Engagement is the outcome, not the starting point
Everyone has, at some point in their professional lives, filled out an annual employee engagement survey. Surveys measure employee engagement, usually leading to hurriedly developed, short-lived initiatives that often fall short of meeting employee and corporate expectations.
The truth is that these scattered initiatives lack a holistic view of the employee’s day-to-day experience. We see companies listening to the echo (i.e. focusing on engagement) rather than starting at the source: employee feedback.
Our clients often assume that if they increase employee engagement, they will increase productivity and financial growth. And that’s mostly true.
But we also see HR teams struggling to implement human-centric, strategic and purposeful HR strategies, and it’s likely because they are looking in the wrong place. Engagement is the outcome, not the starting point.
Employee experience (EX) is the key: If you focus on employee experience, employee engagement is bound to happen. Focus on employee engagement alone, and you’ll come up short.
Evolving employee expectations
The employee experience encompasses each individual’s day-to-day reality and interactions with the organization and colleagues. “Employee” spans diverse HR stakeholders: candidates, employees, leaders and even alumni.
To attract, engage, develop and retain necessary talent, companies must deliver the right employee experience, one that feels personal, relevant and responsive to individual needs.
Today, this requires providing a technological component that empowers employees to collaborate and innovate. Equally important is the sociocultural experience you create to give employees a sense of purpose and shared values with the organization.
While individuals have always had high expectations of their employers, the nature of those expectations is now shifting, influenced by consumer interactions with brands. Failing to meet these expectations might result in significant dissatisfaction, turnover and talent attraction challenges.
Organizations need to design employee experiences that fit evolving needs, starting with the recruitment of talent and continuing through their journey to become longer-term employees (learning and development, performance management, rewards and recognition, etc.). Existing employees also need to be engaged or reengaged.
Through almost a decade of research and more than two million evaluations across multiple markets, KPMG’s Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence Centre has identified six fundamental components of an optimal experience:
What about the organizations in Luxembourg? KPMG’s financial sector remuneration survey shows that only 13 percent of participating companies assess employee experience, despite the clear connection between employee experience, customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
Where insight meets design thinking
For most organizations, (re)designing the employee experience requires a shift in mindset and deep cultural changes, recognizing that today’s employees think and act like consumers and want to be treated like “internal clients.” This means that the HR team needs to view employees through the same lens that client facing teams use with their customers, applying the same engagement strategies to boost attraction, motivation and retention.
Through hands-on experience with a variety of clients, we understand the challenges that employers are facing, and we know how to begin this transformation journey:
What causes pain?
You see engagement scores declining, but your annual survey does not indicate where the experience begins to deteriorate or what to mitigate against. Unlike traditional approaches, focusing on employee experience requires you to genuinely empathize with the workforce to understand where the relationship between expectation and experience breaks down.
What sparks joy?
Recognizing pain points is important, but so is knowing what employees enjoy. This level of understanding enables HR to respond appropriately to factors that may seem disconnected.
Time to reflect
There is power in reflection, yet many do not create the space to do so. HR needs to facilitate introspective conversations with leadership to align business objectives and the people agenda.
Key questions to ask yourself
- What do employees expect from their experience at our company?
- What experience do we provide today?