Employee Experience: Why It Matters and How to Measure It
Discover what employee experience is, why it matters, and how you can measure it with this quick guide.
Nearly every day, new reports come out shedding light on the current turbulent business environment. Many employers have begun reassessing their retention strategies by taking a closer look at their current management strategies, compensation packages, and any of the other elements that inform how employees feel and think about their jobs.
You may be familiar with the burgeoning field of customer experience (CX) as a way for businesses to consistently measure and improve their customer perceptions and outcomes. But are you thinking of your employees and their experiences in similarly strategic ways? Employee experience (EX) takes the same principles but turns them inward to give you a framework for improving your approach to employee retention and engagement.
To help your business retain, engage, and connect with employees, this article will answer a few essential questions about EX, including:
- What is employee experience?
- Why does employee experience matter?
- How do you measure employee experience?
- How do you maximize the impact of your EX program?
What is employee experience?
Similar to customer experience, the employee experience you offer encompasses all of the ways that your employees operate and feel in their work environment.
More specifically, EX is shaped by the day-to-day experiences employees have with your business, the qualities of your workplace culture, and your company’s goals and priorities. These three components are interwoven, and your changes to one will likely impact the others.
For example, a business may have noticed a high rate of absenteeism (employee experiences), and their employees are polite to one another but seem disinterested in socialization (workplace culture). Subsequently, this business has trouble hitting its productivity goals. By making a change, such as promoting a workplace culture of teamwork and camaraderie, this business is likely to then see lower absentee employees, leading to better productivity.
To understand your employees’ experience, consider creating an intentional EX program. These programs allow businesses to identify issues, show greater empathy to employee pain points, create touchpoints to collect feedback, study and make changes on that feedback, and drive feedback loops to make continuous strategic improvements that will provide a more frictionless employee experience.
Why does employee experience matter?
Successful organizations today already think carefully about their employees’ journeys, as well as their business’s overall management practices, commitment to DEI, compliance, and communication strategies. However, with all of these factors to consider, many organizations may not approach EX with the necessary cohesive framework, or they may lack the tools to measure its improvement over time.
A standardized approach to EX gives you the structure you need to actively study and manage employee trends in a continuous and quantifiable manner.
No to mention, your EX strategy can also strengthen your bottom line over time. Combatting employee disengagement isn’t just a matter of getting employees to care a bit more about their work. Rather, disengaged teams have been shown to cost businesses up to $2,246 in losses per employee. This means even a few uninvested employees can wrack up significant costs for your business, making facilitating a positive employee experience a high priority.
With the backing of strong internal management practices and a clear cultural vision, an effective EX program can lead to improved employee engagement and retention. Businesses with happy, engaged, and retained employees have an invaluable asset for building a positive brand image and driving results.
How do you measure employee experience?
While EX consists of many subjective and complex factors, such as employee happiness and commitment, it is a measurable process.
Your EX program’s primary purpose is to collect data and measurements that allow you to understand perceptions and experiences that you previously had little or uninformed insight into. These programs rely on gathering data through employee feedback. Doing so continuously at strategic touchpoints can provide the information needed at the scale necessary to draw meaningful insights, leading to informed improvement over time.
For most businesses, the EX process will consist of a cycle with four core steps:
- Identify specific points in the employee journey that could be better understood, improved, or made easier.
- Implement a feedback collection process using surveys.
- Study the feedback to identify trends and make correlations. Then, act on this information and communicate the actions you’re taking to employees.
- Keep the process running in a feedback loop to continue driving improvements and learning more about your performance.
This process allows businesses to identify both current and future employee needs and make targeted, data-driven decisions to address them even as they change over time. Dedicated EX software can help you set up and facilitate your feedback collection process with surveys that can be sent manually or automatically in response to certain actions, such as completing new employee onboarding.
How do you maximize the impact of your EX program?
Your EX program’s effectiveness will depend on several factors, including your ability to measure results and employee participation, and a commitment to implementing recommended improvements.
Understand what you want to learn
To understand the current state of EX at your organization and how you can improve it, start by determining what key performance indicators will be the most relevant. For example, an organization interested in improving retention would send out surveys asking about employee satisfaction at key points such as after training, the first six months, performance reviews, and other significant moments.
Essentially, EX allows you to learn the why behind key metrics such as productivity, retention, and employee satisfaction. Determine which of these metrics is currently the most important to your business, then tailor your EX surveys to gain feedback to provide insight into why employees feel or act the way they do.
One important but often overlooked metric is employee net promoter score (eNPS). eNPS tells organizations how many of their employees actively believe in your organization and are committed to it long-term. When collected regularly, eNPS feedback can be an extremely valuable diagnostic metric to point you toward problem areas or practices that are currently negatively impacting the employee experience.
While there are some metrics like eNPS you can get specific quantifiable data from, in many cases, it can be necessary to rely on qualitative data. If you do collect qualitative data, put a plan in place for how to review and sort it, and what EX tools you will use to conduct sentiment analysis.
Follow survey creation and implementation best practices
EX software can help you create and distribute surveys to your employees, but to get useful results, you will need to attain employee buy-in. Here are a few strategies that can help you get more and better responses from your employees:
- Define your goals and purpose. At the top of your survey, let your employees know why they are filling out a survey and what the intended outcomes of it will be. When they know how their answers will be used, employees will be more inclined to participate and provide effective responses.
- Keep surveys short. Long surveys may provide your business with more information, but ultimately they can lead to less detailed answers and a lower response rate. Additionally, long surveys may take up time that employees would rather spend on their primary tasks. Keep your surveys to the point by asking only a few targeted questions at a time.
- Ensure anonymity. Anonymity is essential for gaining accurate data from employees. Communicate to your employees that surveys will be anonymous and that choosing to make the surveys anonymous is a conscious decision as your business values honest feedback. Use dedicated EX software and vendors that will allow you to anonymize responses.
When sending out surveys, you may need to take other factors into account, as well. How accessible are your surveys? When are employees expected to complete their surveys? Do you intend to survey all of your employees at the same time or in targeted sample groups? Ensure you have answers to questions like these before distributing your surveys to make the process as thorough and organized as possible.
Use your findings to create a cohesive picture of the employee journey
Similar to customer journey mapping, your findings shouldn’t be siloed in isolation but rather actively used across the business to make improvements and improve communication with employees.
Taken together, your EX data across various stages of the employee journey can paint a complete picture that you can continually refine and explore with more feedback collection.
Try collecting targeted feedback during specific stages of your relationships with employees, such as after the hiring and background check process or during employee onboarding and training. Additionally, consider how you can add context to your surveys, such as comparing new and senior employees’ perspectives.
Prioritize employee experience
Employees who enjoy going into work and are committed to your business are an asset to your organization that you can rely on. Ensure your business is cultivating a positive workplace experience for your employees by implementing EX best practices and taking active steps to measure and implement results.