The anatomy of employee experience and the role of leadership
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Maya Angelou, an American poet, and civil rights activist, famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will also forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”. This quote, although old, holds great relevance in today’s organizational context. The experience that employees derive from their organizations are largely based on how companies make them feel; people might work for a salary or economic realities but ultimately people should feel great about their organizations. Recent research suggests that a 5 unit increase in employee attitude through great employee experience drives .5 unit increase in revenue growth, which shows that softer aspects like feelings and experiences can have a hardcore impact on the business results. Positive employee experiences are also linked with enhanced customer satisfaction because ultimately employees rub off all the good that they experience in their day to day life to their customers.
Workplaces where leaders provide clear direction to their employees about where organization is heading boast of enhanced employee experience and reduced intentions to leave
Anatomy of Employee Experience
How would one know that employees are deriving positive experiences from their workplace; what’s the anatomy of employee experience? The answer lies in the fact that if certain elements are present within the employees in the workplace, it can be said that employees are deriving the positive experience, let’s have a look at those elements:
Belongingness: The feeling of being a part of the team, group or organization. Such employees wear their hearts on the sleeves and take great pride in associating themselves with the organization.
Purpose: It is about clearly understanding why one’s work matters and what is in it for them? It is also about understanding why one needs to go to extra mile.
Achievement: A sense of accomplishment derived from the work that is being done.
Happiness: The pleasant feeling arising in and out of work. Such employees feel happy and motivated to come to work every morning.
Vigour: The presence of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement at work. If employees are not passionate and enthused about their work and workplace, success and sustainability cannot be guaranteed in the long run.
By improving employee experiences, organizations can fetch some serious results, for instance, research by Work trends IBM on executives shows that the top 25% organizations with the highest employee experience resulted in 96% better work performance. At the same time, these organizations also saw a dip in attrition and turnover intentions.
The Role of Leadership
There are many factors which can make or break an employees’ experience and amongst those factors, the role of a leader is pivotal. Leadership can be defined as an ability of leaders to influence a group towards achieving some goals, by using their behaviors, skills, styles, and unique traits. Research suggests that workplaces where leaders provide clear direction to their employees about where the organization is heading, boast of enhanced employee experience. At the same time, when leaders /managers serve and support the team, employees carry more positive experiences. So let’s delve into some of the unique traits and abilities of leaders which can help enhancing employee experience:
Conviction: It is leader’s passion and commitment towards one’s vision.
Character: Consistent demonstration of integrity, honesty respect, and trust.
Care: Concern for the personal and professional well-being of others.
Courage: Willingness to stand up for one’s beliefs, challenges others, admits mistakes, and changes one’s own behavior when necessary.
Composure: Ability to exude appropriate emotional reactions particularly during tough situations
Competence: it is all about being proficient in:
• Hard skills: technical knowledge, functional knowledge or content expertise
• Soft Skills: Interpersonal, communication, team and organization skills
Empowerment: It is a leaders’ responsibility to provide the most compelling and conducive eco-system to the employees which promote and sustains productivity. Apart from granting the state-of -the art infrastructure and perks, leaders should ensure that their employees get freedom, flexibility, and easy mobility. The need is to break away from the realms of bureaucracy and control and emerge as leaders who believe in nurturing and empowering their employees.
Digital Competence: Another aspect which is fast catching up is related to digital disruptions. It is now expected of leaders to be ‘digitally competent’ as it makes them more accountable and transparent. It is important that leaders carefully chalk out their digital strategies and integrate the same seamlessly with their people strategies and practices.
With digitization enveloping every aspect of our life, leaders should also be able to strike a balance between ‘man’, ‘machine’ and ‘money’ to ensure workplace harmony. And it can be done by bringing in greater collaboration among all the three elements. The leader’s attitude and ability to be inclusive will play a decisive role in delivering a great experience. Stephen Covey’s ‘Abundance Mentality’ beautifully captures the attitude that leaders need to have. He writes that “the Abundance Mentality… flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, recognition, profits, and decision-making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.”
This article was curated by Arunima based on a webinar on the same topic