For Employee Experience to Get Off the Ground, It Needs a Roadmap
Higher revenues, higher engagement, stronger loyalty, and a higher performing and ultimately more profitable organization are all key performance indicators (KPIs) of a winning employee experience (EX).
Yet, I am hearing more and more from HR colleagues that getting their EX ideas off the ground is a tall hurdle standing in the way of reaching these goals.
The hurdle to EX success feels even taller when you do not have a clear idea of what the big picture should look like. What helps me most when I find myself in a similar situation is mapping it all out.
After all, HR professionals are the unofficial product owners of the employee experience. So why not do as product owners do, and create a simple product roadmap that outlines future developments and enhancements?
Recent research suggests that companies with a great EX:
- Outperform the S&P’s 500 by 122 percent (Glassdoor)
- Increase customer loyalty by 17 percent (Forrester)
- Increase revenue by 11 percent (Forrester)
- Are 21 percent more profitable than those with poor engagement (Gallup)
When you apply this kit to your organization, you can quickly identify gaps as they relate to your goals for both EX and the organization.
Whatever the goals or objectives you are trying to solve for by investing in EX may be, this kit visually creates a clear path ahead and ensures you are not inadvertently leaving problems unsolved while aligning the “product” to your business and audience needs.
How to Define an EX Process
Any product expert will tell you a large factor in achieving and sustaining the success of a product is understanding the customer for which it is intended.
For EX to materialize in the organization, you need to first learn the needs of its target customer — the employees.
We have discussed how much data we have available in HR, but the importance of the human element cannot be understated. Make it a regular part of your daily routine to interact face-to-face and gather input from current employees in addition to aligning initiatives with available data.
Talk to current employees.
The intel you gather from anecdotal conversations, “water cooler” interactions, and fly-on-the-wall observations are invaluable.
These feedback sources help to validate the numbers you are seeing from feedback surveys or other data collections, such as small focus groups and targeted interviews of employees/managers in critical roles.
Create a strategic compass — set your true North.
Begin by drafting a set of Principles that will guide your efforts and include intended outcomes.
These Principles will allow you to communicate “how” you want to work as you build out the organization’s EX.
Collect data on the workforce from:
- Engagement surveys
- Employees’ job applications
- Exit interviews
- What is stored in the HRIS
- Employees’ resumes
Combine all this data with the intel gathered from speaking with employees, and this will be your strategic compass.
This combined approach provides a more holistic perspective and ensures you are focusing the EX framework on what matters most to those on the receiving end.
A company’s EX should be comprised of data points that support:
- What employees are seeking to achieve every day when they come to work;
- A sense of alignment to what the company is striving to achieve (company goals); and,
- The common barriers or challenges in achieving these goals.
Creating an EX Roadmap
How to think about and plan your approach.
Before you start developing the roadmap, ensure you are following your own “true North.” Here are the steps to complete before plotting out the roadmap. These steps are designed to ensure you are meeting the needs of the employees, the company, and the HR function.
Craft your Principles.
These will guide your efforts, and define “how” you want to implement your EX.
Define key objectives.
This is the problem you are solving, and it will be your measures of success (e.g., increase employee satisfaction (%) or decrease time to onboard new hires (# days).
Understand your target audiences.
Define all stakeholders — employees and leadership — to ensure focus.
Determine how you will measure success.
This is where the “data-driven” parts come into play. Holding performance accountable to defined KPIs will help you steer the ship in the right direction forward, adjust course as needed, and calculate the initiative’s overall ROI.
You can collect EX data a few different ways, such as through surveys or assessments and can be collected throughout the employee lifecycle.
What to measure:
- Time it takes to hire – otherwise known as “Time to Fill” (screening, sourcing, advertising the role, interviewing, etc.)
- The diversity of new hires (age, race, gender breakdown compared to the demographics of your location)
- Offer acceptance rate
- Offer denial rate
- Average cost to hire per employee
- Number of promotions per quarter (broken down by employee demographics)
- Average employee tenure
- Average rate of employee turnover (good/bad/overall attrition)
- Average cost of employee turnover
- Average revenue/savings generated for the business per employee
- Number of Referrals given by existing employees and alumni
- Number of employees participating in company culture events
- Number of affinity/community groups
- Number of employees enrolled in organizational programs that are not required (e.g., Wellness Program or a Remote Work Program)
Determine the benchmark.
To see where you need to go, you need to find out how effective your efforts have been up to this point. Determine the average amount of time/effort expended toward crafting employee experiences over the last six months or year.
You will then use these averages to see how any changes you are planning to implement will impact the EX.
Build your roadmap.
This is a systems approach/lifecycle mapping to ensure integration of EX and can be used to maintain transparency with key stakeholders. It shows where you need to focus the overall direction of the EX.
In the event that further investment or resources are needed to support additional EX development, the roadmap displays current efforts and clearly communicates gaps — making the ask supported by real-time activity and in-progress tactics.
When plotting tactics to execute EX and business goals using the template kit, make sure you are plotting them as they relate to the first four steps of this process. Alignment is key!
This is the process that I have put to work when shaping and refining an effective and lasting EX. So, what are you waiting for? Just start. I am confident it will be the best EX your company has ever offered before!
Jeffrey Belanger is the Head of Leader Enablement & HR Business Partnership at Pandora. His passion is helping companies drive transformation and global scale initiatives while creating effective, inclusive, and engaged organizations and company cultures. Connect with him on LinkedIn.