How employee experience management is improving the modern workplace

An image showing three employees chatting.

In January 2023, LinkedIn published the 2023 Jobs on The Rise list, where employee experience managers were listed as a growing role for the first time. Eight months later, there are over 250 jobs listed under this title, indicating an increasing need for providing the best possible experience to employees.

This is because employees across the world are becoming more disengaged at work. A Gallup study found that one in two U.S. employees are open to leaving their organizations. The top reasons for doing so are because they're either unhappy with the engagement and culture of the company or lack of well-being and work-life balance.

To combat this, organizations are now creating dedicated roles to focus on strategizing and implementing initiatives that improve the employee experience. And it falls under the umbrella term “Employee Experience Management.”

What is employee experience management?

Employee experience (EXM) is the approach that an organization takes to provide a positive experience to employees at every stage of their journey. Whether during recruitment or performance reviews, the goal is to create an environment where employees feel safe, engaged, and productive. 

In his book, “The Employee Experience Advantage,” author Jacob Morgan says, “There are a few ways to look at employee experience. The first is through the eyes of the employee, the second is through the eyes of the organization, and the third is the overlap between the two.”

For the people who are a part of the organization, their experience is simply the reality of what it’s like to work there. From the perspective of the organization, employee experience is what is designed and created for the employees.” 

It's a function born out of the human resources (HR) department but combines expertise from other areas like people operations. This helps organizations create a position focused on intangible aspects like well-being and workplace perception—elements that impact talent attraction and employee retention in the long term.

An image showing McKinsey's definition of the EX factor that considers elements like people and relationships, teamwork, social climate, work organization, work control and flexibility, growth and rewards, purpose, technology and physical environment.

Nine elements that organizations should focus on getting right to increase their “EX factor.”

Why has the focus on employee experience risen in popularity in the past few years?

For years, employees have indicated the need for better processes and flexibility in the workplace. Remote work is an excellent example of this.

While most organizations hesitated to implement this model due to objections around productivity and engagement, the pandemic forced them to introduce it. Now, remote work is not a perk but an expectation, and if companies don't offer it, they'll lose out on top talent.

Similarly, organizations that refuse to understand the importance of providing an excellent experience to their employees will lag. A recent Gallup survey found that work-life balance, better benefits packages, and a focus on their core skills are something they would seek in their next job.

An image showing data on the top attributes U.S. employees are seeking in their next job (from Gallup's survey).

Also, today's employees face different challenges altogether compared to previous generations. Some include increased digital transformation, hybrid work policies, and a move to the cloud. This requires them to keep up with the latest trends—but it also creates wide skill gaps. 

In Skillsoft’s 2022 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, 60% of decision makers indicate that there will be skill gaps in the next two years. However, there's no clear answer as to why that's the case. For some, it comes down to an inability to hire or retain the right people because they don't have the right skills or can't upskill in their current roles, respectively. 

The rate at which technology changes and the lack of learning and development programs that keep up with it is rising. All of this ties back to catering to employee needs—irrespective of which stage of the employee journey they're in. 

As McKinsey puts it, the EX factor is a sum of all interactions the employee has. And if any of these elements are lacking, they hamper how employees feel at work and how they perceive the organization.

What are the benefits of investing in employee experience management?

As with any business decision, understanding the outcomes of that investment is key. Here are a few advantages of creating a role specifically for employee experience management:

Improved internal processes

It's common for employees to get stuck due to internal bureaucracy—usually due to inefficient processes with too many bottlenecks. For example, employee exit processes are too complicated with too much manual paperwork and lack of proper feedback processes in place. This is especially true for enterprises with hundreds of employees, where tasks that can be automated but are not, leading to lost productivity. 

As you conduct in-depth audits of these points of friction, you reduce redundancies and bottlenecks that hamper productivity.

For example, instead of creating onboarding programs that require manual paperwork for new hires and excessive involvement of HR employees, use a software platform to simplify it. Automating that process speeds it up and provides a better experience, too.

Higher employee productivity

One of the ways businesses measure the value of their workforce is by observing an employee’s productivity. If your employees are discontent with how the organization functions, they’re more likely to disengage and reduce their involvement at work.

You'll be able to notice this through regular absenteeism, lesser participation, and lower productivity. However, improving the employees' experience makes them more likely to be engaged. Engaged employees automatically become more productive—40% higher, to be precise.

Better talent retention

The costs of employee turnover are multifold. You incur direct costs like recruitment and training costs, while on the other hand, you also bear indirect costs like decreased morale and disjointed workflows. 

If you provide a positive work environment, employees will have a better experience and be more engaged. In high-turnover organizations, this leads to 18% lower turnover rates; in low-turnover organizations, it results in a 43% lower turnover rate.

Enhanced employer branding

Job candidates are becoming more conscious about the types of roles they take up these days. They're looking for more than a paycheck, so they do their due diligence in evaluating potential employers from multiple perspectives, like company culture.

A strong employer brand is non-negotiable if you want to attract the right talent. So, improving EX can improve job satisfaction, turning employees into brand ambassadors and providing positive reviews on channels like Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

Increased cultural cohesiveness

As you improve the EX, a sense of cohesiveness also emerges. Different team members, departments, and leadership come together, making it easier for everyone to feel connected to the organization. 

A cohesive culture also aids in times of change or crisis, as employees are more likely to support and understand strategic shifts or decisions. Incorporating a transparent work culture ensures employees are looped into most decisions and have context for every interaction.

Clear feedback mechanisms

You can offer a positive employee experience only when you get internal feedback. But in most cases, organizations default to sending ill-timed employee surveys that don't ask relevant questions. With EXM, that changes.

You'll be more intentional about the questions you ask and create dedicated programs that facilitate these conversations. It gives your employees a voice. It also lets you create a continuous improvement cycle, enhancing the overall experience.

Are you in need of an employee experience management software that facilitates this process? Try out Poll Everywhere.

5 tips to improve employee experience

Offering a great employee experience requires concerted efforts from stakeholders like leadership, management, and HR/People Operations teams. Here's how you can do that:

1. Create an employee feedback cycle

Traditional feedback tactics rely on intermittent feedback cycles—usually quarterly or annually to gather employee feedback. This approach doesn’t capture the changing perceptions of employees in the workplace, nor does it provide enough context to make data-driven decisions.

For example, a quantitative assessment will tell you how satisfied employees are with specific facilities, but you don’t have an idea why they gave the rating they did. That's where having a qualitative survey system helps.

Invest the time in creating a feedback cycle that measures EX over time. A recurrent feedback system lets you tap into an employee's feelings throughout the year—not just once a year.

For example, deploy a pulse survey every month with pointed questions about specific workflows and initiatives. In addition, offer an open backchannel to gather qualitative feedback, so you know what employees want.

It encourages your EX team to act on this feedback fast, breaking problematic patterns right at all touchpoints when they turn up.

2. Hire employee experience managers

EX managers take care of employees throughout the entire lifecycle. They optimize every part of the journey, putting positive workplace culture at the forefront. 

The goal is to let them take charge of the employee experience strategy and create dedicated systems and dashboards that tie EX to eventual profitability.

Their responsibilities depend on the organization they're a part of and the organization's current needs. However, these are areas they may take care of:

  • Curating an EX framework that addresses bottlenecks and gaps in the organization
  • Creating an employee feedback system and deploying regular surveys
  • Monitoring and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve EX
  • Improving training and development programs to address skills gaps
  • Planning employee engagement initiatives to improve employee satisfaction
  • Bridging the gap between leadership and employees in terms of workplace issues

Also, their cross-functional collaborations with diverse departments—from HR to IT—ensure consistency in the employee experience.

3. Get support from leadership teams

If you want your EX initiatives to get traction, get leadership buy-in. Without that, it’ll be hard to get employees to cooperate with your ideas, and ultimately, it’ll lead to wasted efforts down the line.

Make sure leadership not just publicly supports but also actively champions these initiatives. In that case, every department will be more proactive about adopting and implementing them.

To achieve this, focus on the business outcomes of these initiatives. For example, show them research studies on how it can reduce attrition rates and improve productivity. Alternatively, you can also show them data from your internal feedback or engagement surveys. Correlate that with business metrics showing the potential return on investment (ROI).

4. Conduct a gap audit for support processes

You can’t fix something unless you know what’s broken. The same goes for EX.

It impacts every stage of the employee lifecycle and requires you to examine each process, tool, and interaction. Conduct a gap analysis of aspects that need to be removed, modified, or left as is.

For example, if you find communication is an issue between different teams, you might want to introduce an intranet to create a collaborative environment. This improves the overall digital employee experience too.

5. Take advantage of EX technology to bridge gaps

Don't shy away from the tools that are available in the market. Most enterprises take time to get up to speed with technological advancements, primarily due to implementation challenges.

For example, choose a tool like Poll Everywhere if you're conducting regular feedback sessions. You get to create pulse surveys that can be deployed whenever you want to gauge the sentiment of metrics like satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.

You can also use it during meetings and presentations as an engagement tool to gamify these experiences or get real-time feedback. Coupling this with in-depth executive reports you receive, you can drill down into different factors that impact EX based on what your employees have said themselves. 

Investing in intuitive tools that create a better experience takes some of the load and guesswork off the plate.

Commit to employee experience management to create happier employees

As parameters like wellness, employee engagement, and satisfaction have emerged as indicators of an organization's success, it's high time they invest in initiatives that manage the entire experience. In some ways, it’s akin to offering a great customer experience. As customer satisfaction drives your bottom line, so does employee satisfaction.

Employees need to feel valued, appreciated, and seen at work. They can sense this in personal interactions and the processes they take part in. It's on you to create a dedicated function like employee experience departments that optimize the lifecycle continuously to provide the best possible experience.

And when you do, tap into employee experience management platforms like Poll Everywhere that let you do this at a deeper level. For instance, feedback forms a massive part of the process. Use Surveys to either gather quantitative data or use an open-ended Activity as a backchannel to gather qualitative data.

Alternatively, to create an engaging environment during online meetings, training, or presentations, use the polling features to ask interesting questions, icebreakers, or feedback.

If you want to learn more about how it works, schedule a demo with us today.