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Bring out your best employee experience, both online and in-person

Employee Engagement |Total Rewards
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By Robin Moore | October 13, 2021

There’s a difference between your online and in-person employee experience. Make sure you understand each to effectively address both.

It’s not hard to believe that happy, empowered employees work harder and stay with their employers longer. Our breakthrough research supports this idea. Companies with the highest employee experience (EX) scores have the best financial outcomes. So, getting EX right can positively impact your bottom line. And that’s something else employers think is easy to believe, considering that more than 9 in 10 organizations intend to make EX a top priority for post-pandemic success.

Defining the employee experience

The sum of all the touchpoints and moments that matter between employees and their employer, the employee experience sits at the heart of delivering superior customer experience and outstanding business performance. EX encompasses every aspect of daily work for employees – from their interactions with their colleagues and customers, to their perceived ability to influence change in the organization.

When looking to improve the experience, our research findings point to specific themes and introspective questions as good places to start:

  • Purpose: Do employees understand the company’s vision and where their contribution fits in? Does the organization support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) opportunities? Are employees inspired to make an impact?
  • Work: Does the organization approach work efficiently and with a quality improvement mindset? Are employees part of the solutioning process? Is the company market-leading in its approach?
  • Reward: Are employees paid for performance with a clear path for development and growth?
  • People: Is there an environment of support, collaboration and trust?

Achievement in these areas involves a keen focus and a continuous cycle of improvement: taking stock of where your organization stands, listening to employees about how to improve, setting priorities and implementing real change. This may mean rethinking organizational priorities, optimizing total rewards, arming managers with the right tools to support their teams, or increasing efficiency across the organization.

Distinguishing an in-person vs. online employee experience

Ideally, the digital employee experience is an extension of the organizational employee experience, a tool to either communicate the work that’s transpired or translate real-life practices into an improved, efficient experience. Figure 1 offers a few examples:

Figure 1

Distinguishing aspects of your online and in-person employee experience
Theme In-person EX strategies Online EX strategies
Purpose
  • Create a diversity and inclusion network of supporters and organize events to demonstrate support
  • Set goals for inclusive hiring practices
  • Reinforce the company culture and the employee value proposition, including commitment to DEI
Work
  • Rearrange the assembly line for increased efficiency
  • Streamline work practice processes
  • Benchmark practices with the competition
  • Make doing employment-related tasks easy, employees can focus on their day jobs
  • If there are actions to take, tasks to be done, or options to consider based on an employee’s personal situation, they are easy to find, understand and execute
Reward
  • Offer in-class training to employees based on their role
  • Optimize total rewards to pay for performance and meet market expectations
  • Level jobs across departments and define career pathways within the organization
  • Illustrate how employees are paid for performance and how their total rewards add up
  • Clearly communicate career pathways and make personalized suggestions for learning, development and career growth
People
  • Implement solutions to improve collaboration, such as office space reorganization or integration of collaboration tools
  • Host manager training sessions
  • Establish an annual Employee Experience survey and communicate results and actions regularly from a leadership level
  • Provide managers with more resources to help them better manage and retain their team, data around total rewards for their direct reports, and guidance for managing difficult situations
  • As the work towards improving EX evolves, share what the organization has learned from listening to employees and what changes have been made as a result

How technology can help

Gone are the days where resources are filed in mass on the intranet, leaving employees to sort through a series of regional and organizational caveats to find the 10-page Summary Plan Description document that offers details about their personal benefit offering. Or, worse yet, going on a person-by-person wild goose chase through the HR department to find answers.

Employees expect a modern online experience, like what they see on the sites they visit off hours. It’s common these days to see “You might also be interested in …” when reading news articles or buying something online. The underlying expectation is that you can anticipate your audience’s needs and help them before they even ask or know they need it.

An Employee Experience Platform can help deliver on those expectations by serving as a communication vehicle that streamlines the digital EX. By infusing communications with employee data, an EX platform can:

  • Cut through the noise
  • Serve up targeted information that is applicable to the employee front and center such as:

    • Tasks that have a specific onboarding and new hire focus
    • Information about only those benefits and programs for which the employee is eligible
    • Tools for exclusive populations like executives, managers or human resources staff
  • Nudge behaviour
  • Make personalized suggestions on tasks to complete, actions to take, or benefits to engage in

    • Suggested actions to increase benefit value (e.g., maximizing employer matching contributions, pre-tax savings plans, health and welfare programs)
    • Required and suggested training opportunities
    • Annual goal setting/review cycle tasks
    • Progress toward earning the maximum wellbeing dollars with suggestions on easy next steps
  • Simplify the experience
  • Provide employees with one central resource to access the tools and resources employees need, with one click, from any device

    • Benefits administration systems
    • Career/talent development system
    • Learning management system
    • Physical, emotional, financial, and social wellbeing resources
    • Wealth management tools
  • Communicate the value
  • Present a comprehensive total rewards package that builds understanding and appreciation of the programs with real-time updates through automated data feeds

Where to begin

Upping your EX game isn’t achieved overnight, and organizations often struggle with where to start. The best place is by first asking employees how the organization is doing and what’s important to them, and then start prioritizing work to improve. Employee engagement software makes it easy to gain insights from employees through targeted surveys or virtual focus groups.

How do you deliver on an optimal, holistic employee experience? The same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. It’s a slow, uphill road but an important one to climb for the health of your organization and its employees.

Author

Associate Director – Talent & Rewards, Employee Experience Platform Solutions

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