Some of the world’s most progressive companies today are shifting their business management focus from employee engagement to the overall employee experience. But what does this look like, how does it benefit businesses and employees and how can it be implemented?
Engagement vs Experience.
Willis Tower Watson defines employee engagement as “the deep and broad connection employees have with a company, as well as their voluntary and enthusiastic commitment to its success”. Employee experience, on the other hand, is defined as having four basic dimensions (or the reason people actually work). Essentially, the workforce of today and of the future will need to be:
- inspired by a strong sense of purpose in an inclusive environment
- doing great work in a thriving organisation
- connecting with great people and great leaders
- rewarded and achieving their potential
Leadership boards in the most progressive organisations are recognising the need for a great employee experience and are not only creating employee experience departments but are reshaping their strategy and structure to allow a multi-disciplinary approach that embraces a positive employee experience at all levels of the business.
How can you enhance employee experience in your business?
A good starting point to set is to embrace the concept of generating a positive employee experience for your staff by focusing on the outlined dimensions listed above.
Recognise the subtle difference between employee engagement and the broader concept of employee experience. More opportunities for cultivating positive employee experiences will lead to deeper employee engagement all round.
Three ways to start building positive employee experiences
- Get the team together to reignite a connection to the higher purpose of the work you are all doing.
Does your business perform services that contribute to the greater good of society? What are the individual customer stories that really bring that to life?
A specific away-day can be a great way to build stronger connections, but addressing this as an introduction to meetings with other agendas in mind, take every opportunity to reconnect greater meaning to the work you all do, a reminder of why you call come to work everyday.
- Plan opportunities for connecting employees with leaders.
A good mix of planned formal meetings and one-on-one catch-ups as well as team events that allow for more informal connections is a great way to contribute to employee engagement. Use these opportunities to welcome feedback, good and bad, and then ensure you act on it. These are also great opportunities to give positive feedback to keep staff motivated and engaged.
Don’t underestimate the power of impromptu random moments to connect with staff, be it in the lift, in the kitchen, in passing in the corridor. If you are managing a remote workforce, you need to create these moments, perhaps organise a ‘get-to-know the team’ workshop, where everyone can present about who they are at home, what the like doing outside of work, their passions etc.. This allows for people to get to know one another on a deeper level and find things they have in common with one another outside of work which helps build relationships.
By getting to know the individuals within the workplace on a deeper level, it gives everyone a good sense of connecting with other dynamic human beings, with more depth than simply being “Bob in finance” or “Carol from marketing”. When you do need to speak to “Bob in finance” you can break the ice with an impromptu chat about how his kids are going in the HSC or how his boat building project is progressing.
- Review and restructure your rewards and recognition policies and procedures.
Are they really fulfilling their objectives of adequately rewarding and recognising staff for a job well done? It’s also important to reward the team incrementally as the year progresses.
Consider ways you are able to place more value and importance on rewarding staff with bonuses, team days out, days off, or even a healthy degree of flexible working/ work from home opportunities that shows them you care about their mental well-being and life outside of work.
Encourage a culture where individuals are recognised for their work. If you are a leader who simply takes the report your subordinate did and presents it to the board, make sure you acknowledge the efforts of the team adequately. This all helps to create a positive experience, where employees feel valued for the work they do and don’t feel they do all the work and someone else gets all the credit, a common gripe in many workplaces.
Think of other ways you can change a potentially negative experience into a positive one, by making small but meaningful changes to the way you lead your team.
I specialise in bringing leaders together to collectively understand the importance of employee engagement and positive employee experience. Could your leadership team benefit from one of my tailored workshops? Please get in touch today. I’d love to help!