Being aware of the importance of the employee experience and the number of problems it addresses is all well and good, but in an ideal world we should never have to worry about it.
As I said before employee experience is the word we’ve come up with today for problems that we haven’t solved in 20 years or more. We change the name, we add new technologies that won’t change anything as long as the approach doesn’t change and new methodological concepts that can hit the nail on the head if people’s minds are ready, but basically we keep talking about the same problems that have the same causes.
If we talk about employee experience today, it is because businesses have reached such a level of complication that their entire performance is affected. It is because we have deployed tools, collaborative or not, with the objective of using them and not to work differently, by bringing old habits into new tools. It’s because the manager doesn’t manage. It’s because the employees are lost in their journey within the company. It’s because the experience of mobile or remote work is too degraded, which has proved critical during the lockdown. It is because we have forgotten who the real customers of the company’s processes are. It’s because we associate the customer word with service and we associate the words constraints and control with the employees who take care of the customer. It’s because we carry out projects where the professions don’t talk to each other. And I could go on and on.
Employee experience, a new word for old problems
But all this is measured. Each of these problems materializes in existing indicators! Customer satisfaction, productivity, tool adoption, turnover, engagement, project profitability… There are dozens of indicators that send back more or less worrying messages and this for a long time.
There are three things that make us talk about employee experience:
- the fact that these indicators have been wrong for a long time (or at least unsatisfactory) and that a new angle must be found to look at them or talk about them.
- the fact that naming things differently makes it seem like there are new problems and makes you forget that you have failed to deal with the old ones.
- the fact that it may take a cross-cutting initiative to address the problems they report because the root causes are sometimes common to several and often intertwined.
But if the root causes had been addressed from the beginning, there would be no reason to talk about employee experience today. But instead of dealing with them, we have added imperfect mechanisms to other imperfect mechanisms, which leads me to say that the real problem behind employee experience is definitely complication.
The employee experience: a great job with an annoying reason for being
Which leads me to say that the issue of measuring employee experience should not be a concern either. The indicators already exist, they just have a different name and that makes sense. They are operational and are therefore much less biased than barometers that are just feelings and do not tell anything other than operational business indicators. They just say it differently.
Customer satisfaction, employee engagement, number of hours spent in sterile meetings, time needed to execute a process or make a decision, time wasted searching for information, adoption rate of certain tools, turnover, individual and collective productivity, margin… these are just a few examples of indicators used at a given time to plot something, to measure the success of a program and which are only the root causes of a degraded employee experience.
You do not need to measure your employee experience. You already have all the indicators that tell you in advance if it is going in the right direction or if it is going to get worse. They are just “elsewhere”, anchored in the daily management of many things on the field.
We should not have to deal with employee experience in 2020 because it has been years since the issue should have been heard and dealt with but unfortunately we have to. Doing it is an exciting job but it’s a bit like being a doctor, it’s the raison d’être of the job which can be desperate because as in medicine we can like to heal people while telling ourselves that a world without disease would still be preferable.