Here’s Why Companies Need to Rethink Employee Experience

Every company wants to create a culture that inspires employees to do the best work of their careers.

And every company can list a variety of HR programs they employ to keep team members happy, inspired, and productive. But when you ask people how they really feel about their jobs, Gallup reports that 87 percent of them don’t feel engaged.

There’s a disconnect between employee engagement programs and employee experience, and it’s likely hurting your team.

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Let’s talk about how you can invest in HR programs that will drive the right business results for your employees.

The Changing Workforce Demands a New Approach to Employee Experience

With the influx of a new generation in the workforce, the relationship between employees and their jobs has changed significantly, but Gallup research suggests that employee engagement has stayed the same. PWC reports that by 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce. And their priorities are not the same as those of previous generations. They’re more likely to hop between jobs frequently, they care more about personal development and work-life balance than paychecks, they’re digital natives, and they want to work for brands they admire as consumers.

And the workplace is shifting in response to these employees. Online recruiting tools make it easier than ever for them to find new jobs, email and messaging tools mean employees are always connected — even when on vacation — and open office spaces and flexible earning opportunities, such as those offered by sharing economy services like Lyft and Instacart, are changing the definition of “workplace productivity.”

Your Existing Employee Experience Programs Might Be Hurting Your Business

As we work to design cultures that meet the needs of growing and changing teams,  some go-to engagement programs might actually do more harm than good. Research from Deloitte in 2015 found that companies are no longer buying into the myth that a 100-question employee engagement survey will drive positive business impact because these surveys aren’t actionable. In fact, only half of respondents in Deloitte’s study believe their leadership knows how to build a culture of engagement.

With increasingly advanced analytical technology, employee experience programs that don’t offer actionable progress just don’t cut it. They spread feelings of helplessness, they don’t capture real-time feedback, they’re too broad to apply to every employee’s needs, and they’re difficult to administer.

[bctt tweet=”Employee experience programs that don’t offer actionable progress just don’t cut it” username=”reflektive”]

The abandonment of the traditional survey creates an opportunity for a new era of people programs, but many of the latest fads in employee engagement fall into the same traps as outdated surveys. Free lunches, office kegs, and unlimited vacation, while intended to keep employees happy, leave employees feeling pressured to spend more of their free time in the office. Stagnating employee engagement suggests that these attempts to keep the shifting workforce engaged just aren’t working. If you want to keep your team engaged, ditch the monthly pizza party and invest in tools and technology that help your employees excel at their work.

The Right People Programs Drives Business Results

So, if financial incentives, flashy perks, and traditional engagement surveys don’t work, what does? The answer is: It depends on your team. We now work in a world where real-time feedback, digital training, and personalized development are available to everyone — not just big companies that can afford expensive consulting contracts. Assessing your people programs is the first step in developing an approach that’s right for your team. How does employee experience impact your business? Can you measure it? How much are you spending on people programs? Are they the right programs?

The next generation of employee engagement programs will give companies the flexibility to design employee-led experiences that drive real business impact.

Data from a Lightspeed Venture Partners survey released earlier this year found that while a majority of companies invest in recruiting and new-hire onboarding programs, few companies invest in employee experience programs, such as performance management and compensation reviews.

As technology makes it easier for companies to measure employee engagement without the outdated survey, it’s also becoming easier to justify the business value in programs like career laddering and internal mobility. The next generation of employee engagement programs will give companies the flexibility to design employee-led experiences that drive real business impact.

If you’re interesting in learning more, join us for a live webinar on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT to gain assessment techniques for driving an improved employee experience, including a maturity model to determine which metrics are most important for your team, and an ROI calculator to determine how much you should spend on them.