The Ingredients for Effective Employee Engagement

The Ingredients for Effective Employee Engagement

One of the core principles for success in the Experience Economy is “being human.” This concept involves understanding the situation human beings find themselves in – through no fault of their own – and then doing what you can to alleviate these circumstances and to help people strive to overcome them. That’s why it is so important to use this time to refresh your places, redesign your offerings, and renew your capabilities. Not only to offer value for your customers, but to give employment value for your workers and to give them a reason to work for you rather than some other business. It’s your employees who in the end create all the economic value for your enterprise.

Employee engagement is defined as a deep focus on transformation to support the workforce with experiences based on the entirety of the employee journey. For years companies have focused on employee satisfaction and loyalty, just as they have on customer satisfaction and loyalty – recognizing that these are in fact intertwined, that doing right by employees enables them to do right for customers. But satisfaction and loyalty no longer differentiate, representing the bare minimum in most every industry.

Harmonize people, process, and technology to affect an empowered workforce capable of delivering greater value to internal stakeholders, coworkers, partners, and customers. Too few companies embrace this link between employee and customer experiences, what is really a connected human experience. This stems from not yet ascending to the proposition that they are in the experience business.

The Time Element

Woman looking at her watch

Be sure to focus on saving employee time, not just company resources. It’s surprisingly easy to confuse the two, as when we think we’re being efficient by providing shared resources to a group of employees that in fact make each individual employee sacrifice their time. We are not saying instituting shared resources is the wrong decision, but you need to make sure you fully consider the burden of time it adds to your employees’ days, time that could be productively spent creating value for your customers.

Think of all the apps that provide on-demand services, such as Uber, Blue Apron, GrubHub, Fiverr, and so forth. Shouldn’t handling expenses be as easy as using Venmo? Why isn’t updating your CRM system as simple as swiping on Bumble? Why isn’t replacing the ink on that shared printer as easy as pressing an Amazon Dash button? Why isn’t replenishing all supplies as hassle-free as ordering from Instacart? Why isn’t finding an open conference room as smooth as summoning a car on Lyft?

Technology, of course, is the #1 enabler of saving time (customer or employee) beyond its ability to improve processes. However, the best and most updated technology does not necessarily equate to providing the best experience to your workforce. A deliberate and strategic vision aligned with user needs should be the catalyst to tech choices. Employees should be able to access exactly what they need when they need it – instant, seamless, and frictionless. That is the essence of time well saved.

But, as with customer experiences, the worst thing you can do is waste employee time. For the most precious resource in your enterprise is the time of individual employees. And yet companies waste it all the time. We have employees fill out forms of information we already have. We ask them to go through hoops to access tools they need to do their jobs effectively. We rely heavily on email when there are other forms of instant collaboration that would allow for more focused activity.

In fact, Tim Stahl, VP of Experience at Rightpoint, recently wrote about the “Seven Tenets of Successful Dispersed Teams During COVID-19 and Beyond”, and the first three relate directly to how much easier it can be to waste employee time when they are working remotely. Tenet three in particular, “Exhibit good meeting etiquette”, provides a set of best practices and guidelines to follow for not wasting time in meetings.

Where to Start

Person at the starting line

Now would be a good time to examine your employee processes, procedures, and technology to assess them purely from the standpoint of employee time. Where are you wasting employee time today, and how could you save employee time tomorrow? Eliminating time wasted and providing time well saved frees up employee time and company resources to offer remarkable experiences to your customers.

Just as your offerings start with the experience you envision for your customers – your employee experience should be experience-led as well. Start with the experience you envision for your employees, across all facets of their work and interactions, and then work backwards to ensure it is time well spent. Now more than ever, employee experiences are challenged with many factors we cannot always control – but can greatly influence. Robust experiences consider all aspects of the employee’s day – digital, cultural, and physical – and ensure they hit the sweet spot of educational, escapist, esthetic, and entertainment realms of experience. Cohesive experiences fit all the elements into an organizing principle (the theme, if you will) so everything hangs together throughout the experience, from front to back.

Whirlpool Corporation, for example, used theming brilliantly in redesigning its sales training. The company themed it after the old MTV reality show, “The Real World”, where young people are put into a house, not allowed to leave, and then the show films and edits all the interactions for audience amusement. Whirlpool themed its “sales immersion experience” as “The RealWhirled”, housing its sales trainees in a big residence where they, too, can’t go out to restaurants or laundry facilities – they must make their own meals and do their own laundry using the appliances they came to learn about. The ten-week experiential learning program for eight people at a time all occurs in the residence, and since the company instituted it in 1999 its retention rate has hovered around 50%, a huge gain over industry training programs.

When such a theme applies not just to a particular experience (such as training), but to the entire employee experience or even the entire company or enterprise, then it can rise to the level of a meaningful purpose, one that aligns the organization in its common pursuit. Personal experiences are customized to the individual. The more you customize its elements, the more personal and engaging the overarching experience. And the more you mass customize offerings the greater the scale and lower the cost. Every one of the on-demand apps mentioned earlier mass customize to individual need, while the smartphones used to summon them come out of the factory with only a little variety (differing storage, screen size, etc.). Yet they become unremittingly unique in the hands of everyone. For the simple reason that anything you can digitize you can customize, smartphone makers gain tremendous scale on manufacturing while the digital customizability enables every person to get exactly what they want.

And that level of mass customizing is what workers need in the employee experience. The consumerization of technology is one way of doing so. Consumer technology will always and forever stay ahead of B2B technology, and it also eliminates time wasted in not having to teach employees unfamiliar interfaces – or to put up with endemic crashes and back-level software. There are also a host of engagement platforms that necessarily address the needs and wants of individual employees.

What Steve Altmiller, former CEO of San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico (now President at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center), once told us about healthcare applies to every company in any industry creating experience value: “If you expect to be successful in individualizing the patient experience, you’d better get good at individualizing to the employee. Our entire patient experience redesign will start with an exclusive focus on the employee experience. We’re going to try to personalize everything from recruitment to retirement because we think it will do more than anything else to help our employees understand what we want for patients. And in these times of staff shortages and heavy competition for the best people, it would be a good strategy even if we weren’t planning on doing it for patients. As it is, we’ve come to believe that individualizing the experience will ensure our future success.”

Real Digital Transformation

Woman using a computer

Transformative experiences bring together the set of experiences required to help employees achieve their aspirations. An employee’s job and career can be transformative, especially when the experiences are deliberate and meaningful. When employees are connected to the company’s vision, goals, and especially purpose, they can see the how the roles they play fulfill and align with that purpose. That yields full engagement.

Maintaining that engagement often requires coaching. BetterUp bills itself as “The People Experience Platform for professional coaching, immersive learning, and insights designed for everyone”. Its transformational work for L&D – where employees of clients get to individually select a personal coach to help them in their own particular circumstances – is based on the platform’s 3-stage model of “Learning to Doing to Being”.

Transformation happens throughout an employee’s time at an organization by evolving role, skillset, and leadership qualities. Much like the relationship with a personal trainer, a robust L&D experience helps employees set goals, be held accountable, and feel personally connected to the journey of reaching those goals. Where experiences happen inside of us, transformations change us from the inside out.

While companies – whether in offerings to customers or engagement with employees – want to avoid time wasted, provide time well saved whenever necessary, and offer time well spent as value in its own right, recognize that transformations impart time well invested. The company and customer – or organization and employee – invest their time together so that the transformative experiences gain compound interest over time, paying dividends now and into the future.

The Cookbook

Employee engagement platforms that make it easy for employees to get the information they need to do their jobs is paramount. If an employee must go to various software platforms to get the information they need to do their job, their level of frustration will go up and they will be far less likely to use the “tools” available to them. This means that the data you collect on the employee portals will be faulty since they will be used less.

Intellective’s Employee Experience Pack sits on top of ServiceNow to deliver a personalized and unified employee engagement experience where you can integrate data across software platforms to deliver a world class employee experience. You can leverage the analytics inside of ServiceNow to gain insights on employee engagement since team members will be using the portals to get the information they need since it is now so simply.

Intellectives Employee Experience Pack

Below are some of the benefits you get from the Employee Experience Pack:

  • Replace legacy or expensive intranets in a matter of days or weeks
  • A built-in kudos app that makes it easy to recognize employees
  • Access information across the entire organization in one place using the EmployeeExperience Pack tools for ServiceNow
  • AI driven recommendations to personalize the experience
  • Contextual search to make it easy for employee to find what they need in one click
Click here to learn more about Intellectives Employee Experience