Employee experience has always been important, but as new research links it to financial performance (1), more and more companies are turning to employee experience software to help them retain and engage their people.
Employee experience is now a key focus area for progressive, high-performing teams - instead of asking, “how do I motivate my employees to work harder?”, they ask, “how do I support people to do their very best work?” These questions may seem similar, but leaders can gain a huge competitive advantage by recognising the subtle differences.
How Employee Experience Software Helps Design the Employee Journey
Employee experience is about designing the employee journey, from onboarding through milestones and promotions, all the way to offboarding, so that your people have the best possible chance of success. It’s about providing the support, guidance, trust, recognition, constructive feedback and growth opportunities necessary for employees to do well. And, of course, maintaining a positive work environment and promoting a healthy work-life balance is key to this.
With all of these elements to track, it’s no surprise that many companies turn to an employee experience platform for employee experience management. But it’s not a case of signing up and letting the platform to do all the work for you. Leaders also need to work with their people to identify the supports that matter most.
Employee experience software tools are an important part of the puzzle. For many teams, digitising the process is what takes employee experience from OK to great.
Today, we’ll talk through the top employee experience tools that your teams should consider. But remember, in order for employee experience to have the desired effect on performance, engagement and retention, you need to include your people in the conversation.
Employee experience influences everything from employee retention to customer satisfaction and revenue.
Let’s look at some of the benefits we can expect to see in companies with great employee experience:
1. High Employee Engagement
While employee experience and employee engagement are not the same thing, they are intrinsically linked - research shows that, when people have a positive experience at work, they’re more likely to be highly engaged (2).
2. High Financial Performance
Having linked great employee experience to high engagement, we can expect these companies to show greater profitability, too - one study predicts 23% higher profitability for companies with highly-engaged teams (3).
3. High Customer Satisfaction
Researchers have also linked employee engagement to quality of customer service. One study by Gallup found that organisations with highly engaged employees have higher customer satisfaction scores compared to those with low employee engagement (4).
4. High Retention Rates
Along with lack of career advancement opportunities, toxic culture is shown in research to be one of the biggest drivers of employee resignations (5). In short, employees are more likely to stay in a company with great employee experience.
When leaders set out to improve employee experience, they usually have three goals in mind:
1. Create a positive work environment and thriving company culture in which all employees can succeed
2. Improve employee productivity and, in turn, performance
3. Improve employee retention and attract top talent
These goals are interlinked - for example, we saw above how thriving company culture leads to greater profitability - but leaders may be more interested in some than others. The most important thing is to clearly define your goals before kickstarting any new initiatives.
As we discussed in the introduction, there are lots of things leaders can do to build and maintain great employee experience.
1. Take an employee-centric approach to decision-making.
Progressive leadership teams view their people as their greatest asset. They practice empathy, and actively work to understand their employees and satisfy their needs. They also trust that initiatives that have a positive impact on employees will have a positive impact on the business.
2. Foster a culture of continuous feedback and recognition.
Research shows that employees crave praise and recognition, but they also crave the kind of high-quality constructive feedback that helps them improve (6). A dedicated feedback tool like Frankli can really help promote feedback at all levels of the organisation.
3. Provide career development opportunities.
We know that lack of career advancement is one of the greatest influencers in an employee’s decision to leave their company (7), so it’s fair to conclude that career development is key to employee experience. Employee development programs show your people that you’re invested in their growth, and help them pursue wider career goals while remaining in the company. Read more about how employee development impacts experience.
4. Prioritise work-life balance.
Employee wellbeing is easy to neglect, but incredibly powerful when you get it right. Companies can invest in employee work-life balance by offering benefits like flexible work and wellbeing assistance programs, but also by promoting dedicated 1:1 meetings on work-life balance among employees and managers.
Software alone can’t transform employee experience at your company, but with the right investment of time and resources, an employee experience platform can yield major benefits.
1. It builds everyday rituals that improve employee experience.
The best employee experience platforms use notifications to guide your people towards research-based best practices, consistently. For example, your employees might be gently reminded to send a colleague some praise, while your managers are prompted to hold a dedicated wellbeing chat with their direct reports.
2. It streamlines employee experience management.
An employee experience platform provides a central hub from which to manage several aspects of employee experience, like feedback, surveys and employee development. Having all these employee experience tools in one place saves time and effort for HR and leadership teams.
3. It personalises the employee journey.
One of the biggest challenges with employee experience is making people feel valued, which is particularly difficult in a large organisation. The best employee experience platforms are people-focused by design, with personal dashboards to give employees a clear sense of how the tools can help them grow, improve and be happier at work.
4. It helps leaders gather insights on employee experience.
If your employee experience platform includes a survey tool, you can use this to gain specific, detailed information on what your people would like to see more of - and less of! - at your company.
5. It helps leaders track employee experience over time.
The best employee experience platforms generate employee data that illustrates how their people are feeling about work. Read about the 7 best metrics to track.
An employee experience platform can have a transformative impact on your business, but only if you a) choose the right one and b) invest time in embracing the platform.
Here, we’re going to help with the first part.
1. Customisation and Flexibility
Every company has unique needs and requirements when it comes to employee experience.
Look for employee experience software that offers customisation options, allowing you to tailor the platform to meet the specific needs of your teams. For example, you might like to start with 1:1 meetings and feedback, and keep the career development tools switched off until you’ve established some new routines.
2. Employee-Focused Approach
An employee experience platform is only useful if employees embrace it, too, alongside managers and leadership.
The best employee experience software is designed with the employee’s interests in mind, and makes this clear from the very first login. The platform should feel like a welcoming, inspiring space where employees can go to further their own goals, as well as the goals of the company. Not a cumbersome tool that turns everyday tasks into chores.
3. Action-Oriented Workflows
Asking employees for feedback and neglecting to action their responses does nothing to improve employee satisfaction - in fact, it has the opposite effect!
The best employee experience platforms help you quickly turn ideas into action points, assigning task owners and setting deadlines with reminders, so the important work of improving employee experience actually gets done.
4. User Friendliness
Of course, we want all of our tech tools to be easy to navigate, but this is particularly important with employee experience software, where high adoption rates are key to its success.
5. User Support
When launching a new tech tool, top-tier customer support can be a lifesaver, but all too often, users are left to figure the platform out on their own.
Look for a platform with excellent user support, and make sure your people know exactly where to go if they run into technical issues.
Every employee experience platform offers a different set of tools, so it’s important that your chosen platform offers a) the specific tools you’re interested in and b) tools that integrate with each other for maximum impact.
When it comes to employee experience, research suggests the following tools will have the most positive influence: goal-setting, feedback, employee surveys and employee development.
Look for a platform that connects with tools your teams already use. This makes it so much easier to form new habits that positively impact employee experience.
For example, Frankli’s Slack integration allows teams to give, receive and store feedback within their company’s workspace, and review and reference that feedback later in the feedback, 1:1 meeting and review spaces.
8. Security and Data Privacy
Employee data is particularly sensitive, so it’s important to prioritise the security and data privacy aspects of the employee experience software.
Look for software that offers robust security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, and complies with relevant data privacy regulations, such as GDPR.
9. Scalability and Pricing
When comparing pricing, it’s important to look to the future. Will your platform of choice still offer a high return on investment in 2 years’ time, when the employee-base has doubled in size?
Don’t forget to consider any hidden costs, which can appear for integrations, customisation and additional features.
1. Forbes, Does Corporate Culture drive financial performance? 2. Deloitte, The employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond. 3. Gallup, Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction and Organizational Culture. 4. Gallup, State of the American Workplace 2017. 5. MIT Sloan, Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation. 6. Wakefield Research, The Growth Divide Study. 7. McKinsey, The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?