Human relationship prevail in employee employee experience

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Close up of human hands touching with fingers

There’s a growing number of publications about employee experience. I recently found this one from Accenture

In just post I’ll only focus on the main points that I’ll comment in the light of my own experience. If this study won’t bring anything really new to the people that are already convinced by employee experience and are working on it, it will give tangible numerical arguments to those who still need to convince their organization.

I still see too many people mistaking employee experience for well being. I won’t say they’re opposite but employee experience is a wider matter that’s also more tied to day to day operations. Let’s be clear : if employee experience does not impact operations it means that the organization cares about employees only when they don’t work and take a break. I call this “putting a Spa next to the torture chamber”.

Well-being is for when people are at work, employee experience is also for when they actually work.

We can’t limit employee experience to the moments when people don’t work

Three years ago I wrote that employee experience was a matter of engagement and productivity. Accenture confirms this idea with figures : if customer experience improves customer loyalty (+17%) and increases revenues (+11%), employee experience increases productivity.

Businesses offering a great employee experience outperform others by 122% and those with an highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.

I must admit that the 122% leaves me doubtful. Both because it’s an incredibly high number and because I’m surprised that businesses are already able to measure the impact of such a new concept.

The study also lists the founding elements of employee experience. Here again, nothing new : it’s all about the consumerisation of organisations. Everything that happens on the customer side will happen on the employee side. It’s as simple as that.

Toward the hyperpersonalization of employee experience

1st trend inherited from the consumer world : hyperpersonnalization. Based on ages, jobs and other elements, not everybody asks for or even need the same experience. Employee experience requires a workforce segmentation that can’t be as simplistic as job or demography-based. One need to establish employee clusters sharing the same characteristics…but how to relevantly determine these characteristics is left unexplained.

It’s also stated, without surprise, that technology will play a big role in employee experience. And, according to Accenture,  not only these work streams are identified by nearly every business but some are already well advanced.

The above list is quite obvious and doesn’t need comment. But the numbers leave me doubtful once again. I’m surprised that 75% of businesses plan to monitor employee emotions to improve their productivity but…why not. But 35% already doing it sounds incredible. Same for the 39% of businesses using predictive services to anticipate employee needs.

What are the moments that matter to employees ?

Another mandatory point : moments that matter, equivalent of the moments of truth at are a cornerstone in customer experience. These moments can happen either inside or outside the organization, relate to the career or a specific task. So they won’t be the same for everyone. Accenture lists three kinds of experiences, physical, human and digital that impact both the personal and professional side.

I find reading grid interesting even if in my own framework also includes organizational experiences. What I mean by organization experiences are all the interaction and friction point managed by the organization : structure, hierarchy, decision and business processes and workflows, approvals, reporting etc. If digital brings speed and scale, digitizing dysfunctional processes only delivers mess and inefficiency, disengagement and frustration faster and at a wider scale.

My view is that employee experience is a matter of simplification above all and I think this study misses this point.

Human experiences above all

The study also emphasises the importance of human experiences and I can’t disagree. Most of the daily employee experience is made of interactions with others and a good or bad management will have a huge impact.

I’ll also add that I suggest dealing with this point before starting any initiative related to collaboration and communication tools.  We already experienced it with enterprise social networks years ago : multiplying and speeding up interactions with people when these interactions are of poor quality leads to disaster. And providing people with tools to support interactions that are unlikely to happen for cultural and managerial reasons is throwing money by window by falling into technological solutionnism trap.

To end, Accenture proposes a roadmap ;

• Identify fields where productivity can be improved

• Identify the moments that matter

• Co-design experiences with employees

 

Employee experience must not be discriminatory

I will only address the first point, which made me fall off my chair. Accenture says nothing different than “focus on the people that will bring you money and let the others struggle”. This standpoint is unsustainable and deliver a message that’s quite the opposite of what employee experience should be.

I agree that things must be prioritized. But employee experience can’t be discriminatory. My own experience and opinion are that a common stack is needed for everyone and then a job by job approach should be taken but everyone must be impacted. If you want higher disengagement just do as usual : put all the money on the HQ and forget stores, branches and factories, put all the money on those who sell and forget those who produce, deliver and make the engine work.

Maybe it’s the right approach to convince a CFO but it’s a disaster in terms of implementation and I find it hard to understand how such words have survived to a reading committee. Sad.

Let’s end with something everyone should agree on :

Photo Crédit Fotolia