Human Resource teams are at a critical moment in the profession’s history. The mindset in the C-Suite has shifted from considering HR as a cost center to the realization that people are at the center of how we innovate. Our workforce, teams and managers are ultimately driving what’s new and different about our products, brands and customer experiences.
This week, on stage at X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, we heard from brands like Disney, Citi Group, Dropbox and Coca-Cola. Each one sees employee culture as a key differentiator and it is the driving force behind the product, brand and customer experiences for which they’re so admired.
But lately, we’ve been hearing about work culture for the wrong reasons. In fact, there has been more media spotlight centered around the negative and toxic effects of poor employee experiences than ever before. There is more scrutiny and attention on Human Resources to think differently. And as HR takes a new seat at the table, the pressure is on to get this right.
But why does this feel so daunting?
Put simply, it’s not because we didn’t know what we needed to do, it’s that the technology hasn’t existed to allow HR to work differently and deliver breakthrough experiences for every employee that would help the organization race to the top through Experience Management.
That is, until now.
Instrument the business with the right tools for X-Data
Think about the last time your senior leaders sat around the table to discuss the state of the workforce. You can bet the air was filled with Operational Data (O-Data) like attrition rates, ramp time and productivity.
But what about the Experience Data (X-Data) that drives those metrics? Could they explain what the employee experience was for different cohorts, say new hires for example, or what they could do differently to improve the experience for them?
It’s clear we need a small mindset shift, to move away from ‘the way we’ve always done it’ and a big technology shift that helps organizations to give X-Data and employee experience the same importance as O-Data at the top table.
Your most critical decisions won’t wait. Why should your data?
The traditional approach of an annual survey — design your questions, upload your employee data, run your survey, deliver reports and take action — just won’t cut it.
Could you imagine if we did that with our operational data? You’d collect it once a year, run a bunch of calculations, spend 6 weeks building a report and expect people to take action on it by the next time you collect the data again.
It’s time to put X-Data on the same footing as O-Data. Where once we had the ‘reporting phase’, we need always-on data, in people leaders’ and decision-makers’ hands so they can access employee insights instantly.
Must-have insights for managers, not enforced accountability
Making data more available is just the start — it’s essential too that we make that data digestible, and easy to take action on.
Again, it’s a small mindset shift and a big technology shift.
The old way – building custom reports for each manager, loading with as much data as possible, and then asking them to make sense of it…and do something about it – has been ineffective.
It’s not your managers’ fault. After all, the vast majority are not bad managers — they want to be successful and they want their teams to be successful.
But they often don’t know what exactly to do.
So instead of imposing accountability on our managers, we need to flip the model and give them must-have insights and actions that they will want to take.
We need to use technology to prioritize must-have insights and hand managers the tools to turn them into employee experience improvements.
Technology needs to put employees first
For the vast majority of organizations, success comes down to creating unique value and unique experiences.
And who creates that value, and delivers on those experiences? It’s your people!
So it’s essential that your EX program focuses on the place where that value is created – where your employees and customers meet.
However, the reality is that everything about the traditional survey is built around HQ – it’s organisation-centered. So when we only use the traditional survey approach, we create blind spots right in the heart of where your unique value is created.
So we need to shift our mindset, and flip tradition on its head to put the employees who are creating value first. Programs need to start from the most important experiences happening in the organization (and where you can get the richest insights)… your frontline employees.
Employee experience needs to be in your DNA
Your most critical decisions are not going to wait months for outdated reports – your data must be accessible when you need it, not just when you “run your survey”
Imposing accountability will not drive change. You need to empower managers with insights that are no-brainers to act on and give them the means to change.
And we can’t rely on organization-centered programs alone — we need more sophisticated instruments that allow us to become employee-centered.
These are the principles that underpin our technology and inspire our product development to help each organization build employee experience into its DNA.