What is employee experience (EX)?
A recent Forbes magazine article described EX as “the sum of all interactions that an employee has with her employer during the duration of her employment relationship. It includes any way the employee “touches” or interacts with the company and vice versa in the course of doing her job. And, importantly, it includes her feelings, emotions and perceptions of those interactions.”
What companies are learning is that EX is a really big deal and is becoming a critical factor in the success of the modern organization.
Why all the fuss?
There are a number of reasons why EX is getting so much attention across businesses today. First, happy employees make for happy customers. This Harvard Business Review article discussed the strong statistical link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction. A study conducted by Glassdoor showed that a happier workforce is clearly associated with an organization’s ability to deliver better customer satisfaction.
It is easier and less expensive to recruit, retain, and grow employees when there is consistently positive EX. When companies create outstanding experiences for their employees, people want to work for and stay with these companies.
Another Forbes article discussed the correlation between good EX and profitability and value. For example, the stock prices of companies appearing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies rose 14% per year from 1998-2005; stock prices only rose 6% for companies not on this list. A Globoforce-IBM study found that organizations that scored in the 25% on EX saw 3x return on assets and 2x return on sales.
Indicators of good EX
But here’s the thing. EX cannot be directly measured. Think about it – how can you measure how someone feels? Sure, you can conduct surveys or interviews and get a general impression of how employees feel about their employers and work environment, but this approach has some level of subjectivity.
Secondly, many organizations are under a mistaken perception that EX is just something to check off a list. But EX is not just about employee appreciation lunches or passing out gift cards, nor is it something that is just the responsibility of an HR organization. Rather, it’s the entire organization that influences and promotes EX.
Good EX is largely the result of an organizational culture that values employee contribution, collaboration, well-being, purpose, and other factors within the workplace. It truly does come down to how employees feel about their organization, their management, and their job.
Good EX might be indicated by high net promoter scores, high employee retention rates, or smaller time-to-hire measures. As mentioned above, good EX may even show up on the bottom line in the form of increased profits or market value. But none of these indicators are scientific measures good EX.
One thing for sure however – just as with a positive organizational culture, people know good EX when they experience it. Can good enterprise service management help enable that positive employee experience?
What is enterprise service management?
During his recent Cherwell Software CLEAR 2020 keynote address, Sam Gilliland, CEO of Cherwell, discussed how taking an enterprise service management (ESM) approach has helped many organizations weather the service support and delivery challenges caused by the pandemic. By having an organization’s service providers, such as IT, Facilities, HR, and others utilizing a common platform, those organizations were not only to respond to the operational challenges presented by the pandemic, but they are also able to thrive despite those challenges.
But what is ‘ESM’? Is it just dropping the “IT” from ITSM and replacing it with an “E”?
ESM is about taking an enterprise, not departmental, approach to managing, enabling, supporting, and delivering an organization’s products and services in a way that co-creates value and delivers measurable business outcomes.
In a nutshell, I believe that good service management can enable a better EX. Good service management brings transparency and measurability into organizational operations. Employee can see for themselves how the organization is performing, and how their contributions result in organizational success.
ESM encourages collaboration and teamwork by enabling and supporting holistic workflows. Each part of any organization must work well for all other parts of the organization in order to achieve success. Conversely, organizations whose departments work in isolation from others cannot react to or respond as quickly to changes in marketspaces and business as organizations that think and work holistically.
By having these holistic workflows in place, employees can be confident that they are doing the right things right. Holistic workflows also help employees avoid having to make multiple individual requests with individual departments within the organization just to achieve needed outcomes.
3 things to do to help service management enable better EX
Is your organization’s approach to enterprise service management enabling a better EX? If not, here are three things you can do:
- Automate the obvious – not just within IT, but across the organization. Those simple, but repetitive and tedious tasks currently requiring human intervention can be better served by automation. Automation in turn enables employees to work at their own pace on their own schedule, which is a satisfier when it comes to EX.
- Identify and map enterprise value streams. Most value streams within an organization cross departmental boundaries. For example, take onboarding a new employee. Not only is HR involved, but also IT and Facilities. Where are the handoffs? What work can be done in parallel? Mapping and understanding how work and value flows through the organization is critical for enabling positive EX. Are there any gaps or delays in how work and value flows through the organization? How does technology and process enable those value streams – and are there opportunities to optimize those value streams?
- Develop employee journey maps. Employee Journey Maps (EJM) are similar to customer journey maps but are focused on the employee’s journey with an organization. Where does an employee encounter friction? Can the use of technology or automating processes eliminate that friction?
While good EX is largely the result of nurturing the desired culture within an organization, ESM can augment that experience through proactive management of work streams, well defined and streamlined processes, and delivering valuable products and services. Yes, good ESM can make for better EX!