Employees are resources. They are also human beings. Top leaders are getting clear today about the importance of treating their talent as individuals, not elements. The increase in calling top HR positions “Head of People” and the like is just some of the evidence.
The simple fact is that your company gains immensely from providing an outstanding employee experience (also known as EX). But in case you need more convincing, here are just ten of the top benefits. And there are more.
1. Better Collaboration among Employees
Engaged employees work together better. Involving everyone in an open conversation where possible, we encourage contribution to one another. The same structures we put in place to improve experience can also support collaborative work. In the hybrid environment, these structures are primarily digital and online. As a leader, you can help by making it clear that good collaboration is PART of the positive experience. Being able to rely on one another is critical. More than 40% of employees say they do not get enough support from their peers. Share wins, even small ones. Encourage participation.
2. Increased Customer Happiness
“Happy employees leads to happy customers” is a basic fact. Research from One Reach, Demand Metric, Aberdeen, MIT, and many others show this. Richard Branson said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.” He also said, “Put staff first, customers second, and shareholders third.” Some companies, such as Adobe, make this truism part of the core of their people policies. Such organizations align employee and customer experience as a coherent way of working. In fact, more organizations are treating their employees AS customers. This provides insight into how customers should be treated by example. Not just by instruction. “Do as I do, not as I say.”
3. Increased Productivity and Profitability
Gordon Bethune, former CEO and chairman of Continental Airlines, said, “It’s not an accident that the best places to work are also the places that make the most money.” The Temkin Group notes that “companies with stronger financial performances have employees who are considerably more engaged than their peers.” Gallup asserts that disengaged employees can cost companies between $450 and $550 billion dollars a year. IBM reports that EX leaders enjoy a double return on sales and a triple return on assets. Accenture finds that EX leaders beat out the average S&P by 122%. The Social Market Foundation shows that happy employees are 20% more productive. And MIT (yes, again) has produced data showing that EX-leading companies have 25% higher profits. Is anything unclear here?
4. Increased Innovation among Employees
MIT (yes, again, again), has shown that companies with solid employee experience records innovate twice as often as those from businesses with less focus on experience. Organizations that invest heavily in employee experience are included in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list 28 times more often, according to the Harvard Business Review. And EX leaders appear more than twice as often on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.
5. Employees Aligned with Goals and Values Try Harder
Alignment with the company’s goals and values is one of the most important contributors to engagement. It also leads to the workforce investing themselves in their work with much greater passion. IBM found that EX leaders’ staff put out 95% effort when left without oversight, as opposed to an average of just 55%. Salesforce notes that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to “give it their all” at work under any circumstance. Make it clear what your organization stands for and believes in. And recognize your people for taking actions that fulfill on those values.
6. Attract and Retain Top Talent
Jacob Morgan, in his book The Employee Experience Advantage, shows that employee experience leaders have 40% less employee turnover than competitors. IBM found that only 21% of employees would leave a company with great employee experience, as opposed to nearly 50% on average. The American Psychological Association reports that very few employees will leave an organization with excellent employee experience, and fully 89% would recommend others to join the company.
7. Better Performance Management/Coaching
Greg Harris, CEO of Quantum Workplace, says that “employee engagement and performance management are two sides of the same coin.” He adds that “employee experience is the biggest thing in the organization since email.” Perhaps it is obvious that easier and better communication make management and coaching more fluid. Yet many leaders expect to manage their people without providing this basic context of empowerment. The Metrus Institute and many other research bodies have shown that performance management is still a major struggle in most organizations. Wouldn’t it be great to solve it just by making your people happier to work for you?
8. Maximize Diversity & Inclusion
Harris has also stated that “employee feedback is the first step in creating an inclusive environment.” And of course, your people will give you honest input quickly and easily if you encourage it. Cultivate a culture of openness and communication that has everyone feel included. This will create an environment that allows for greater diversity automatically. At the same time, increasing D&I leads to a better employee experience, creating an upward spiral of success. Topia has shown that 80% of workers consider diversity in hiring one of the key elements to being happy at the company. And this spiral has a knock-on effect in many important areas. For instance, The World Economic Forum points out that increasing D&I can double levels of innovation. Deloitte shows that nearly half of millennials consider diversity one of the key factors in choosing a place to work.
9. Improved Organizational Structure
Cultural, technological, and physical factors are all involved in creating a workplace that everyone loves. This applies equally to a hybrid situation as to the office-only old-school reality. Putting in place measures to improve employee experience, you force yourself to confront structures that don’t work well currently. Academic research from Tamika Kampini provides detailed analysis of how organizational structure impacts experience and vice-versa. One interesting data point from that study shows that 88% of workers prefer decentralized or group-based decision making. Finding ways to flatten hierarchies and provide greater autonomy helps you run a more efficient company with happier employees.
10. Increase Employee Happiness and Health
Yes, we couldn’t leave this one out. Happier and healthier employees cause benefits in all the nine points above. This helps you even if you don’t truly care about your employees’ well-being. But you do care about your employees, don’t you? Your company is your family. A happier, healthier workplace is a better place for you yourself to be working. Especially if you’re in charge of all or part of it.
The Short Story: Outstanding Employee Experience Can Be Your Biggest Asset
It should be obvious by now that positive employee experience is critical. Yet fewer than one-third of executives say that employee experience is a high priority at their company. Technology is core to hybrid engagement. Yet a survey reported in the Harvard Business Review showed a terrible misunderstanding of this. In this survey, 54% of leaders said experience is the responsibility of HR or the C-Suite. Fewer than 5% saw it as an IT issue. This is a big, big, big mistake.
If you are struggling to provide an employee experience that takes advantage of all of these benefits, don’t worry. We can help. Our AT THE EDGE Employee Experience Solution for Hybrid Work empowers companies like yours to transition to hybrid successfully. Becoming part of the Innovation Minds community can give you results far beyond your expectations. Reach out and let us show you how.
Michael Lee, SVP Strategy and Marketing, Innovation Minds