the employee experience and how it affects motivation in the workplace

Employee experience is the first step in the customer journey. With the help of employee motivation, that single step can define the company’s overall success. It’s time to say goodbye to the idea that employees are mere resources when they are fundamental driving forces.

the employee experience: explained

Employee experience is a differentiating factor in attracting talent, sustaining loyalty, and fulfilling an employee’s potential. Influencing key criteria – work-life balance, salary and benefits, and work environment – can create more significant meaning in your employees’ careers.

Studies consistently show that a positive employee experience translates into improved customer experience, an enhanced brand, and stronger profitability. There are many definitions of employee experience (also referred to as people experience). But what employee experience comes down to are three main factors: how employees work, the environment they work in, and how they feel about their job.

The how includes the manageability of their work and the support they receive, along with areas such as flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance.

The environment includes not only the physical workplace and the culture within it but also the virtual environment. This factor is especially critical when technology is central to how we work and more of our time is spent working remotely and on the move.

The feel includes relative motivation, a sense of fulfillment, and buy-in to the organization’s purpose and direction.

Employee experience can be determined through engagement surveys or job site ratings. While direct measurement of return on investment in employee experience can be difficult (one of the reasons why it often gets less attention than it merits), research has shown its impact on sales, productivity, and profitability.

why is employee experience critical?

Studies now consistently highlight the link between employee experience, business performance, and return on investment. Organizations that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than organizations that don’t.

Happy employees are 31% more productive than unhappy ones, resulting in 37% higher sales, not to mention all the health and well-being benefits of such satisfaction. And cutting to the bottom line, organizations that invest in employee experience are more than four times as profitable as those that don’t.

From a brand perspective, the strongest perceptions of employee experience obviously come from employees who live it day in and day out, which they routinely share with family and friends. And employee experience doesn’t just apply to the core workforce, but also flex-workers, contractors, and partners within increasingly extended talent ecosystems.

People outside the organization are also increasingly aware of and influenced by an organization’s EX. This may include people who’ve left the company after having had a poor EX. On the plus side, they could also be alumni with a much more positive perception.

So why does employee experience make such a difference? People want improved work-life balance, greater flexibility, and more meaning in their careers. Get employee experience right, and the result is improved productivity and the ability to attract quality staff.

are Indian companies capitalizing on the employee experience dividend?

With social media and job comparison sites putting employee experience in the spotlight as never before, the impact on the employer and commercial brand perceptions are potentially grave. Companies in India still have a long way to go, but many are getting there by meeting employees halfway.

One study focusing on workplace motivators and employees' satisfaction in India’s retail sectors revealed that the major motivators used by organizations to improve employee experience are working conditions, skill development, recognition, role clarity, career growth, and support management. The respondents rated compensation, work-life balance, and workload as low.

how can Indian companies mind the employee experience gap?

To capitalize on the employee experience dividend, companies and organizations should mind the employee experience gap. Employers’ offers must meet what the employees seek.

Employees seek

  1. work-life balance
  2. salary and benefits
  3. job security
  4. work environment
  5. training
  6. flexible work opportunities
  7. convenient location
  8. strong management
  9. career opportunities
  10. financial health

Employees Offer

  1. financial health
  2. latest technology
  3. job security
  4. career opportunities
  5. reputation
  6. salary and benefits
  7. interesting job
  8. work environment
  9. work-life balance
  10. environmentally responsible

how can Indian companies establish a winning employee experience?

If employee experience and customer experience are two sides of the same coin, what does it take to deliver a great employee experience in practice? At Randstad, we believe there are four key steps to getting your employee experience right and, crucially, reaping the dividend.

priority one: a culture that embraces employee experience as a brand enhancer and bottom-line benefit.

This step can be a cultural leap for many organizations accustomed to putting customer experience before EX. But the results are increasingly evident.

priority two: make work meaningful.

Creating work content that is highly compelling can make a real difference to EX. Employees must know that their position and contribution mean something to the company.

priority three: involve employees in designing their working environment.

Encourage your employees to help drive the design of your working environment to bring about employee engagement. This is far more than just break-out areas and comfortable surroundings, as important as these are.

Great employee experience design includes virtual as well as physical space. Priorities include building systems that help staff connect, free them from needless tasks, harness key data insights and hence achieve their goals. Useful capabilities coming into use include organizational network analysis tools, which enable your business to assess relationships, levels of collaboration, and how to enhance them.

Employee experience design also includes autonomy and empowerment in how your people work, along with the culture and mutual trust that underpins this.

priority four: involve employees in designing their working environment. 

Talent analytics can help you optimize engagement and talent performance. Backing this up with self-service capabilities such as instant feedback and on-demand training can not only improve employee experience directly but also provide increased data feeds for your analytics. Data analytics is no longer only owned by IT. HR capabilities are moving into the mainstream engagement apps that enable HR professionals to assess the behavior, expectations, and potential frustrations of employees. Results can be used to strengthen engagement and retention.

the relationship between employee experience and employee motivation

Putting employee experience in all its forms at the heart of your strategy can not only help your business to compete more effectively for talent that will deliver results to your bottom line but also create a more compelling commercial brand, attracting even more quality and motivated talent in a virtuous circle. An improved employee experience can produce motivated and productive employees.

how can employee experience improve motivation (and vice versa)?

However, establishing a winning employee experience is not straightforward as not all individuals respond to the same incentives. Line managers need to discover a positive trigger for each employee in their charge and identify why employees are not motivated. Unmotivated employees may soon leave the company, and this result may define how the company treats its employees.

identify why employees are leaving or feeling unmotivated

One reason may be the lack of performance recognition. Millennials and Gen Z employees find recognition of their work highly inspiring. This should be something your corporate culture strives to achieve throughout every department. If managers aren’t being encouraging, you’ll see motivation drop and loyalty wavering. It can be a downward spiral that can significantly hurt morale and your employer brand. Reward and recognition programs more than pay for themselves, so consider appropriate resources for them.

Another reason is work engagement. Are your workers’ skills aligned to their jobs? One of the most important ways of keeping your workforce engaged is making sure workers feel accomplished in their roles. New hires expect employers to appropriately use their skills, but that doesn’t always happen.

Organizations need to regularly assess the capabilities of their workers and the work they perform. Considering the rapid pace at which workplaces are evolving today, driven largely by digital transformation, you may be at risk of losing the attention of your workers. However, when stimulated and properly challenged in their daily routine, they will perform at a higher level and engage colleagues.

motivate employees

Here are ten ways to motivate employees:

  1. ask what they want out of work: knowing that a line manager is interested in an employee’s goals will make many feel better about their jobs
  2. consider each employee’s age and life stage: workers just starting on the employment ladder will be more focused on quick promotions than those who are already further in their careers
  3. match motivators to the organization’s culture: engineers may be motivated by working on cutting-edge projects while sales professionals use targets to measure how well they’re doing
  4. pinpoint personalities: some employees love public praise; others would much prefer quiet thanks
  5. use flexible working to makes employees’ lives more manageable and show them they’re trusted
  6. honesty, reliability, and security are the top three traits employees are looking for in their managers
  7. presenteeism is out, work-life balance is in
  8. offer help with career goals: when asking employees what kind of work they enjoy, find out what they’re hoping to do in the future. Opportunities to build skills and make connections needed to get ahead in their careers will build loyalty and motivation
  9. help employees learn new skills on the job: younger workers, in particular, realize that continuing to learn is the way to stay employable
  10. recognize that motivation isn't always the answer: if your efforts aren't working, it may not be your fault (the employee would really rather be doing something else, it may be best to encourage them to pursue something new).

avoid workplace demotivators

One, or more, of the following practices, is a certain way to demotivate your employees:

  1. pointing out an employee's mistake publicly rarely ends well
  2. if employees feel their hard work is unnoticed, they’ll wonder why they’re working so hard in the first place. Offer praise, privately and publicly
  3. after soliciting ideas, asking what employees think about a policy, or asking for a draft proposal, be sure to relay the results, even if there are no results. Failure to acknowledge input shows a lack of respect
  4. setting unachievable goals or deadlines
  5. failing to explain actions or sharing company data
  6. implied threats, especially to a whole team publicly, have the opposite effect when it comes to motivation
  7. not honoring employees’ creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  8. micromanagement is, perhaps, the worst demotivator. Employees need to feel trusted and valued to succeed - micromanaging communicates the opposite.

randstad’s stand in employee experience and motivation

Your employer brand is the most powerful tool you have in attracting and retaining the people that can make your organization a success. It’s not something you can dictate to the market. It is a conclusion the market draws based on the information you provide, the experience of your employees, and what the broader market says about you when interacting with your organization and employees.

With Randstad’s long and successful track record in delivering employer branding insights since 2000, our Employer Brand Research is the most comprehensive independent research on employer branding anywhere in the world. It provides unique insights into the world of work and gives an understanding of employee and job seekers’ drivers and motivations and can be utilized to shape your organization’s branding, talent attraction, and retention strategies.

If you would like to discuss the relative attractiveness of your sector or organization and find out how you can use the research insights to drive more effective workforce strategies in your organization, reach out to us.

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