7 common pitfalls to avoid in your employee experience programme
By Jack Davies, Qualtrics
December 5 2017 - For businesses, it's usually customers who get the spotlight when it comes to providing feedback on their interactions with the company or product. There are countless websites dedicated to sharing experience insights, whether that's hotels to avoid, plumbers to hire or restaurant recommendations.
As an employee, however, the ability to share feedback in such an open and honest way isn't anywhere near as common. Research from Qualtrics shows the extent of this issue, with four out of five employees finding they have a limited platform to provide views and insights; almost half (45%) of employers only ask staff for feedback once a year and a third have no formal process in place at all.
Employees simply do not have the same opportunities or platforms available to voice their opinions on their experience at work - from career satisfaction and progression, to colleague relationships and the work environment, or the equipment available to do their jobs.
Yet putting in place an employee experience (EX) approach is not enough on its own. For the companies that do have a dedicated programme, leadership and HR teams must ensure they have created the environment where staff feel confident about giving honest and factual information and that a process is in place to share this back in a positive way.
It's not easy, but by avoiding these common pitfalls you can make sure you are set to get the best from your EX programme:
- Irrelevant questions
It's important for staff to feel enthusiastic and interested in giving feedback. For such a programme to be as engaging as possible, the questions must be relevant to the employee as well as the business leaders. Regularly refreshing the themes that are covered ensures the questions are appropriate and reflect current priorities and key aspects of the organisation. This encourages employees to get involved and make their voice heard.
- Lack of trust in confidentiality
Getting 100% honest feedback from staff should be a priority for any employer. To achieve this, employees need to trust that their responses will be treated in the strictest confidence. If people believe a manager or another member of staff would be able to identify their responses, they may tone down their initial thoughts and feelings. This distorts the data and can impact negatively on the company as a whole; once confidentiality is compromised, it is hard to rebuild trust.
- Lack of transparency
If employee satisfaction scores come back lower than expected, it could be tempting for management to avoid announcing them for fear of adversely affecting morale. But, as with most things, honesty is the best policy. A frank conversation is always better than avoiding the subject or glossing over low scores that staff themselves know they have given; staff will respect this approach much more.
- Preferring high scores to honest feedback
In the business world, we are used to being regularly measured and assessed. In most of these situations, high scores are considered as the be all and end all, and it's an easy mistake to treat employee opinions in the same way. It's important for business leaders to remember that the aim of the exercise is to get honest and constructive feedback, not high scores. High scores mean there is no room for improvement, but that's seldom the case.
- Measuring managers by their scores
A common practice for many organisations is to measure managers by their engagement scores. This common pitfall usually leads to a less impactful engagement survey. It can encourage managers to pressurise other members of staff into responding more favourably or influence the way employees respond, as they know it will affect their manager's success. In either case, the results will be inaccurate.
- Poor change management
A lot of work goes into creating an employee survey and analysing the results. The changes that need to happen to make improvements do not always receive the same level of attention, however. Items that arise need to be specific and actionable, and it's critical that proper change management is in place so that leaders have sufficient support and materials to deliver on them.
- Delayed communication
If employees have taken time to engage with a survey, completed it and submitted it, they will be keen to hear the results. With the technology available today, there is an expectation that results can be published quickly. If there is a substantial time lag between survey and results - weeks or even months - the whole programme becomes distant, less relevant and even forgotten. This is a sure-fire way to reinforce any disconnect between your employees and management.