What Is employee experience management?
The employee experience can be defined as the result of the employee’s interactions with an organization forming attitudes and perceptions of the organization. This means that any point of contact (touchpoint) the employee has with the organization – from the moment they interview for a job to when they exit – shapes their experience.
Employee experience management is the deliberate influence over the employee touchpoints to improve their experience. In turn, the organization gains back in improved day-to-day productivity, lower overall employee costs, and a cohesive team to see the company vision through.
Along with increasing investments in other aspects of Employee Experience (EX), like technology and training, Employee Experience Management (EXM) has received serious thought from decision-makers. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an employee experience manager is about $81k/yr. This comes with almost $20k in additional pay per year, demonstrating its relative value to an organization.
How does employee experience management work?
EXM aims to create a positive, engaging, and supportive work environment for employees and to improve retention, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. As this requires a combination of skills across HR, IT, and Comms, some organizations take the decentralized approach to employee experience management.
Either way, employee experience management works the same way, and there are steps involved. The procedure is based on the three critical elements of the work environment outlined by Jacob Morgan, a leading author on employee experience.
The elements are—culture, physical environment, and technology.
Establishing the organization’s culture
The organization’s culture affects the employee experience by upholding their values or giving them new values. Therefore, it is vital to establish a culture that reflects your internal values as well as your industry. The norms should be designed with the potential employee in mind.
Organizations don’t always make deliberate efforts to establish their cultures. But culture abhors a vacuum and will grow wild if it is not controlled.
Employee experience management takes stock of the culture and intentionally shapes it to attract, retain, and engage the kind of employee the organization needs.
Creating a conducive physical work environment
The physical work environment includes the employee’s physical exposure (ergonomics), atmosphere, lighting and heating, and tools. The physical environment should be tailored to the employee as it is also an essential tool for their work.
Employee experience management provides a conducive environment by ensuring that all an employee needs to have a positive work experience. This includes accommodating changing employee expectations, such as the freedom to work from anywhere.
Installing the necessary technologies to improve performance
Employees must be provided with the right technological solutions because they need them or because they make their work more accessible—and in the best of both worlds, they do both! This means there is a genuine urgency to install solutions that suddenly become necessary for a job. It should be the same urgency one feels when updating outdated systems.
Employee experience management makes sure this is done. It looks into details such as how usable the solution is, how modern, and even how attractive it is because these are all factors that contribute to the overall employee experience.
The impact of employee experience management
As mentioned earlier, employee experience impacts three main areas: Productivity, employee costs and culture, and mission accomplishment. There are many reasons why organizations should make deliberate efforts to influence these and other employee touchpoints.
Employee experience management sets the course of the employee experience and ensures it aligns with the organization’s goals. However, like any other program, EX must remain feasible for the company to succeed in the long term. Thus, EXM is intended to bring balance to the equation by ensuring visibility into the processes and culture that underlie the entire organization.
EXM guides other departments as they implement EX solutions. Employee experience management gives the organization a sense of direction by communicating consistently with every department about what is expected of them and holding everyone accountable. This leads to better use of resources and an efficient and somewhat predictable work culture.
This predictability is important, as it creates a level of comfort where employees feel safe to explore and bring new and innovative ideas to the table. It makes boundaries that help them set strategies and implement them. And it ensures that all stakeholders understand their roles in accomplishing these goals, leading to organization-wide growth and development.
EXM is also responsible for measuring the progress of EX in the organization so it can be improved. It is the role of EXM to monitor the organization’s direction by conducting regular audits and reviews of its own performance. This can be done by directly asking employees or analyzing data collected by AI-powered employee experience tools.
How to improve employee experience management
The first step to improving employee experience management is creating trust in the workplace with the employees. If your organization is a beginner in the employee experience management journey, the program’s success depends on your employees’ confidence.
While the initiative may not be met with open skepticism, getting everyone on board could be a challenge, as it is with any change management initiative. Employees may not be willing to abandon their old ways of accomplishing tasks, or they may need to be better informed about the purpose and advantages of the new systems. Regardless of why the discomfort exists, it’s crucial to find ways to get buy-in from the employees first.
And you should seek feedback as your EXM initiatives are implemented to see how employees respond to it. Employee feedback can be solicited, unsolicited, or even anonymously gathered. Internal communication channels should be open and advanced to encourage employees to express themselves.
New EX initiatives should be implemented in a similar procedure: After gaining trust and obtaining buy-in from the employees, you should review the initiative regularly and improve it based on what the data suggests.
Thanks to advances in technology, plenty of employee experience management software options are available to help you improve. It makes work easier by automating previously manual tasks like feedback gathering and brings new capabilities such as AI-powered people analytics and NLP-based sentiment analysis. This enhances the quality and quantity of employee experience insights.
Finally, to improve employee experience management, consider hiring an EXM manager. If you want to have a centralized EXM program, a manager can set and oversee the accomplishment of your goals. However, some organizations may prefer to have a decentralized EXM driven by decision-makers from Comms, HR, and IT. This is possible as long as each understands their contribution and responsibilities.
The employee experience manager role
The employee experience manager is charged with leading the department and overseeing the accomplishment of its goals. The ability to interpret data points into information pieces, inspire people, and feel empathy are all valuable skills for this position.
The role focuses on the employee’s life cycle from attraction through retention. The employee experience manager must have a proper understanding of the process to ensure that every stage reflects the best work environment for the employee.
To attract talent, the manager aims to provide a strong employee experience to the existing workforce. Through word of mouth, reviews on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale, and other channels, the organization’s awareness and reputation grow.
During recruitment, the employee experience manager screens candidates to ensure that only those who fit the culture get through. This not only improves employee satisfaction but also upholds the existing culture.
The role gets more involved as the employee goes through orientation and development through training. For the successful employee experience manager, the tenure of the employee more often culminates in retention rather than exit.
The manager aims to cultivate a healthy relationship between the employees and their employers. Therefore, they act as moderators during disputes and leverage different occasions to strengthen interpersonal relationships.
The manager is also primarily involved in the feedback system. Research has shown that employees are more engaged when an effective feedback system is in place to help them improve. The employee experience manager ensures that as much as the organization is seeking feedback from employees on its performance, the employee is also being reviewed and held accountable.
Employee experience management software
Technology is an integral part of employee experience management. Without the right technology, employees do their jobs with difficulty, and productivity takes a hit. In addition, technology improves the communication, knowledge management, and collaboration aspects of the employee experience.
There are many tools built for each category. For example, communication software includes email, SMS, and IM. The tools must be carefully selected to ensure they enhance the employee experience. They should have an intuitive user interface that doesn’t require training to understand and use. They should also allow integrations with other software and be affordable in the long term.
Knowledge management software includes content repositories where employees can find all sorts of relevant information. But, again, for the sake of a great employee experience, organizations should be more demanding of their knowledge management systems. Above everything, the database should be easily searchable and deliver personalized results for every employee.
Like the other two aspects, employee workplace collaboration has evolved. As a result, collaboration tools must handle the workforce’s diverse needs, including workplace flexibility, workflow automation, task management, file sharing, advanced storage and accessibility, and reporting.
The intranet is the epitome of modern employee experience management. Not only does it bring all EXM software together, but it is also designed with native abilities that cannot be easily replicated in a decentralized system.
Steps for successful deployment
Successful deployment of employee experience management doesn’t stop at launching the different tools and systems but continues through to employee adoption. It goes even further, though—to track usage and ongoing improvements based on new discoveries.
It’s a step-by-step process.
Step 1. Establish employee experience metrics
The first step is defining employee experience and establishing the metrics for measuring it. Job satisfaction should be at the top of the list. In addition, the day-to-day productivity and periodic performance assessments can be indicators of the quality of the employee experience.
Other measures include health and wellness, rate of retention, employee engagement, absenteeism, Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), employee ratings, and customer experience—which is a reflection of employee satisfaction.
Step 2. Determine the level of employee experience
Using the established metrics, the second step determines the current levels of employee experience and whether or not they are adequate. How do you know? Having a mindset geared toward continuous improvement makes sense here, so numbers should consistently track upward. You can use a couple of strategies to monitor these metrics, including surveys, interviews, and eNPS, as well as analyzing reviews and ratings on external sites. It’s also helpful to have sentiment analysis options baked in, and this is something you’ll find with top employee experience platforms.
Step 3. Identify opportunities for improvements and course-correct
Trying to determine the level of employee experience will inevitably reveal opportunities for improvement. While some changes may be straightforward to implement, others may require digging into the feedback to find out what is really happening.
Similarly, expect some employees to be more direct than others while encouraging everyone to be open. Finally, be aware of the language employees use to describe their experience and consistently monitor it for shifts.
Step 4. Monitor progress
You need to keep an eye on changes and new initiatives directed toward improving the employee experience. However, you may not always get it right the first time, even when acting on direct feedback. The only way to know is by constantly monitoring progress and trusting your data to direct required strategic shifts.
Step 5. Measure success and continuously improve
With the performance metrics established, you can quickly determine the success of your program with time and keep improving as you learn more.
There are many real-life examples of organizations that are succeeding with their employee experience management. Household names like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook don’t reach that level of success without knowing a thing or two about EX!
In fact, Facebook is so focused on its employees that it developed its internal employee experience platform, Workplace, that it licenses to other organizations that want to improve. There’s a similar case with Apple—it uses Employee Communication kits that it shares with other organizations. Likewise, Microsoft provides SharePoint, a platform organizations can use to build their own IT-configured intranets.
And then we have one from a client of our very own, Datto. A leading provider of cloud-based business solutions, Datto understands the role of technology in the organization, which includes employee experience management.
More importantly, it recognizes management’s role in improving the employee experience, with a Digital Workplace & Intranet Manager position that has helped the company move from 7% adoption of its intranet in 2018 to the current 100% adoption! It all hinges on the employee experience companies create, starting with adopting the proper foundation to power your efforts. We’ve shared insight on how to model your EXM efforts and would be happy to share tips specific to your needs to assist further. Reach out to schedule a demo and learn more!