Year after year, employee experience surveys point to employees being “not so in love” and not so engaged with their work. 2020 was an especially difficult year! With the fear, uncertainty, and additional pressures on work and home brought on by COVID-19, workplace culture and the overall employee experience are bound to suffer.
A SHRM study found two out of three companies reported keeping employee morale up to be difficult during the pandemic, and one-third said maintaining company culture was a challenge.
We define employee engagement in terms of the emotional commitment to show up, go above and beyond, and thrive at work. There is no coincidence that happy humans at work who also have great direction and accountability, are more productive.
The forces of ruin
When it comes to employee experience surveys, many employers are either asking the wrong questions, or they are not understanding answers in a way that enables them to take the right actions.
There are 4 key influencers of the employee experience:
1. My job itself
2. My relationship with my direct supervisor
3. My relationship my team
4. My perception of the organization
Understanding employee experience requires pulsing the sentiment of employees regarding these 4 key influencers. It also requires digging into detractors in each area and looking for common themes, or “hot spots”.
If you are seeking to understand employee experience, here are some considerations:
· The human experience is in the eye of the beholder.
Truly seek the perspective of your employees. That requires us to avoid human nature, which may look like – explaining away low scores, making assumptions without seeking to understand, or believing that our employees have false expectations. If they do have unreasonable expectations, that’s kind of on us as leaders to ask questions and talk through it together.
· Take action.
The worst possible thing you can do is ask your employees for feedback and do nothing. Be prepared to take timely action.
· Validate that you heard your employees.
There is something magical about being heard. Summarize findings, identify themes, and report back to the entire company quickly. The message should be, “your feedback is important, we heard you, these are the most common themes and our “hot spots”, and we are going to come back to you with action plans by (date).”
· You don’t have to do all the things.
Set the expectation that you are utilizing a tool that allows you to identify themes and prioritize action quickly. Having a “heat map” to understand common themes and areas where you can make the greatest impact on the employee experience collectively is critical to simplifying an executable action plan.
· Empower leaders at all levels to own their influence.
HR does not corner the market on the employee experience. While HR leaders are great resources (as the title indicates), leaders at all levels should be creating and taking ownership of action among their teams. If your leaders are not so skilled in influence, teach them…or call us, and we’ll teach them. :)