At one of my previous assignments where the organization had presence in close to 150 countries across the world, the think tank of HR came up that the single biggest problem statement that needs to be addressed was to provide a unified employee experience. This was the first thing we should tackle in our path of HR digital transformation.
It was proposed that we design an HR chat bot which would provide quick and accurate resolution of employee queries and enable employees to do some basic HR transactions through an intuitive, conversational virtual assistant. We worked tirelessly evaluating the design, partnering with HR stakeholders to create the right scope and the appropriate user journey etc.
This got launched successfully and employees started using it wholeheartedly. There was wide appreciation of the tool, its accuracy and simplicity of use and access. Top leaders acknowledged the product and applauded the work done in delivering a tool which had allowed all employees across all parts of the org to have a similar experience. Analytics showed uptake month on month and there were discussions on how to enhance the product scope further.
And then Covid happened….
…Business saw a substantial decline with the leadership proposing a series of cost saving measures to ensure business stability and survival… What ensued was a series of discussions which finally led to the decision that the HR chatbot services would no longer be required. It was a cost which we could avoid in these difficult times. What we as a project team realized that there were no concrete metrics where we had been able to quantify the benefit this virtual cognitive employee (HR chatbot) was delivering to our business.
Gartner* describes Employee Experience as
Employees’ perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with their employer’s customers, leaders, teams, processes, policies, tools and work environment.
What is employee experience?
These employee experience factors needs to be measured objectively and its ROI arrived it to ensure its sustenance and survival in a world where each dollar spent needs to be justified.
This leads to the classical dilemma of the HR function?
- How do HR functions continue with their focus on delivering value to the employee while keeping cost constraints in mind?
- Even as organizations are forced to shed jobs and dramatically tighten their purses, what initiatives can help retain and drive performance and productivity in their employees while delivering a superlative employee experience?
The solution is to measure and portray the value – visible and clearly linked to business impacts. The four key employee experience metrics which HR and digital teams could track is:
- Employee Effort Score
- Employee Immersion score
- Employee Net Promoter® Score (eNPS)
Let’s take an example of how we can quantify one of these metrics say the Employee Effort score.
Creating an employee experience is the first step towards delivering a customer experience that is both profitable and sustainable. One of the main pillars defining employee experience is the effort they need to put in.
Here we are not talking about the effort that the employee puts into his or her work every day- those are actually his deliverables. I’m referring to the effort it takes for the employee to do his job, i.e., are there processes or tools that hinder their ability to do their jobs in an efficient manner?
- Does the HR ecosystem make it easy and intuitive to access key documents, processes, transactions which enable an employee to just focus on his work without having to bother about the extraneous transactions which are however needed- e.g. leave management, reimbursements, tax documents submissions and many more.
- We often times spend valuable man-hours (for lack of better word) in getting these “admin” issues done while losing time, energy and passion in the process.
- The quantifying of these “man-hours saved” when summarized for ALL employees over EACH DAY reaches a number which is not just terrifyingly mammoth but inspiring as well – that’s the Value add HR function can work towards.. any reduction in such man-hours (person hours) is what will impress any CXO and this one number will justify the spend made in HR tools and digital ecosystem.
Also, if you think closely, you realise that this is directly related to Customer service too- Coz when we make it difficult for employees to do their jobs, it translates to the experience they deliver for their customers. Even if the task the employee is trying to do is not directly related to a customer and his experience, the frustration that effort evokes will manifest itself in the employee-customer experience somehow.
Then why aren’t we measuring and understanding the employee effort like we do with Customer Satisfaction Score? We could ask employees a variation of the questions like:
To what extent do you agree with the following statements (Do notice we are not saying its HR initiative but company led)
- The company made it easy for me deliver the desired customer experience
- The company made it easy to perform my daily tasks.
- the company made it easy for me to help my customers
- How many hours do you spend working on admin activities which aren’t linked to customer service ( 0-10mins/between 10-30mins/ more than 30mins)
- Do you feel the recent tool X has helped you reduce the time spent in earlier question?
- If yes, then by what percentage has this reduced (10%/ 20-50%/ More than 50%)
We should leave some sort of comment field on top and perform text mining and sentiment analysis on it to get insights in comments.
So this is what we would call the Employee Effort Score (EES). Off course employee engagement is not exclusively linked to employee effort. A combination of EES, Employee Immersion Score and eNPS system makes the HUMAN-side of your business more transparent and should be incorporated as key metrics that we track on an ongoing basis and aim to improve.
These analytics would help provide a clearer picture on the impact and efficacy of the HR programs being delivered on ground. These help build trust in the initiatives and its value which is crucial for its long term sustenance and continued buy in.. not just by decision makers but also by employees.
An important lesson learnt is that deriving these metrics and monitoring them is as important as conceptualization and delivering the product itself.
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