“Work will never be the same after COVID-19”. That’s not a quote that needs looking up. It’s practically how all business articles written in the past 2 years began. In that time it’s quickly become a cliché, and reasonably so.

Increase your employee engagement

There’s no overstating the disruptive impact COVID-19 had on all of our lives. Most notably, it gave people time to wonder about who they are and what matters to them. Among other factors, this is what led to what Anthony Klotz named “the great resignation1”. People resigned to switch to other jobs or simply to take some time to decide on what to do next.

Makes sense, right? Suddenly, the 8 hours a day we spent in the office were completely changed and it gave everyone an opportunity to rethink their priorities.

But even though this resignation wave is happening, and everybody knows it, a lot of companies are still struggling to react to it. If you know your employees have been rethinking their work then you should know that it’s time for the management to follow suit. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain as research shows that when a company truly invests in the happiness of their employees, it always benefits the organization as a whole.

One report showed that companies with higher employee engagement enjoy 2.5 times higher profit margins than those with low engagement. Another report found that an increase in happiness resulted in a 37% sales increase and a 31% productivity increase3. After all, work is no longer just work. It’s more of a choice than ever, a reflection of ourselves. And when your employees are happy with their choice to work with you, everybody wins. Sounds simple enough, right?

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Sales increase resulted from increase in happiness

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Productivity increase resulted from increase in happiness

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Three elements to focus on

The Fjord 2022 trends4 also touched upon this resignation challenge and specified 3 elements companies should focus on:

  1. rethinking their benefits package to provide incentives better suited for remote workers,
  2. supporting the sense of community that organizations lost from working at a distance and
  3. providing a human experience for employees to keep their work engaging and stimulating

These are helpful focus areas to get you started but the real question remains; how? Each company is different and will need different solutions. But if you share our urge to get to the bottom of this and truly understand what makes workforces tick and hum, what keeps them happy and gives them a feeling of fulfilment, then you would benefit from learning more about Employee Experience Management (EXM).

Introducing Employee Experience Management

In short, EXM is all about thoroughly understanding the experience of your employees and acting on real insights from your workforce to provide a workplace and an environment which can make your employees happier. We can break down the process of doing this into these 3 high-level steps:

  1. The first step is to start gathering more feedback to measure your employee experience. During hiring, onboarding, monthly meetings, yearly reviews, resignations, organizations can learn what employees think about the culture, the digital tools they use, the fulfilment they get from their work, their physical workspace, all the way down to how they like the brand of coffee in the machine. Every little detail helps you craft a better working experience.
  2. The second step is to analyze the data and understand what you can improve. To do this we help our clients by creating different dashboards for different roles. Then the leadership team would get a dashboard with insights from the whole company and local managers would only receive insights into how their local team is doing. This way the right people are empowered with the right data so they can act with a more efficient usage of resources.
  3. The third step is to use those resources, decide how to tackle them and help people take the necessary actions. Depending on the insight, you might just be implementing a quick win, or you might have to take time to brainstorm long-term initiatives. An important last part of this step, which is often forgotten, is to make sure you know how to measure your success. We see that this step takes some time and guidance to get right but once you find the right KPIs and incentives, your employees will quickly experience the benefit of the work you put in.

This is how you get started

Now you know the high-level steps; but it’s important you also know the first steps.

We recommend you first define your strategic challenges: Where do you want to be with your employee experience in the future, and what areas do you want to focus on to get there? To give some examples, companies who blaze the trail regarding EXM generally focus on these areas: providing purposeful work, empowering employees, offering training programs, developing an inclusive workplace, considering perceptions of mental and physical safety at the workplace, and having the digital foundation of tools to enable all of the above for all of your employees.

Once you’ve defined your organization’s challenge, you can design the process for the “measure, analyze and act” steps. Rome wasn’t built in one day and the same, of course, goes for EXM. You can start small by running a pilot. But with the learning technology at hand today, scalable insights are right around the corner. Once EXM is up and running, you can continuously measure and adapt your programs where necessary, even while growing.

To support your people and processes, there are multiple EXM platforms available in the market. Commonly, their main functionalities include sending out surveys at the right time to the right employees, visualizing the data in smart dashboards to drive insights quickly, and providing support-based notifications to encourage appropriate behavior. Depending on your exact wishes, maturity and existing infrastructure you can choose the one that makes the most sense!

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Define your organization's challenges, then start designing the processes for "measuring, analyzing, and acting"

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Act now

Whether you’re a pioneer of the industry or a newcomer, you can start just as easily today by listening to your employees and tackling the hurdles they face in their work. If you encounter serious concerns that you require help with, decades of our knowledge in change is available to you. But if you can begin small and fix the minor problems ailing your workplace, you’ll already have happier employees than you did yesterday. And if that doesn’t look good on a balance sheet, nothing will!

If you have any questions or are interested to discuss this topic further, please reach out to us!

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Loek van der Graaf

HR Transformation & Delivery Consultant - Accenture Strategy & Consulting, The Netherlands

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  1. https://www.theversemedia.com/articles/anthony-klotz-defining-the-great-resignation
  2. https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/customer-experience-and-employee-experience-common/
  3. https://hbr.org/2011/06/the-happiness-dividend
  4. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-169/Accenture-Fjord-Trends-2022-Full-Report.pdf#zoom=40

Theo Enzing

UX Manager – Accenture Interactive, The Netherlands

Loek van der Graaf

HR Transformation & Delivery Consultant – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, The Netherlands

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