Posts

Employee experience

Are You Personalizing the Employee Experience?

Have you ever been in a restaurant when one of the regular customers walks in? Not only does the waitress know his name, but she knows his order too, personalizing the customer experience. Is there any doubt in your mind that this is a loyal customer, that he will eat at the restaurant again or that he’s highly likely to recommend the restaurant to others?

This scenario isn’t exclusive to the restaurant industry. Businesses in all industries have always known the importance of providing high-quality customer service. Companies have now come to realize what waitresses have known for decades – that personalized services build loyal customers. In fact, in a recent survey, 77 percent of companies surveyed believe that providing real-time personalization is crucial to business success.

Lack of Employee Engagement

Unfortunately, many of the same businesses that have found success investing in personalized services for their customers have failed to apply these same principles to their employer-employee relationships – and it shows. According to Gallup, the rate of employee engagement has steadied around 32 percent for more than a decade, despite the fact that employers together are investing more than $720 million a year on employee engagement.

While it seems clear that employers understand that there’s a disconnect between them and their employees, their investments to date have done little to improve employee engagement. Perhaps, the piece missing in the employee experience is the same factor that drives customer loyalty – personalization.

How to Personalize the Employee Experience

Unfortunately, personal relationships aren’t built overnight – just ask the waitress. Instead, it takes time, a commitment, and ability to connect with the other person. There are steps, however, that employers can take right now to add personalization to the employee experience.

Listening Opportunities

Building a relationship is a two-way street. You cannot expect your employees to take a vested interested in what you have to say if you don’t listen to what they have to say. Take time to really listen to your employees and value their input.

Your employee’s first-hand knowledge of working with customers, working with the machinery or working with third-party vendors can provide you with a different perspective that may influence positive change within the workplace.

Regular listening sessions, reverse performance reviews and pulse surveys are great ways to show your employees that you’re willing to listen.

Career Advancement

Employees want career advancement. In fact, a recent study ranked lack of career growth as the number two driver of voluntary turnover. The facts show that employees will leave a company if they see no advancement opportunities. While many companies understand this demand and offer career growth opportunities from within, very few are personalizing this process.

Rather than send out internal memos related to job opportunities within the workplace, what if your company took the personalized approach instead? What if rather than wait for employees to come to you, you proactively take steps to grow and develop your staff based on their skills, performance and experience.

Employee Recognition

When done correctly, employee recognition can be one of the most effective ways to personalize the employee experience. The big question is – “Are you recognizing employees the right way?” First and foremost, employees want fairness and transparency. If both of these components are not at the core of your employee recognition program, it could have the reverse effect.

Your company’s employee reward and recognition program should recognize the personal accomplishments of your employees and, in turn, boost employee engagement. It’s important to develop a well-defined recognition program that is understood and followed by all levels of management.

Real-Time Feedback

For decades, employers have relied on annual performance reviews to provide feedback to their employees. While individuals names may be on each performance review, in most cases, this type of feedback is far from personalized.

In many cases, these annual reviews are little more than a supervisor trying to complete a stack of performance reviews before the deadline and then spending a few minutes, if that, while each employee reads over the review. Rarely, do these reviews give the employee an accurate look at their performance, either good or bad, on a daily basis.

Real-time employee feedback can solve this problem, and guess what – employees want this type of feedback. Real-time feedback gives supervisors and management the ability to immediately compliment an employee for a job well done or immediately point out underperformance when necessary. What’s most important is that immediate feedback personalizes the experience by providing specific feedback in reference to specific actions.

The process of personalizing the employee experience must start from the top down and include all layers within the company. This will help to personalize the employee experience and boost overall employee engagement rates within the workplace. Much like the customer at the restaurant, personalization has the power to build loyalty among your workers. Loyalty, in turn, can spur higher retention rates, improved productivity, increased employee referrals and better employee morale and job satisfaction.

If you want to learn more about the value of personalizing the employee experience, download our white paper covering Personalization: The Missing Link in the Employee Experience.

Download White Paper Red CTA Button

 

 

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

 

Important Pillars of HR

5 Pillars of a Successful HR Strategy

How successful is your current HR strategy? The role of the HR department has evolved over the years, transitioning from the traditional “hire and fire” arm of the business to a strategic position. Today, HR departments are not only responsible for recruiting new talent and onboarding employees, but also establishing a positive workplace culture and environment.

Juggling the traditional tasks with those that come with being an HR professional in the modern workplace can be challenging. When trying to meet the needs of the business and its employees, important details can often be overlooked.

Below are five HR pillars every organization should be aware of when developing or refining their HR strategy.

  1. Legal Requirements 

When onboarding an employee, it’s important that you follow and fulfill all legal requirements to ensure that you protect the business and the employee. For instance, every full-time employee should fill out an IRS W-4 form and I-9 form. Another important legal requirement is workers compensation.

Regardless of the working conditions, workers compensation is required of all businesses:

“If you have any employees—even just one—you are responsible for including workers’ compensation insurance (in most states) in your business insurance policy. This type of coverage exists to protect you, your business, and your employees in case any of them get hurt or sick while working for you.” – Experts at USA Business Insurance.

You may also need directors and officers and general liability insurance to protect employees from potential issues with customers.

  1. Employee Engagement

Did you know that only 33 percent of employees in the United States are engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup’s “2017 State of the American Workplace” report? In fact, employee engagement as a whole increased only 3 percent from 2012 to 2016, according to the aforementioned report.

Employee engagement is critical to a company’s success. After all, an engaged employee is a productive one. To increase employee engagement, bring the following into your culture and HR processes:

  • Gamification: Incorporate gamification into employee activities, such as achievement-tracking and peer competition.
  • Incentives: Financial and non-financial incentives, such as rewards and recognition, give employees something to work toward. In addition, they reinforce attitudes and behaviors that will help the organization succeed.You can make the process of tracking these incentives, and the milestones that designate them, with an employee recognition and engagement platform such as Achievers.
  • Employee Surveys: Conduct surveys on a regular basis to let employees know that their voice is being heard and valued.
  1. Career Advancement Programs

An organization’s biggest and most precious investment is its employees. Yet, many organizations don’t invest enough in the development of their employees. A career advancement program helps sustain employee engagement, as employees are given the opportunity to progress both personally and professionally.

In addition, it helps nurture talent within the organization, reducing the time and costs associated with hiring outside employees.

A successful career advancement program should help employees set achievable goals and offer in-house training sessions. Toastmasters International, for example, is a communication and leadership development program that teaches employees to become more effective communicators.

  1. Corporate Image

Maintaining a strong, positive corporate image is important, helping you attract top talent to a growing team. The HR department plays a critical role in upholding an organization’s image:

“Specifically, you [HR professional] should think about how your branding is reflected in your recruitment efforts, workplace and involvement in social media,” – Tiffany Aller, ADP’s Spark blog.

Aller suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • If your branding revolves around innovation, does your company culture reflect that?
  • Are your branding campaigns focused on technology—and does your staff have access to the newest and latest equipment?
  • How is your company reflected on social media, both formally through company channels and informally through individual employees?”
  1. Performance Management System

To make goal-setting successful, you need to have a tracking system in place. Without an advanced performance management system, it’s difficult for employees to gauge their progress and stay motivated in reaching their goals. Not to mention, keeping track manually can get messy and is less reliable.

If you haven’t yet, invest in a performance management system that makes it easy for employees and managers to track and measure progress throughout the year. If you have trouble getting buy-in from decision makers, ask for a free 30-day trial of the product you like most. When your trial is up, you can show higher-ups the benefits, rather than tell.

Be a Modern HR Professional

Today’s human resource departments are responsible for much more than just hiring and firing employees. They play a strategic role in the day-to-day operations of the business, especially when it comes to employee engagement, necessary insurance, corporate brand and much more. When developing or updating your HR strategy or department, don’t forget these five important pillars.

To learn more about how to improve your HR strategy, check out this webinar recording Using Recognition to Drive Engagement – A Best Practice Guide with Scotiabank.

Learn More Red CTA Button

 

 

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Employee Engagement

Why Your CEO Doesn’t Care About Employee Engagement (Yet)

It seems that we can’t turn around today without having a conversation that touches on employee engagement. Yet despite all the attention, it hasn’t really moved the needle. In the time that Gallup has been measuring engagement, it hasn’t changed–engagement levels are hovering right around 30 percent. At the same time, Google data shows that there’s been a steady climb in searches and interest in the topic for the last five years.

But to what end? Many companies are trying to improve this measure with little or no success.

I’m going to offer two answers to this question that not only illuminate the problem, but give you some options to consider as you try to combat the problematic issue of disengaged employees.

Engagement Should Not Be an HR Program

The first response many leaders have when they get that annual feedback survey from employees to say, “Oh, no! Engagement is down. Let’s create a program to push engagement up!”

Good luck with that.

The truth is that employees are probably tired of your “programs.” Programs begin and end. A great employment relationship does more to drive engagement than a one-size-fits-all program that’s going to last a few weeks and fade into memory. Plus, as long as the company is meeting the basic elements of an employee’s needs financially, other factors come into play for influencing the level of engagement, according to motivational theory.

A large chunk of money isn’t even going to work, even though many companies can’t afford to offer that to each of their staff. More money has been shown to reduce dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t drive happiness or increased satisfaction for the employee.

The challenge is to see engagement not as a one-off activity, but as a holistic view of the employee experience. Being able to tie each of those disparate activities together into a cohesive experience that employees are proud of is a key element to ultimately driving engagement numbers. That means everything from the first moment the person applies for a job all the way through to managing work schedules, getting performance reviews, and beyond.

Every opportunity for interaction with the organization is either a plus or a minus in the engagement column, and while we can’t expect to win every battle every time, the goal is to keep that number going in a positive direction over time (and reaping the rewards of that increased engagement, which we’ll talk about below).

Engagement Should Not Be the Ultimate Outcome

Some leaders check engagement scores as if they were the latest sports scores, hoping for good things but feeling no control over the outcome. In reality, engagement is not the outcome we are shooting for–we are looking for something deeper and more meaningful. It’s time to change the way we think about this HR metric, because it needs to become a leading business metric. Consider the following examples of how engagement can lead to increased value for virtually any company:

  • Innovation. Companies everywhere are trying to create more innovative atmospheres for employees. But what if the answer isn’t open office space but a higher engagement score? Innovation is a key outcome of engagement. Research by Gallup found that 61 percent of engaged employees feed off the creativity of their colleagues, compared to a mere 9 percent of disengaged employees. In addition, it found that 59 percent of engaged employees believe their job brings out their most creative ideas, compared to only 3 percent of disengaged employees.
  • Retention. The only thing better than engaging our employees is keeping them around to deliver excellent results over time. Towers Watson research points out that retention is tied in with many of the factors that play into employee engagement, such as career advancement opportunities, confidence in senior leadership, and a manageable amount of work-related stress. Manage those factors well, and employees will stick around and produce results.
  • Revenue. In a discussion of concrete impacts, we would be remiss if we didn’t touch on the one that matters most to many organizations: the bottom line. There are several pieces of research that demonstrate the link between engagement and financial results. According to Towers Perrin research, companies with engaged workers have 6 percent higher net profit margins, and Kenexa research points out that engaged companies have five times higher shareholder returns over five years.

Each of these points helps to paint a more nuanced picture of employee engagement, establishing it not as a standalone program or an end result, but as a holistic journey towards greater business results. And that, ultimately, is how we can get the CEO, the leadership team, and the rest of the company on board with the idea of promoting and supporting engagement as a long-term business strategy.

Want to learn more about this topic and dig deeper into the concept? I’ll be leading a session titled Stop Measuring Engagement For Its Own Sake at the Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2017 event in New Orleans and I’d love to have you join me for the discussion.

Learn More Red CTA Button

 

 

About the Author
Ben Eubanks
Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst, Lighthouse Research
Ben Eubanks is a human capital management industry analyst who helps companies and vendors with strategy, content, and more. Ben has over seven years of tactical and strategic experience spanning all areas of HR and he is a nationally-recognized author and speaker on trends and best practices in human capital management. Ben is the principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory where he oversees the development of research, assets, and insights to support HR, learning, and talent vendors across the globe. Ben also co-founded the HRevolution conference for HR and recruiting leaders and is one of four members that holds this annual event, attracting hundreds of attendees from around the globe since its inception.

 

 

HR Best Practices

Four Daily Practices for HR Professionals

As an HR professional, you can have an incredible impact on the engagement and motivational levels of your leadership. Here are four daily practices that you can channel, guaranteed to help your managers succeed. Read more →