The poet Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel!”
If the experience of Microsoft Japan is any indication, she might be right. According to recent news reports, over the summer Microsoft reduced its work week to just 4 days, giving staff a welcome 3-day weekend along with their full five-day salary, which understandably made everyone feel great.
The business impact was also stunning, although it wasn’t what most people might have expected. Instead of suffering a drop of 20% due to losing one work day, Microsoft’s appreciative and motivated staff boosted productivity by a whopping 40%.
To me, the Microsoft experience is a demonstration of the difference between understanding O – operational issues, such as how a company responds with human resources investments, business processes and organizational culture. And X – the experience that is built on a variety of moments during which an employee’s relationship with a company is made or broken.
Or to put it another way, it shows what can happen when a company finds a way to bridge the so-called “experience gap.”
EX is the next big thing in business
According to some management experts, Employee Experience (EX) management is the next big critical innovation for businesses. And for good reason. As IDC VP Lisa Rowan points out, “You can’t deliver great customer experiences without focusing on your people and delivering great employee experiences.”
The statistics support that view. Companies that invest in their employee experiences enjoy 4x the average profit and 2x the average revenue. Good EX practices can also lead to up to 18% greater revenue per employee, 15% more productivity and up to 30% higher customer satisfaction levels.
Workers with a positive view of their working experience also tend to show up at the office more often than less satisfied staff, who may be prone to “taking a sickie.” Research suggests that companies that focus on EX excellence can experience a 41% reduction in absenteeism than the average organization.
In addition, it looks like there might be few better ways to encourage staff to say positive things about a business than through managing their experience. In fact, EX-positive employees are 12x more likely to publicly advocate for their employer.
A “digital open door”
Managing employee experiences is not about pinpointing a single event or moment.
People leaders need the ability to collect feedback at every moment that matters and take action to close those experience gaps. That means using a wide range of employee listening mechanisms across a variety of engagement channels to create a “digital open door.”
For example, with SAP SuccessFactors human capital management solutions, you have rich people data and transactional HR data, so you can know what is going on with regard to your workforce. This includes information such as how many candidates are accepting or rejecting offers, which employees are leaving the organization, and how fast it takes to get to full productivity for new hires.
Combine this operational data with experience data from Employee Experience Management solutions from SAP like Qualtrics, and you can understand the “why” behind what’s happening across your organization. This begins by understanding the beliefs, emotions, and intentions that influence candidates accepting or rejecting offers; that influence employees leaving the organization; and which increase or decrease the effectiveness of new hire training, development, and time to productivity.
But, whatever, tool you choose to use, the fundamentals are the same. Powerful experience data and operational data is the key to unlocking insight into which behaviors are trending across your organization and the sentiment behind them. And learning about what’s happening within individual teams, and which levers you need to pull to increase engagement, shape culture, drive development, and create a motivated and productive workforce.