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5 industry experts on why employee experience is good for business
October 15, 2021
With an increasing spotlight being placed on employers to find the right balance of staff returning to the office, Zone invited industry experts to a roundtable to share and discuss their thoughts with George Read (director, Cognizant Digital Experience) on how to best shape employee experience (EX), the ways this impacts customer experience, and the overall positive business results this can deliver.
The employee lifecycle
When we talk about employee experience, we’re referencing every single interaction between an individual and their organisation and EX is a fundamental driver of customer experience, they go hand-in-hand.
Lauren Coe, (employee experience associate director, Zone) stresses the importance of the end-to-end journey: “Thinking about EX from the start is really key. If you put the employee first, you increase the value they can drive, and all of that work starts before they’ve even joined the company.”
It’s important to be open and honest about the journey you’re on and where you’re currently at as a business, and having that open conversation with your workforce is important to keeping them engaged in the developments across the business.
Reflecting on this, Janina Norton (global head of employee experience & inclusion, AXA Partners) said: “From our global pulse surveys, we found that the top drivers of employee engagement were strategic alignment, values and purpose - across these we see the link of meaningfulness in work.”
With companies sourcing data from so many different parts of the business and on so many different subjects, it can be challenging to interpret and achieve effective actionable insights. In addition, it raises the ethical dilemma of the boundaries that need to be set when collecting and using employee data.
The group collectively agreed that boundaries definitely need to be set, and that an effective way to ensure you keep employees in the loop with how their data is being used is to ensure you’re achieving visible outcomes.
Lauren said: “One of the worst ways you can bring engagement down is by approaching individuals and gaining data, using AI to analyse that data, and then not doing anything actionable with it.”
Caroline Cording (group human resources director, Mamas & Papas) furthered this point, saying: “Conducting surveys without sharing an output can potentially lead to mistrust among employees. However, the way to build that trust back up is by continuing to conduct surveys to ensure the company is on track with delivering on their promises, driving the purpose, vision and values throughout the organisation.”
Dinesh Prasad (service line specialist in AI & analytics, Cognizant) raised the example of tracking employee data trends and how we can use this to predict future behaviours to help shape their EX needs, specifically referencing returning to the office and how we can use data to support and inform decision-making on company policies.
As a critical, but often overlooked step in the employee lifecycle, offboarding a departing employee can be used to a company’s advantage. George pointed this out and said: “Company alumni are often a really untapped source of knowledge and advocacy that many places could do more to capitalise on.”
Building on this, Caroline said: “We have introduced a new company intranet which reaches out to ex-colleagues and to help better shape that leaving experience, we want to be as flexible as possible, so we ask staff if they want to do their exit interview digitally, so they can do it anonymously or face-to-face if they prefer.”
Weighing in on the offboarding process, Lauren said: “There’s two massive benefits to exceptional offboarding, firstly feeding back the info you collate into your overall employee experience to plug the gaps where employee expectations previously haven’t been met, and secondly to create brand ambassadors.”
Often, nurturing that relationship with employees after they’ve left results in a boomerang effect where, later in their careers, they end up returning to the business, having developed their skills further and they are able to feed that new experience back into the company.
After a turbulent year for many businesses and their staff, the focus on employees and finding optimal ways of working to deliver better customer experience and business results is set to remain decisive for the foreseeable future.