In today’s historically tight labor market, developing and keeping talent is now top of mind for business leaders—and becoming an employee experience leader can be the differentiator. New research from customer and employee experience firm Medallia and The Josh Bersin Company identifies three key practices that can help organizations deliver better employee experience.
“There has never been a more urgent need for companies to listen to and support their people. When managers understand and act on employee feedback, organizations continuously improve. When IT or HR operate in a vacuum to design solutions, the results often underperform,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst, in a news release.
Between March and July 2021, the firms surveyed employee experience professionals across more than 600 organizations. The resulting report, Moving Toward Employee Experience Excellence: Key Practices That Differentiate Employee Experience Leaders and Laggards, was designed to help understand the link between strong employee experience practices and positive people outcomes, such as employee satisfaction and engagement, and business outcomes, like revenue impact.
The team analyzed the characteristics that distinguish top performers (“leaders—those who scored in the top 10th percentile) from those at the bottom (“laggards”—those in the bottom 10th percentile), and explored how practices and outcomes differ between these two groups.
The study uncovered three key practices that distinguish and differentiate employee experience leaders:
1. Leaders capture timely data, using a diverse set of direct and indirect sources
More than half of laggards capture employee feedback only once a year or less. As a result, they risk basing decisions on outdated information and don’t give employees the opportunity to voice concerns throughout their regular flow of work.
- Text messaging—Leaders use a wide variety of channels to capture employee feedback. The difference between leaders and laggards is most pronounced in the use of text messaging. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of leaders use text messaging as a feedback channel vs. 6% of laggards.
- Use of unstructured data to collect employee feedback—Leaders are twice as likely as laggards to use internal community or collaboration platforms (as well as support requests or tickets) as sources of unstructured data to get feedback from employees.
EX leaders get feedback from their employees frequently and comprehensively:
2. Leaders do not shy away from difficult topics
On a five-point scale, leaders scored a 4.37 when asked if they agreed that they provide an environment where employees feel secure enough to be truthful with the information they share about the company; Laggards neither agreed nor disagreed, reporting a 3.06 out of 5.
- Diversity and inclusion—More than half of leaders survey employees on diversity and inclusion vs. a third of laggards.
EX leaders ask about rapidly changing and sensitive topics:
3. Leaders make employee experience part of their organizational strategy
Ninety-three percent of leaders have a dedicated employee experience team, compared to 59 percent of laggards. These teams are highly collaborative as 72 percent of leaders report that direct team leaders and people managers are highly involved in enterprise-wide employee experience initiatives, while only 18 percent of laggards say the same.
- Timely, proactive and data-driven action—Seventy percent of leaders use employee experience data for priority setting on a quarterly or monthly basis, recognizing the need to continuously understand their workforce and take data-driven action in the moment.
EX leaders set and communicate employee experience goals throughout the organization:
“Employee experience excellence requires companies to obtain a real-time, truthful picture of their employees’ perceptions and the often sensitive topics that matter most to them,” said Melissa Arronte, Medallia solution principal for employee experience, in the release. “They must then take proactive, meaningful action that is owned and supported by the entire organization. Those that do will recognize real benefits for their employees and their bottom line.”