Next in EX: Enabling employee empowerment and voice (ebook excerpt)

Enabling Employee Empowerment Ebook Excerpt
This is the fourth part of a series about the future of employee experience (EX). For the full picture, get your free copy of Next in EX: Trends shaping employee experience
Employees expect to be heard. To empower and engage them, organizations are turning to unified employee experience (EX) platforms that enable them to seamlessly solicit feedback, measure sentiment and elevate internal voices.  

As the global communications firm Edelman found in a recent study, sometime during the pandemic a shift occurred — soliciting regular employee input and feedback became an expected norm. “The next wave of companies and senior communicators to watch will be those that actively listen to their employees, harness the power of their sentiments and insights, transparently communicate next steps, and drive meaningful change while involving others in the journey,” writes Edelman’s Julia Christenson.

The modern workplace has multiple channels and methods that make it easy for employees to share feedback and employers to gather insights and take action based on what they learn.

For forward-thinking HR leaders, an AI-powered EX platform is the best solution to activate employees.

How to enable employee empowerment and voice

Related: Next in EX — Investing in ‘AI for good’

Activate employees and democratize EX

In the past, many leaders turned to a “growth through hiring” strategy, but that approach will no longer work in our current labor market, says Josh Bersin, Founder and CEO of the Josh Bersin Company. He forecasts a shift from traditional employee engagement to a new concept of “employee activation” — defined as “a whole new world of employee listening and action-taking based on feedback.”

Kathi Enderis, a global analyst at The Josh Bersin Company, explains that this shift involves:

  • Empowering employees to share their ideas, obstacles and suggestions
  • Enabling stakeholders to uncover insights, localize problem-solving, and take meaningful action

“This approach fosters a culture of transparency, trust and inclusion, where employees feel empowered to share their ideas and feedback, and where this input is valued and acted upon.”

Employee experience - statistics on satisfaction and productivity when organizations effectively activate their employees

[Source: Medallia]

Consider these actions to activate your employees:

  • Amplify employee voices: Encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback continuously. This can be done through always-on listening methods like surveys, town halls and roundtables.
  • Democratize action: Enable all employees to take action to solve problems. This can be achieved through role-based dashboards with real-time insights, AI-powered suggested actions, and collaborative workflows.
  • Promote transparency and trust: Foster a culture of transparency and trust where employees feel safe to share their ideas and feedback.
  • Level up technology: Use technology to uncover patterns and trends, and to facilitate open dialogue and collaboration.

Related: Next in EX: Prioritizing employee experience —  no matter how or where employees work

Democratizing the employee experience

To Miriam Connaughton, Simpplr’s Chief People & Experience Officer, enabling employee empowerment and voice is closely tied to democratizing the employee experience. “We need to make EX something that is a participatory activity for everyone,” she says. “It’s not something that’s ‘done to’ — it’s something we ‘do together.’”

Here’s another area where the right EX platform can make a difference by enabling employees to:

  • More easily connect with each other and the organization
  • Find greater purpose in their work by understanding how it fits into the bigger organizational picture
  • Share their ideas and feedback
  • Easily create content to influence target outcomes and enhance culture — and see how others engage with it
In this new environment, the people leader’s responsibility transcends simply listening.

It’s now imperative to facilitate a more seamless two-way conversation and co-create solutions based on what we learn from employees.

Related: Leveraging EX tech to cultivate a more supportive workplace

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Optimize feedback and take action

Employees want to feel heard and believe their ideas matter, which means investing in both passive and active listening, offering ongoing feedback, and acting on what you learn can elevate the employee experience.

Moving forward, the most effective approach might rely on a combination of advanced technology and upskilled people leaders.

The right tech

Today, many organizations have a more holistic listening strategy, and solutions exist so we can set up evergreen feedback systems to collect ideas and input from employees year-round. This set-up allows you to get real-time reactions to announcements and drill down to different employee segments to see if they require specific follow-up actions before issues arise.

“It’s the ability to have more foresight rather than hindsight,” Miriam says.

Having an array of feedback mechanisms for targeted events, all delivered within one platform, makes it easy for employees to either react “in the moment” or provide more considered feedback in response to a survey prompt.

The right EX platform can capture rich feedback through a variety of employee survey types, gauge sentiment through AI-powered passive listening, and recommend actions to increase employee satisfaction. This technology can enhance and streamline people leaders’ ability to listen, ask and act — even when their teams are dispersed.

Related: The importance of an employee listening strategy

The right manager

Managers who understand how to give consistent, meaningful feedback are proven to improve employee satisfaction, engagement and performance.

Employee experience - statistics showing how employees respond to meaningful feedback and how their work is impacted

[Source: Gallup]

For busy people managers, Gallup recommends the “Fast Feedback” approach — giving specific, individualized feedback quickly and frequently: “Managers who continually listen, ask questions, gain context and promote dialogue have progressed to a coaching mindset. These best-in-class managers use ongoing conversations to deliver energizing feedback that celebrates successes and calibrates performance.”

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Encourage more leadership transparency and communication

At a time when remote work is more common than not, change is the only constant, and retaining talent is a top priority, transparent leadership is key to a stellar employee experience. Leaders who are transparent lead the way for stronger teams, resilient cultures and ongoing success.

Transparent leadership builds trust — and trust is currency in organizations.

Openness, honesty and authentic communication foster a workplace where trust thrives, innovation flourishes, and collective goals are genuinely understood and embraced. This starts at the top with leaders who explain the why behind decisions and information, embrace employee feedback, and prioritize getting their team on the same page.

Employee experience - statistic showing the percentage of employees who trust their company's CEO to do what's right

[Source: Edelman]

The Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust is one of the main factors influencing employee engagement and loyalty. Unfortunately, the latest survey found that one in three employees don’t trust their organization’s leader. Among those who do, they are more likely to advocate for the organization, stay loyal to the company, and be engaged in their work.

Strategies to improve leadership transparency and communication

  • Establish open and clear communication channels between leadership and employees.
  • Outline the decision-making processes and criteria for major organizational decisions.
  • Explain the rationale behind choices rather than expect employees to automatically fall in line.
  • Break down high-level strategies into tangible actions employees can understand.
  • Highlight the importance of transparency and train leaders on clear communication.
  • Create a positive and motivating work environment by consistently acknowledging employees for their strong performance and demonstration of company values. This shows you value and trust them — and trust begets trust.

The right EX platform can facilitate and streamline strategies that build the trust that underpins a positive employee experience.

Related: Tips for building trust in the workplace

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How Simpplr can help

In addition to built-on tools like Rewards & Recognition and an intuitive user interface that enables leadership content in a variety of formats to engage employees, Simpplr’s AI-powered employee experience platform helps ensure that personalized employee communication from leadership reaches the right employees in the right channels at the right time.

From one unified platform, you can control and manage cross-channel messaging via SMS, desktop, mobile, newsletters, displays and beyond. And the ability to track analytics across multiple channels and devices with in-app analytics streamlines the process of monitoring and optimizing a leadership comms strategy.

With Simpplr’s multi-channel communication capabilities, you can:

  • Reach specific groups of employees on their channel of choice (web, mobile, SMS, chat, digital display) wherever they work
  • Reach employees at scale with SMS and push notifications: Effectively send and track critical information and “must reads” to every employee, from desk-based to remote and deskless workers
  • Build out new channel integrations with Simpplr’s API: Increase deliverability beyond mobile and desktop, such as kiosks, conference rooms, displays and more
  • Amplify newsworthy announcements through employees’ social networks: Turn employees into brand advocates using Social Campaigns

Employee experience - screenshot of Simpplr mobile intranet employee newsletter

Ready to elevate the employee experience?

Organizations cannot improve employee experience without an essential piece of the puzzle — input from their workforce. Elevating EX hinges on leveraging technology that activates employees and democratizes their experience, empowers people leaders to execute a holistic listening strategy and then take action, and makes leadership communication more seamless and engaging.

Simpplr’s AI-powered employee experience platform goes beyond just an intranet. It will help you deliver an amazing employee experience and reduce HR helpdesk tickets by giving your employees everything they need to do their best work.

Simpplr is the only platform that unifies employee engagement, enablement and services, leveraging state-of-the-art AI models to deliver a seamless, cohesive and personalized employee experience.

Request a demo today!

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