Quantifying the unquantifiable: Employee experience
How high is ‘Employee Experience’ prioritized in your company? Is your approach really on track? If the answer to the first question is debatable, think again.
A study by Gallup states that of the 3.36 billion people in the world’s adult workforce, only 1.4 billion have a ‘good’ job, and just 16% of those are engaged. Are you certain your company stands on the right side of these figures?
The importance of having a happy, motivated workforce that feels inclusive and valued is significant both to the well-being of an organization and its ability to achieve its objectives. Organizations attempt to execute ideas in this space in the hope of improving employee morale and hence engagement and productivity. While there is an uptick in the adoption of such measures, both the level of adoption and the effectiveness of their current form leaves much to be desired.
Organizations are increasingly undertaking more initiatives but failing to make an impact.
According to a study by Quantum, there has been a steady increase in employees experiencing that their immediate managers care about their career development. The ascend is gradual but has seen steady improvement from 2010 to 2017. However, when it comes to the organization on a whole, the same respondents rate them being able to see a clear path or opportunities at their workplaces, much lower. Worse, the gap in percentage points between these two items has increased from 9% to 12% in the same seven-year period.
In terms of types of engagement initiatives being taken, many come across as lacking understanding and depth. Take for instance the way millennials are treated. In trying to relate with them and provide the energy, vibe, and openness they seek, measures like offices painted in vibrant colours, free food, open desk allocation, meeting rooms with bean bags, and game rooms are increasingly seen at workplaces. These measures help, but the energy and vibe aren’t things that can simply be painted on. Unfortunately, most organizations still miss out on simultaneously addressing millennials’ more pressing needs. Let’s look at what those needs are and how you can achieve them.
Where you must focus and what you must do
In 2016, millennials became the largest chunk of the world’s workforce. Often seen as a generation quick to pack their bags and jump on to the next gig, a Bridge survey shows that robust career training and development opportunities would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current positions. Furthermore, a staggering 90% of millennials want to grow their careers with their current companies and 56% of millennials believe that an individual should stay at a single company for more than 20 years – A period considered extreme even by Gen X’s standards.
While figures may vary, the same factors are noticed over and over across employee generational profiles - second to pay, the top factors for attrition seen worldwide across age groups are limited career paths (43%) and lack of challenging work (30%).
Wondering how you can achieve a robust employee experience and engagement plan? Centered on the prime motivating factors of career development, training and leadership opportunities, here are a few ways:
- Starting strong is the key: 53% of HR professionals say employee engagement rises when onboarding is improved. Other than welcoming new hires with warmth to make it easier for them to integrate, the onboarding phase is the right time to show new hires clarity – Both about organizational goals and their specific role in it. The more the clarity that can be provided at this stage, clear description of the job profile, what to expect on a typical day, which team members, they can fall back on and who depends on them, the less the feeling of obfuscation and angst that employees are likely to feel and how quickly they are enabled to contribute and feel engaged.
- Continue to keep your foot on the pedal: The early advantages that you set up for your organization by right onboarding can easily stagnate. Studies show that engagement drops quickly after the first year at a new organization. While 82.3% of employees are engaged in their inaugural year, that number drops to 74.8% in year two. Yet employees who continue to showcase their strengths, skills, and abilities every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive, and 15% less likely to leave their jobs. Employers must therefore continually provide opportunities for staff to step up to challenges and empower them to meet these challenges.
- Provide short-term feedback and long-term career development: Providing opportunities to meet challenges and empowering staff must go hand-in-hand with enabling them to perform. Where prompt and regular feedback helps employees achieve and improve performance on short-term goals, grooming and leadership development helps them work towards their long-term career goals. Training and mentorship for the latter is critical to continue to support employees and make them feel befriended, rather than left alone to figure things out on their own.
Above all, crafting a successful, working and effective employee engagement plan isn’t merely about keeping the employee engaged. You as the employer must remain continually engaged and invested closely through their journey for any plan to materialise.