3 Key Ingredients to Employee Experience Program Success
Go beyond annual surveys with always-on employee engagement listening.
In 2021, technology-led Employee Experience programs became mainstream.
Due to the pace of changes in the ways of working, the major shift in the employment markets, CxOs have realized that they need much more than a once-a-year heavily manual exercise, ending with some heavily paid consultants delivering a few PowerPoint slides: too slow, too resource intensive, not actionable.
With a several implementations and post-go live managed support services of Qualtrics Employee Experience programs, AKT Global has now forged an experienced best practices that customers succeed with their program when there is clear focus on 3 key elements.
#1 : It is all about the Methodology
We believe with Qualtrics that listening employees should drive companies to gauge:
- their level of Engagement,
- the gaps between their experience at work and their expectations,
- their intent to stay,
- their assessment of inclusion at the company
- their feeling about the well-being at work
This is science. Behind these 5 key domains are 25 signals, some are bi-annual, some are worth getting quarterly. Backed with a lot of research, Qualtrics has packaged this under the name of EX25. Designing the right questions to get them to express their perspectives on these points, is a practice.
One of our key findings, is that open-ended questions must be part of the surveys as this is the only way to properly evaluate the sentiment, discover the irritants which impact the employee engagement level. So, it is critical to design these questions well, get a AI-based technology which can highlight the key topics, summarize the positives and the negatives, and give immediate access to the verbatim to get first hand feedback. Of course, this should work in a multi-lingual environment.
Technology matters, because it means a trained AI engine on Employee feedback, and advanced specific statistics to identify correlations and causality. Qualtrics iQ provides this unique technology.
Continuous listening is about managerial behaviors changes, more data driven, more transparent. Dashboards with results from the surveys, are a key communication tool across the management lines and with the employees. Their design should be handled carefully with that objective in mind, but also being very mindful that not all managers are equipped to master them.
We recommend providing them with a digital companion to give an in-app guided tour, and a step-by-step assistance from the Dashboard to the Action planning application.
#2 : It is all about integrating your EX platform with your Cloud apps
Because classical Employee Engagement program support from HR consultants with little technology background, customer employee engagement program managers have not been given much exposure to the importance of integrating the EX platform with the rest of their company systems.
Data is king. It is not uncommon for large international companies to spend no less than 3 months to get their employee data right, with all the hierarchies and demographics correct. As most don’t have yet a single source of truth, a consolidated HRIS with a system like SAP SuccessFactors, they’re engaged in exchanging multiple Excel Spreadsheets with all the HR local representatives. It is important to have a clear understanding of the HRIS roadmap, assess the current Master Data Management initiative with the company, and elect the technical pass which will allow to massively automate the process, in respect to RGPD and Data Privacy. Make sure that the right talents in the team to handle this.
Make it pervasive. It is a new practice, it is a change management program. So CHRO and Employee Experience managers should expect some adoption challenges and potentially resistance from the managers. The best communication and training program will always to a limit in this context. So nudging the managers with insights and prompts for actions with their teams and peers is essential to keep the matter top of mind. Here are a few examples:
- add role-based tiles in the SAP SuccessFactors portal that could show key insights (as participation rate to a survey, trends on key metrics, enrolment on training plans),
- create some specific channels in Microsoft Teams where the EX platform would automatically post some information about deviation from history performance or benchmarks,
- consider creating automated smart ticket in ServiceNow so that they can be routed to the appropriate HR Support function.
#3 : It is all about embedding Employee Experience in your HR operations
By design, HR can be very process-driven to best support the most sensitive moments along the employee lifecycle from Hire to Retire. That includes recruitment, contract, payroll, talent development, performance, etc., usually automated with solutions like SuccessFactors. So why are the Employee Engagement program, the pulse activities, the ad-hoc surveys handled without much coordinated support, process, dedicated center of excellence, governance, executive sponsorship?
Make Continuous Listening one of your critical HR process. And that may sound overwhelming. Consider that each moment of the employee journey lifecycle (Candidate, On-Boarding, Training, Promotion, Mobility, Performance Reviews, Exiting). What is the process to gather the feedback from the employee at the right time, in the right context, with the right questions?
The dedicated HR teams (eg Talent Acquisition, Talent Development, Compensation and Benefits) should be able to get those feedback and be able to relate them with the data the get from their operations platforms (ATS, LMS, HRIS, Payroll). They should get insights into some correlations, and measure how positive is their programs.
There are some best practices on how to develop a North-Star roadmap, bundle some of these use cases together to accelerate the embedding of Employee Experience in the core of the HR operations.
Create a Centre of Employee Experience. There is now a solid design framework for this where we can list the required skills, and size the team based on the supported EX use cases, the maturity on data quality management, the level of automation and integration, the technology to support adoption by the management layers. Different options exists to transition from a fully serviced annual survey to a technology powered center of EX, ranging from external advisory & technical support to managed services including application consulting, technical architecture, data science and EX advisory. In all case, a strong enablement plan must be defined to grow the EX muscle from inside.
Make sure you get these 3 key ingredients for a sustainable high employee engagement index and new managerial behaviors:
- Choose the most proven, benchmarked methodology to support the full employee experience management activities, in the like of Qualtrics EX25
- Choose a platform which comes with a rich set of native integrations from HRIS like SuccessFactors, Microsoft Teams, ServiceNow in the like Qualtrics XMOS
- Build a solid plan to quickly a sustainable EX program with a clear roadmap, creating a Centre of Employee Experience, on-boarding key talents from HR and other departments, involving a broad set of experience and expertise from a consulting partner like AKT Global.