Guest blog from Kim Lessley, Global Director, Solution Marketing at SAP SuccessFactors
What is the best way to boost employee engagement? If we knew that, organizations would automatically do it and employees at every organization would be fully engaged around the clock. But the truth is, there is no magic bullet for the best way to boost employee engagement. That’s because all employees are different, with their own motivators and criteria for what creates an engaging work environment and a positive employee experience (EX).
Business leaders and human resource (HR) professionals are constantly challenged to keep the workforce at every level engaged and aligned with corporate goals. The pandemic has added to the challenge by drastically altering the employee experience, leaving workers scrambling to navigate their new working arrangements, and pushing leaders to find new ways to keep employees engaged in their work. We need a different way to think about how our employees experience our organizations and how we measure that experience.
Satisfied employees are hard-working, loyal company advocates, as shown in a recent infographic by Forrester Consulting LLC. In fact, organizations with advanced EX practices see nearly twice the return on their investments. Despite this, only 9% of HR managers say employee needs are their top priority when setting EX strategy, so there is clearly a fundamental misalignment on what drives a positive employee experience.
Organizations with advanced EX practices see nearly twice the return on their investments. Despite this, only 9% of HR managers say employee needs are their top priority when setting EX strategy, so there is clearly a fundamental misalignment on what drives a positive employee experience.Kim Lessley, SAP SuccessFactors
The effects of negative EX
Negative experiences or a lack of fulfillment at work can lead to absenteeism as well as something called ‘presenteeism,’ which you might relate to even if you haven’t heard of it before. Absenteeism is the situation where people are physically not present at their job site or home office, for example, due to taking a sick day, whereas with ‘presenteeism’ workers may be physically present but are struggling and not really accomplishing things.
From a business perspective, improving EX can reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism.
Positive EX benefits go beyond the bottom line
When workers have a positive employee experience, everyone wins. An engaged workforce is a key driver of business success according to the full Forrester report, Close the Employee Experience Gap, commissioned by SAP SuccessFactors, Qualtrics, and EY. Forrester’s survey of 900 full-time employees and 900 HR decision-makers revealed that 81% of employees and 58% of HR managers believe creating and sustaining a positive culture is the most important aspect to creating a good employee experience.
But the benefits shouldn’t simply be measured against the bottom line. Human value is equally as important as customer value and financial value.
Take action to track human value and improve EX
We all want to matter in the context of work. We all want our voices to be heard. If you are not listening to your employees, then you don’t understand their needs and their expectations, so how could you possibly create a positive experience for them? But improving the employee experience is about more than simply gathering feedback during an annual review. Organizations need to value employees, consistently listen to their needs, and continuously take action to truly improve EX.
One caveat here – you shouldn’t ask for feedback on anything that you’re not willing to take action on. No one wants to be asked regularly about their experience and then nothing changes. We have to ask, we have to listen, we have to do it more than once a year, and we have to care enough to do something about it.
Organizations can take specific actions using human experience management (HXM) tools to help improve the employee experience. The Forrester infographic outlines some of the steps that companies can take:
- Implement effective listening programs to understand employee sentiment and needs.
- Cultivate and sustain a positive culture.
- Improve learning and coaching technology and processes.
- Consider usability, mobility, and accessibility when selecting employee technology.
Positive EX is everyone’s responsibility
While many people think of the employee experience as HR’s domain, everyone in the organization is responsible for providing a positive employee experience. It’s important for all of us, whether in HR or not, to think about creating work experiences for employees that bring together what employees want, what employees need, their expectations, and then align them to the company goals.
Technology plays a particularly important role because it can have a significant impact on EX. Technology can contribute to or detract from an employee’s experience based on whether it helps or hinders workers as they do their jobs. Technology-based human experience management (HXM) tools can help business leaders and HR professionals boost employee engagement and create positive employee experiences that align with corporate goals at every level of the organization.
Diversity Network is proud to partner with SAP SuccessFactors. Learn more about creating individualized and meaningful experiences for employees with human experience management.
Kim Lessley will be representing SAP SuccessFactors on our panel at Diversity Network’s The Future of Work Digital Focus Day on 5th May 2021. Book your free ticket here to join us.