With 2020 setting records for the velocity of change, the way we work has been drastically redefined. Now, more than ever before, creating a compelling employee experience is crucial. What hasn’t shifted in the new world of work is the impact positive employee experience can have on a business’ bottom line: it’s a main driver of competitive advantage.
Here’s what the data is saying about employee experience, why it needs to be a key focus for organizations and the tools that can help make that happen.
- Employee Experience: A Key Business Focus
- How to Tackle Employee Experience
- Knowledge Sharing: A Pillar of Positive Employee Experience
- Breaking Silos Boosts Employee Engagement
Employee Experience: A Key Business Focus
The evidence to support a focus on employee experience is wide-ranging and conclusive:
- Organizations that prioritize employee experience significantly outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share¹.
- Engaged employees are 40% less likely to turn over, which is considerable as replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 30% of an entry-level salary to 400% of a senior executive’s salary².
- Engaged and thriving employees are a net positive on companies' bottom line, which is why their wellbeing must be an organization-wide initiative that moves to the top of the priority list.
Due to unprecedented levels of disruption, employees' needs have shifted substantially in this new world of work. Thousands of employees are now working remotely, potentially caring for a vulnerable individual, isolated from coworkers and friends and dealing with unparalleled levels of uncertainty.
While many employees have found their way and some have even thrived through the change³, others haven’t adjusted as easily. Recent studies have found:
- As many as 2 in 3 employees are experiencing some kind of depression often⁴.
- 43% of U.S. employees feel burnt out at work⁵.
- 45% of employees feel drained from work⁶.
- 57% of employees working in non-remote positions report struggling with work effectiveness⁷.
- More than half of all employees are lonely at work always or very often⁸.
Rethinking Employee Experience
Businesses have responded to these challenges with varying levels of success). But for companies to help all of their employees not only survive but also thrive, rethinking employee experience is essential.
Companies have been given the chance to seize the moment by investing in building social capital and reexamining how to meet their employees’ needs more holistically.
Tackling employee experience by adding office perks to physical workspaces is no longer enough—if it was ever enough—to keep employees satisfied. While comfortable offices with great coffee machines are a bonus, employees' needs are much more complex.
Companies today must endeavor to also meet the emotional (value), mental (focus) and spiritual (purpose) needs of their employees. Meeting all dimensions of employee experience will ensure that individuals feel productive, respected and most importantly, happy.
A Harvard Business Review study reported that “when employees at a company perceive that any one of their four needs has been met, they report a 30% higher capacity to focus, a nearly 50% higher level of engagement, and a 63% greater likelihood to stay at the company.”
Figure 1. Source: What is Your Quality of Life at Work?, Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath
Knowledge Sharing: A Pillar of Positive Employee Experience
One essential element of a positive employee experience is a culture of workplace knowledge sharing. Employees who have the opportunity to share their knowledge and can easily access coworker’s expertise will be more engaged, productive and have a deeper sense of belonging and purpose.
Employees expect to quickly find and access the knowledge required to do their jobs. Despite this knowledge workers spend around one (working) month each year searching for information, knowledge and the right expertise in their organization. This means most employees don’t know where to go to find the accurate and up-to-date information required to succeed.
This information is especially difficult to obtain when there are no clear knowledge sharing processes in place,particularly when experienced team members leave. We found that 54% of respondents from the Future of Work Report said their company doesn’t have a clear process for preserving employee's know-how.
Figure 2. Source: The 2020 HR Sentiment Survey, Future Workplace LLC
The right technology can help solve this by overcoming the barriers to knowledge sharing. By providing employees with a platform that facilitates knowledge sharing in an intuitive and easy-to-use way, companies prioritize employee experience.
The most effective intelligence platforms are personalized to users and provide content tailored to their needs— AI-powered intelligence platforms do just that. They provide employees with a personalized skill profile, a way to access and share knowledge and identify experts.
By integrating into workplace software, knowledge can be brought directly to where employees are working, reducing frustration and distraction. Employees can quickly share their query and if it’s already been answered, they’ll be provided with immediate feedback. If not, an expert who knows the answer will be notified.
A benefit of an intelligence platform is that the employees can have confidence in the accuracy of the information within it. They know the answer they’ll receive is correct and trustworthy because it’s from a subject matter expert. Intelligent search options also provide employees with fast access to curated knowledge and the ability to develop their skills and learn from their coworkers.
Employees who have the opportunity to share their knowledge at work are happier and more engaged. A platform that identifies experts and recognizes their skills and capabilities, helps fulfill employees’ need to be recognized for their contributions. It provides employees who are more likely to keep their achievements to themselves with an opportunity to shine.
Employees who are recognized for their contribution are more likely to feel like their work contributes to the company’s overall goals, which creates a sense of belonging and purpose employees need to be productive. Employees who feel valued remain loyal to their company more often and have improved performance.
Breaking Silos Boosts Employee Engagement
Within large enterprises, the risk of repeated work, stalled innovation and lack of cross-functional collaboration is real. It results in reduced efficiency and productivity, frustrated employees, lagging morale and lost revenue⁹. Intelligence platforms provide disparate teams and siloed departments a way to share cross-functional expertise, collaborate and address business challenges at speed.
With the ability to connect to common workplace tools, the public data within enterprise software can be leveraged to identify tacit knowledge, company-wide and reveal where skills and expertise lie within an organization. This knowledge is then made automatically available at scale in real-time, increasing the speed and accuracy at which decisions can be made organization-wide.
Visibility into where skills and capabilities lie in real-time the is foundation of employee skill profiles automated and based on capabilities. These skill profiles increase employee engagement and give you clear insight into who in the organization is the best fit for a particular role. Skill profiles enable internal talent mobility and eliminate the need for a time-consuming and costly hiring process as the best candidate is often already on the payroll.
Company-wide and individual skill-profiles also provide a feedback loop that highlights the effectiveness of internal training. With the help skill profiles, organizations have transparency into which training is being applied as using a new skill is immediately reflected in an employee’s profile. Development opportunities can, therefore, be better targeted and improved to benefit the employee and their employer. This is just one aspect of the employee experience that should be the key focus of organizations that want to ensure they don’t fall behind their competition.
Making Employee Experience A Top Priority
What's clear is that employee experience is a key competitive differentiator. Organizations that prioritize employee experience outperform their peers on every metric—and HR leaders have been listening. The 2020 HR Sentiment Survey interviewed 350 HR and business thought leaders found that 50% believed that their organization needed to place a greater focus on employee experience. To see how a better employee experience is possible at your organization, download The 2020 HR Sentiment Survey. Get your free resource now and discover how cross-functional partnerships, emerging competencies and a surge towards remote working will impact employee experience.