One of the most popular approaches to EX was developed by Jacob Morgan, a specialist in workplace and corporate culture. Morgan argues that improving EX requires companies to make substantial, long-term changes to the organisation to create a ‘designed employee experience.’
The emphasis here is on carefully designing and crafting a workplace that enhances employee experience, rather than this type of workplace occurring spontaneously through small-scale change.
When it comes to measuring EX, Morgan argues that you have to evaluate three key features of the workplace. We’ll take a more in-depth look at these now.
The physical environment in which you have to operate has an enormous impact on how you feel, perform and engage with your work. From lighting to location, every aspect of the office stimulates a response in your employees, resulting in either a positive or negative shift in their performance and attitude. Consequently, you need to study the following features if you’re to evaluate the physical environment aspect of the employee experience.
- Location – how is the workplace accessed? Is it convenient?
- Layout – is the office enclosed or open? How are employees arranged?
- Privacy – how private (visually and acoustically) are workstations?
- Look – where is employee attention focused? How is the area lit? Is there a view?
- Size – how large is the space? How much of the space is filled?
A company that doesn’t provide its employees with the tools required to do the job is offering a sub-optimal EX. Assess your in-house tech and evaluate whether it meets the following requirements.
- Omnichannel – can information, employees and customers move seamlessly between channels?
- Automation – are relatively simple enquiries taken out of employees’ workflows by automation technologies such as Chatbots and IVR systems?
- Remote working – are employees able to access essential systems from remote locations? Is security sufficient to allow remote working?
The third and final part of this approach is company culture. However, company culture is notoriously difficult to define. While some define it as ‘the way employees behave when no one is watching’ (iOFFICE), others perceive it to be ‘patterns of accepted behaviour, and the beliefs and values that promote and reinforce them’ (Forbes).
However you define company culture, we believe its evaluation involves looking at the following factors.
- Transparency and communication – is open communication a priority?
- Accountability – are those who are responsible held accountable?
- Collaboration – how well do the different parts of the business work together?
- Flexibility and autonomy – to what extent are employees trusted to operate on their own and are they in a position to do so?
While the qualitative approach (more about that later) has long been favoured by organisations looking to measure EX, businesses have struggled to establish effective quantitative metrics. In large part, this is due to the abstract nature of ‘employee experience.’
However, there are several quantitative metrics now available to those who want to follow a ‘hard-data’ approach and avoid (or complement) the greater subjectivity of qualitative measurements.
Absentee and attrition rates are one way of establishing how engaged your employees are and can also contribute to your EX measurement. Statistics show that companies with engaged employees see a drop in absenteeism of 41% and register a fall of 59% in employee turnover (Forbes).
Productivity metrics can also be used to measure EX, as engaged employees are 22% more productive (Harvard Business Review). This means your key productivity metric(s) – whether it’s words per minute or enquiries resolved – can be used to measure EX.
Just as NPS can be used to measure the customer experience, it’s also pretty handy when it comes to EX. This metric is usually calculated by sending a digital survey out to employees.
Qualitative approaches can be useful in revealing an employee’s state of mind, how they approach work and how they perceive their employer.
However, there are a number of drawbacks to this type of measurement. First and foremost, it depends on your interviewee being completely honest. Results can also be coloured by the fact that dissatisfaction is generally a stronger sensation than satisfaction. This means that a considerable amount of positive sentiment is often overwhelmed by a much smaller, though far more potent, sense of dissatisfaction.
That being said, the following metrics are regularly used to measure EX and often produce useful and actionable data. Qualitative data is usually collected via interview or survey.
Here you’re looking at the amount of energy and vigour an employee invests in their job and how they feel about work. Interview questions dealing with this subject may include:
- Do you enjoy the day to day work you complete?
- Most mornings, how do you feel about the thought of coming to work?
- What is your purpose in coming to work?
Examines how immersed employees are in their work. Greater immersion is a sign of engagement and better EX.
- When working, do you feel that time passes quickly or slowly?
- What about your work is most absorbing and engaging?
Looks at how dedicated an employee is to the organisation and their work. Dedication is a sign of loyalty and an indicator of how content they are with the EX. Consider asking:
- What are your long term career goals?
- Do you see a future for yourself at this organisation?
- If a similarly paid role at another business became available, how likely would you be to move?
If you’re to achieve a comprehensive account of the EX and measure it accurately, you’ll likely achieve better results if you combine aspects from the three approaches we’ve discussed above. All three have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, so mixing and matching metrics from each, should give you a more accurate overall picture. It’s also important to remember to consult with staff about how to measure EX. After all, they’re the ones who understand the frontline employee experience best!