- Practitioners working to improve employee experience (EX) say their top challenge is measuring the business and financial impact of EX improvements, the 2022 State of EX report from FOUNT Global and TI People found.
- Employee data may be at the root of the challenge, FOUNT noted in a Nov. 29 media release. Although more than 90% of respondents run employee surveys at least once a year, 70% say the data they collect is inadequate for their needs, according to the report. This seems to stem from the fact that most of the data doesn’t “capture the depth and context of employees’ experience thoroughly enough to guide decision-making and action,” the release said.
- Even so, 81% of the respondents report that intense competition for talent has motivated their colleagues to invest more in EX. About half (51%) say EX work reflects a permanent change in how their organization operates. However, while practitioners rank business leaders and managers as having the most impact on EX, they struggle to engage leadership in EX work. The report is based on an August and September survey of 161 EX practitioners, HR professionals and non-HR business leaders.
Like with most aspects of the workplace, events of the past few years have dramatically transformed the HR profession. C-suite leaders who responded to a recent survey from HR tech company Sage recognize the change, even noting that the term “HR” may be outdated. Yet, although corporate leaders acknowledge the profession’s growing importance to business strategy, almost all say HR has a problem with perception, namely, how the C-suite perceives its value.
Honing in an employee experience may be key to improving that perception and cinching C-suite support. EX has risen to the forefront of company concerns over the past few years, as the war for talent continues and employees expect more support from the workplace, studies show.
To fully understand the EX at their organization and address the issues EX presents, a December 2021 report from Eagle Hill Consulting encouraged HR professionals to think outside their function. The FOUNT/TI report provides a road map for doing so. Such planning may also help HR obtain a solid buy-in from corporate leaders and better align their differing priorities.
For starters, researchers suspect that HR’s struggle to collect and manage EX data has more to do with managing the data “than collection, because according to our respondents, HR has a ton of data,” the report noted.
This may be because “HR prefers the big, broad enterprise-wide approach,” the report said. By contrast, “business leaders and managers appear to prefer a more small, focused, targeted approach.” Given each player’s sphere of responsibility, that makes sense, the report said. “But if business leaders and managers are the real EX influencers, then HR may need to adjust its traditional way of working to engage the business in EX improvements,” it suggested.
“When you want to move from good intentions to having real impact on employee experience, you need to truly understand what gets in the way of people whose work experience you are trying to impact,” FOUNT CEO Christopher Martel told HR Dive in an email. “For that, you need a depth of focus — a smaller aperture.”
Take candidate experience. “The candidate endures a long journey interacting with various processes, people and systems along the way,” Martel explained. Using a small, focused approach to collecting data, a FOUNT customer found the issue that matters most to candidates is the timeliness and quality of feedback after the interview, he said.
“Addressing that specific challenge is a narrow — and therefore easier — problem to solve, while also being disproportionately important to the candidate, according to their feedback,” Martel said. In other words, narrowing the aperture provides “maximum impact with minimum effort on what might seem like a small issue.” And solving it can have a big impact for everyone who participates in the candidate journey, he added. “Contrast this with an HR team making a blanket decision to replace the candidate management system, which was not actually the root cause of the issue in this particular example.”
Focusing on a targeted issue also creates clarity and helps HR prioritize what needs to be done to resolve it, Martel said. “Whenever we’ve seen EX leaders approach business leaders with this kind of local understanding of their unique challenge ..., it is well received [because] this is exactly what the business leaders want from HR,” he said.