Adjusting your Employee Experience (EX) program in times of crisis

In times of organizational crisis and change, the company looks to their HR leaders for guidance and reassurance. This is especially the case, now, given the disruptions associated with COVID-19 and the related economic crisis.

So how can HR and EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE (EX) leaders help their organizations appropriately manage employees’ experiences during these trying times?

The same way that all EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT (XM) professionals can: “by enhancing the capability to continuously learn how people are thinking and feeling, propagate insights into the hands of people who can take action, and rapidly adapt in this dynamic environment,” as Bruce Temkin points out in A RECENT ARTICLE.

In most cases, this means making adjustments to the EX MANAGEMENT program.

5 principles for making changes to your XM program

As organizations consider changes to their EX management programs, it is important to anchor on foundational XM principles that apply to all XM professionals during times of crisis:

  1. Show humanity. As you ask employees for feedback, you must be ultra sensitive to their existing circumstances and concerns and be clear about how the collection of their feedback can help them. In times of crisis, employees’ concerns shift to the most fundamental of needs such as their health and safety and whether they will have a job tomorrow.
  2. Take a hiatus on metrics. Major organizational disruptions can have a dramatic impact on employee survey responses and scores. For example, many organizations observe drops in survey scores shortly after mergers and acquisitions. At times like this, you should still ASK EMPLOYEES FOR FEEDBACK, but your focus should be on what’s important to employees right now, not on metrics and historical comparisons.
  3. Ask less, listen more. As you adjust your existing employee listening strategy, shift your measurement approach to be more open-ended and less anchored on what questions have been asked in the past.
  4. Build up your immediate response skill. Following up with employees on their feedback is always important, but it is even more critical in times of crisis. One of the core competencies within the XM operating framework is “RESPOND”, which is all about how organizations respond to and act on feedback. During these times, take greater care to ask about what you can act on, get feedback to the people who can do something with it, and communicate, communicate, communicate with your employees.
  5. Accelerate your feedback cycles. Building on principles 3 and 4, it’s critical that you collect, manage and respond to feedback as quickly as possible. For most organizations, this likely means introducing new or different types of listening mechanisms, such as always-on feedback to digital employee experiences.

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