences have become a composite of monitoring metrics and KPIs like:
- Employee Satisfaction
- Employee Engagement
- Employee Net Promoter Score
- Employee Productivity
- Employee Referrals – both for customers and candidates
- Employee Retention Rates
- Employee Absenteeism
- Employee Wellness
Combining the touchpoints, metrics, and KPIs, the view of employee experience becomes more apparent. If employees are satisfied and have high engagement and productivity, it can be inferred that erred they have positive employee experiences.
Why is employee experience important to measure in the first place?
EX is an important measurement, and there are many benefits as to why. If you are a performance-driven manager, ensuring EX is positive means you have more productive, engaged, and loyal employees with low churn. If you’re success-driven, you want EX positive to drive higher customer satisfaction and loyalty because you have engaged employees working hard for the customers. Revenue-driven managers want to keep employee turnover low, engagement high, and customer acquisitions and expansion revenue climbing. No matter what, measuring and using employee experience inform strategic growth decisions.
So how do you approach measuring employee experience for your organization?
We’ve got four ways to help you get on the right track!
The best way to start is to ask your employees. An anonymous survey allows employees to be candid about their experiences with a company. This sort of data, where there is a combination of open-ended questions and rating ones, can allow advanced analytics, like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Sentiment Analysis, to understand what they are telling you. You can give employees many different surveys to better understand their experiences.
- Pulse Checks – Pulse checks are done semi-annually, usually between annual evaluations, but can be done at higher frequencies. It’s doing what its name suggests—checking the pulse of employees during the year. This is an opportunity for organizations to learn what they are doing well and what needs improvement.
- Candidate Experiences – The interview and hiring process is many employees’ or candidates’ first interaction with a company. This survey allows you to collect data on the success of that first impact. As this can also set the tone for company culture, getting it right at the first step can mean the difference between talent acquisition and low application rates.
- eNPS – Most people recognize NPS—net promoter score—and how it shows how loyal and likely to recommend customers are. This is the same thing when it comes to employee net promoter scores. This survey gives insight into how loyal or potentially engaged employees are in the organization, from their mission and values to providing outstanding customer experiences on the company’s behalf.
- Employee Engagement – Different from eNPS, this survey lets you precisely target engagement. An engaged employee is more productive, takes more time, and is more likely to go above and beyond their job description to create better experiences for customers and peers.
- Exit Interviews – You’d rather retain good talent, but sometimes things don’t work out. An exit interview is still a powerful tool for gaining data. Candid responses about the company, its culture, management style, and more can be found here. The former employee may no longer fear retaliation, getting anyone in trouble, or otherwise affecting their position.
- 360-Feedback – Sometimes called performance evaluations—though there is a difference—360-degree feedback projects allow assessment and research on employee experiences, and even what experiences those employees give to others from their peers, subordinates, and managers.
An experience management solution that allows you to compile this data and gain insight with easy-to-read reporting is critical to the success of this process.
2. HR Solutions
A familiar department in any company is Human Resources. While companies aren’t all using the same technologies, they tend to all have some form of Human Resources Management System (HRMS)—for things like payroll and timekeeping—, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)—for items associated with Talent Management Systems (TMSs) to recruit, benefits, and compensation—, or Human Capital Management (HCM)—for onboarding, training, performance, and analytics. Understanding how they link together is a stair step where HRIS starts with people, policies, and procedures. HCM includes HRIS but adds talent management. HRMS covers HRIS and elements of HCM.
As so much of HR functions and their systems deal with people within the organization, it’s no surprise that this is also a great area to measure employee experiences built into the systems or, at least, working with these systems.
Most of the time, surveys are used through HR efforts to collect employee experience data. But HR Solutions and Technologies are a separate piece in measuring employee experiences because of the varied sources and amount of data they compile. This data is also linked to KPIs, monitoring changes, and providing a snapshot of employee experiences.
Ways HR Solutions can improve employee experience:
- NPS scores
- Interface or User experiences
- Communication tools
- Employee experience management software
- Employee experience journey mapping
- Collaboration-enabling tools
To give a few examples, HRIS applications many are familiar with are Zenefits, ADP, Oracle, and SAP SuccessFactors, for example, and they use them regularly. The self-service abilities add positive experiences, especially when they are simple, easy to use, and functional when employees need them. Collaboration-enabling tools like Slack, Teams, or Trello allow employees to work together more accessible while promoting communication. Experiences management software typically integrates with third-party applications to combine these points under one umbrella while producing reports to inform decisions.
3. Focus Groups
A bit different than the previous two options, focus groups can be used to study experiences based on specific groups within your organization. Imagine you have been measuring your employee experiences and the overall engagement score, as is NPS and satisfaction, but there are productivity issues here and there within departments. You’re not sure why, but it’s beyond the scope of acceptable performance and productivity numbers.
You decide to do focus groups within each department to understand better why some seem less productive than others. By doing all departments, you are not singling out the lower-producing employees but allowing everyone to have a voice.
Or what if you’d like to see what those employees working from home would say about their experiences versus those in the office? Or looking at minority or protected classes when it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices?
These are all examples of when it would be beneficial to use focus groups.
As focus groups allow employees to share their experiences as a collective, this can make others more comfortable with sharing their experiences. It can be an open forum with questions just presented and letting people talk, or you can give them a topic to discuss and ask follow-up questions as it goes. To remove management from the process to ensure candid answers, a 3rd party group or arbiter could handle the focus group.
4. Look at Competitors
Just like when it comes to market research or SWOT analysis, knowing how your competition is doing can also help inform your decisions. The Employee Experience Index ranks 252 companies based on three factors that are important to employee experiences: workplace technology, company culture, and the office’s physical space. Look at this index, for example, to see where your competition is doing in comparison, or look at the top organizations in the Index to see what you could be doing differently.
Are you separating employee experience into its important overall factors so you can see where you can make the most impactful changes?
Are you including the office location/space and remote work in this time of digitization?
This way of measuring is a comparison in nature, and so is a guideline in which you’d use the other three types to get more detailed insight.
No matter which option you choose, the importance of measuring employee experiences can’t be discounted. The higher employee experience measurements are, the more productive, engaged, retained, and invested employees are. This, in turn, increases customer satisfaction, expansion revenue, customer acquisition, and sales revenue.