Overview of the employee experience in France

The French HR Agency “Parlons RH” has just published its 3rd barometer of the employee experience. The study involved more than 1,000 people, i.e. 675 people working in the HR function and 231 partners and providers in the HR function.

The employee experience: a real dynamic

The first thing that can be said is that the question of employee experience is now a real movement since 35% of respondents have such an initiative in their company. But we can’t talk about a tsunami either. Unsurprisingly, the initiatives are recent (43% less than a year old) but 44% are between 1 and 3 years old.

The first three objectives are to strengthen engagement, improve the overall performance of the organization and enhance the attractiveness of the company. As I have already said here and as I will have the opportunity to detail in the future, the improvement of the overall performance of the organization is in my opinion the only reason that should dictate the implementation of an employee experience program. The rest are only means to that end.

…despite inconsistencies

I am still surprised that improved customer service and employer branding come last. The employer brand because if you put attractiveness at the top of the ranking you have to be schizophrenic to put the brand at the bottom. And customer service because if what you do internally doesn’t benefit the customer, it’s hard to see why you want it to improve the performance of the organization. Especially since a program that at one point has no impact on the customer has a hard time really mobilizing internally, at least not those who count and have control over the most significant budgets.

On the other hand, it seems to me that we like to repeat the same nonsense over the years. When asked who it’s important to improve the experience for first priority, the first answer is the manager (68%!) followed by employees in touch with customers (47%). My arms are falling off. I had already discussed the subject in the past in terms of digital transformation and I haven’t changed my mind since then. Generally speaking, the employee experience cannot be discriminatory. We’ll talk about this in due course, but I would even say that you have to start from the client and work your way up to the top of the company. Of course we have to take care of the manager, but so that the manager takes care of the employee who takes care of the client. Starting with the manager is as useless as it is suicidal without an overall plan. And a well thought-out overall plan can only start from the bottom or even from the outside!

It’s still hard to get to the bottom of things…

When we look at the fields in which the employee experience begins, we find onboarding, measuring job satisfaction and coaching managers. Logical for onboarding which is the first key moment for the employee (but seeing the candidate experience arriving at the bottom of the ranking makes me say that before onboarding one should recruit in the first place). Measuring satisfaction…surprising that we’re talking about measuring it and not improving it. As for management, it is an essential point of contact between the employee and the company. I am still surprised by the scope of the subjects. For my part, one of the first projects (after onboarding) was the simplification of the organisation (a major point of friction) and putting management back at the service of the employee and the transformation of the organisation.

But let’s not deny our pleasure, at least things are progressing and the practice will get richer with time in my opinion. And the results look good because 84% are satisfied. Obviously, on the other hand, things are not going so well in large companies because of the cumbersome organization that prevents things from moving forward. Let’s get one thing straight: our organizations were built to protect their own stability and reject any external virus. We can’t count on them to change things because they were designed to protect the company from change.

As one of my masters of thought said, I named the late Eliyahu M. GoldrattWe should not expect an application to work in an environment where its assumptions are not valid“. I have often used this quote to explain the failure to transform organizations by the mere implementation of new technology, but it works for any new concept. The guiding principles of employee experience provoke an immune reaction in the organization. Period.

Which brings me back to my point about simplifying the organisation. Simplifying the organisation, processes and tools rationalisation must be a priority because it is one of the main factors of a bad experience and because it then prevents the rest from being transformed. Transforming the organization to transform the rest: one action, two benefits. QED.

The employee experience is a company project, not a simple HR program.

In fact, when you look at the main success factors there is the leadership drive, the involvement of managers and the culture of change in the company. Regarding the involvement of the leadership it is obvious because it is a matter of organizational performance. For managers it is also obvious as long as the support/meaning duo is handled well. And for the culture, precisely, it comes down to simplifying the organization and putting managers back at the service of the employee and change instead of using them as a control and reporting tool and wasting their energy unnecessarily. As far as the obstacles are concerned, there is a lack of all that. It makes sense.

Interesting: Only 3 out of 10 companies are accompanied. Is it the acknowledgement that it is too important to entrust it to others? On the contrary, is it not important enough to invest? Is it the lack of a readable offer on the market? We won’t know.

However, I am reassured to see that 28% of these companies are accompanied by an HR consulting firm. 8% by an HR marketing agency and 2% by a communications agency: at least this proves that these companies have understood that this was not an issue of appearance. As for the 36% that use a consultant, since we don’t know a consultant in which field I can’t give an opinion. For my part, my first choice would be a management and organisation consultancy and my second would be an HR consultancy to the exclusion of all other possibilities.

En tout cas merci à Thomas Chardin et son équipe pour ce travail très instructif. L’occasion de refaire une interview croisée ? Je vois d’ailleurs que les résultats de cette étude montrent une maturité accrue dans la lignée de notre échange de l’an dernier.

In any case, thanks to Thomas Chardin and his team for this very instructive work.

Photo : Expérience employé by kentoh via Shutterstock

expérience employé, Management, marque-employeur, organisation, Ressources Humaines

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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