Ask Adam: Creating a Positive Employee Experience

“Employee experience” has become a standard HR buzzword, and today’s executives are increasingly recognizing and prioritizing its influence. In January, Forbes published “The Employee Experience Is the Future of Work,” and we now know that “ee experience” is the #1 driver of employment outcomes. Unfortunately, measuring—even defining—the drivers of positive employee experience can be tumultuous, primarily driven by a lack of data outlining exactly what contributes to employee happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

As an HCM technology company defined by our “People First” philosophy, pinpointing the key factors facilitating a great employee experience was necessary both for our own development and to add value for our customers. We partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics to conduct a comprehensive study of U.S. working adults and found that two-way trust, nurtured through open and ongoing communication, was critical for a positive employee experience. Other important factors included organizational culture, professional development opportunities, innovative technology, promptly addressing concerns, and safety—both physical and emotional.

We recently presented these results in a webcast, and received so many great questions that I didn’t have time to answer them all. Here are a few of the most common questions, along with my suggestions. If you have any other questions about our research or the employee experience, please let me know in the comments below!

Q: How can I determine how employees feel?

A: Just ask them—and often. Today’s workforce values inclusion, coaching, and ongoing feedback. Instead of relying solely on formal performance management processes, which are certainly useful but have a slew of limitations, modern organizations are beginning to implement more frequent, informal positive employee experiencecheck-ins and pulse surveys. On-demand surveys allow you to gauge how your employees are actually feeling in real time, particularly when your solution uses advanced sentiment analysis technology to accurately dissect open-ended text. Armed with substantial data about the health of your organization, you’re empowered to quickly address areas of concern and dramatically increase positive employee experience.­

Q: How do you build trust?

A: At its core, trust is based around communication, transparency, and action. The goal is to develop managers into better people leaders who are in tune with their teams and empowered to take ownership of engagement. Technological solutions can provide structured and proactive coaching support, including practical suggestions for taking the most effective action.

Q: What investments should my company make to create a positive employee experience?

A: Fortunately, you don’t need to dismantle your entire organization to improve the employee experience for your people. Little things can make a big difference—but it’s crucial to invest in both career development and modern technology. Providing ongoing learning opportunities to your employees will challenge and motivate them while improving overall satisfaction. Employees are also heavily impacted by the tools they use to get their jobs done, as well as those they use to access their pay and benefits information. Even I was shocked by our research results regarding technology in the workplace—one in three employees said they would consider leaving their jobs because of outdated technology.

Implementing these strategies will help positively influence all manners of the employee experience, including fostering ongoing communication, providing career clarity, and—most important of all—building trust between your organization and your employees.

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