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Digital Transformation

How to get your Employee Experience (EX) strategy over the line

Written by
David Kelly

Looking to improve your employee experience but unsure how to get started? You’re not alone.

Employee Experience (EX) is crucial for the overall success and growth of an organisation. After all, a positive EX fosters a thriving work environment and enhances overall engagement and retention whilst building a strong company culture and ultimately driving your business objectives.

Talent shortages, the great resignation and sky-high burn-out rates are only intensifying the need to invest in the EX journey. Engagement surveys only reflect this, with employees screaming out for better communication, learning and progression gateways and more.

This explains why 47% of HR leaders cited employee experience as a top priority in 2023 (Gallup, 2023).

The dawn of the Employee Experience Platform (EXP) has given organisations the opportunity to reinvent their employee journeys from the ground up, yet organisations are still finding it difficult to get their EX initiatives off the ground.

Why are EX initatives difficult to get over the line?

If EX is a top priority, and there’s tools on the market that can support, why are businesses still struggling to get started with their EX strategy?

We’ve seen time and time again that many organisations want and need their employees to be engaged and perform, and the employee wants to do their best work and feel a sense of belonging, but because of the breadth of the EX journey, actually developing and implement a new EX strategy is a mammoth task. As a result, it faces a number of hurdles along the way which leads to a frustrated HR team that is unable to get their EX project over the line.

This includes:

  • Difficulty defining EX: It’s a broad and nebulous term that spans every touchpoint in the employee journey; making it difficult for HR leaders to know where to start.
  • Complex technology: After a certain level of growth, organisations begin to develop a complex layer of software, data, projects, information and policies which means it becomes difficult to have a true oversight of all the systems and information that impact EX, making it difficult to audit and optimise.
  • It’s not a one-size-fits-all concept: Every employee, and employer is unique which can make it a challenge for HR teams to develop a comprehensive strategy.
  • Lack of data and insights: To develop your EX strategy and track ROI, you first need to understand your current situation. There is no single metric to measure EX and requires data collection across several datasets, making it difficult to measure and analyse.
  • Slow implementation: Improving EX from start to finish will require significant changes in the way an organisation operates (think policies, procedures, leadership, culture and more) which can be time-consuming and resource intensive, especially for larger organisations.
  • Resistance: In some cases, other departments or leaders may not see the value in investing in an end-to-end EX initiative and may be hesitant to change their ways of working. Without that buy-in, it will be difficult to get started.

Start Small

Strategies for Success

Despite EX being a priority for many HR leaders, the challenges presented above mean that EX initiatives meet a lot of resistance.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom, and we’ve worked with several clients to get their EX journey started.

It’s about remembering that like any problem, the solution often lies in breaking it down into bite-size, manageable pieces.

 Evaluate by Business Case

Start with your business objectives and the job families that influence those metrics.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your exec team believe are the top 2-3 risk areas when it comes to hitting targets for the next year?
  • Which cohorts across your organisation have the biggest influence to the outcomes of those areas?

For example, if your business success is defined by net new logo acquisition, your sales team will play a big role but may not be hitting budgets. As a result, you might consider sales enablement to be your biggest business case.

Imagine you’re a scaling B2B SaaS business for example. If you can reduce time-to-productivity and quota retirement to even a single percent, that can equate to a significant uplift in annual recurring revenue (ARR). If done at the start of the year, it can have a huge revenue impact.

Similarly, if you’re about to embark on a major change programme, for example, a new division and office move as a result of some merger and acquisition activity. It might be that the success of one single project has a disproportionate influence on business success and is a focus area for the way the organisation communicates and brings together groups of people around a single topic.

You may then identify succession as a key risk to the medium-term business plan so investing first in the community tools and information experience will help to better promote the outcomes of their leadership programme across their middle management cohort.

Change agents and exposure

Whatever business case you choose, and assuming you have the ambition to progress beyond the first use case, it’s essential to think about that onward promotion.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your internal influencer carry influence outside of their core function?
  • Is the success of this first project something that can be seen and experienced by others?

When done right, the digital experience should be exceptional, and easy to share and adopt across the wider organisation for new use cases.

Clearly defined project goals and success metrics

Like any change programme, you will want to collect baseline data on ‘where you are today’, along with clearly defined goals and success metrics.

Think back to the business case evaluation and the type of metrics that your executive team monitors. How are you showing movement against that needle?

Ultimately, this is about enabling the business to perform better and mchange the focus to ‘business metrics’, rather than ‘something that just resides in HR’.

Adopting the right technology

As technology has developed, the ability to significantly improve your employee experience without needing to ‘rip and replace’ existing software investments means that organisations are now able to make significant strides.

A stronger emphasis on user experience, and creating integration layers can change the way your business approaches EX projects; allowing for quality, personalised communication.

Don’t forget, the quality and personalisation of your communications needs to mirror that of your customer communications for the best results.

If you’re looking to improve your employee experience but are unsure where to start, then speak to one of our experts today.

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