Speaker 1 00:00:12 Hey everyone. This week I want to talk about decoding the secrets of employee experience because this is a huge, huge topic as we deal with hybrid work and back to work policies. And we are just introducing a massive research study we completed in partnership with Microsoft on the topic which we're offering at no charge. What we really did during this study is we looked at 80 or 90 business practices that impact employees, and DAK ranked them based on statistical correlation to profitability, growth, and innovation, and came up with some findings that are very interesting and also to some degree obvious, but very important. And let me go through them now, the the first thing I want to just start with is, what is this all about? Employee experience is an outgrowth of the employee engagement industry, which is quite old, and it goes back to industrial engineering in the late 18 hundreds actually.
Speaker 1 00:01:05 And in the original concepts we had industrial engineers studying workers and figuring out how much weight they could carry or how tall the equipment should be and so forth. And then in the 1920s and 1930s, Carl, Carl Young and Freud started to do psychological surveys of people at work and found that actually feelings and relationships and various human issues were just as important as the physical issues. And we started the engagement industry. And the engagement industry was about a billion dollar industry when I got involved in it. And it's now much, much bigger than that. And it was always designed around surveys and listening and feedback. And of course what happened in the mid two thousands is we went to always on feedback or instant feedback, and I think the like button in Facebook and Yelp and a lot of consumer tools for feedback opened up the aperture for feedback tools at work.
Speaker 1 00:01:58 And now we do pulse surveys and statistically correlated weekly surveys, daily surveys, Microsoft samples sits employees and sends a survey to every employee two or three times a year in various different small groups based on statistical sampling. And we're entering a new world, which is I think the world of design, designing work, designing work experiences, designing the workplace, designing jobs so that the people doing these jobs feel engaged, productive, successful, and of course profitable for the company and great for the customer. And that's what EX is. It's an outgrowth of the early days of industrial engineering. That said, where we are today is most companies are urgently working on this because the job market has become so competitive that if people aren't happy with your company, they'll just go find another job. And if you don't believe me, look at the statistics. In April of this year, 2.8% of the American workforce voluntarily left their jobs.
Speaker 1 00:02:55 That was 4 million people out of 160 million workers in May. It was a little bit lower, but not that much lower. And that essentially indicates this level of empowerment and freedom that people feel in their work. And at the same time that's going on, restaurants are opening, and hotels are opening, and events are opening, and companies are looking for drivers and healthcare workers and engineers and scientists and customer service people. So there's a lot of desire to make the work experience better inside of companies so the people won't leave. And so the people will wanna come work for you. Now, some new research just came out over the last couple of weeks from Deloitte that I wanna highlight before I get into the findings of our study. And it was from Deloitte's millennial survey, which was 21,000 respondents, but it's mostly people under the age of 40, which is more than half the workforce actually.
Speaker 1 00:03:46 So it's a pretty representative sample of what's going on. And what they found was some things that are really important to consider. First of all, more than half of the people surveyed feel they're under high levels of stress all the time, driven by the pandemic, driven by work. Now they feel engaged, they're not unhappy, but there is a lot of stress. There's a high degree of dissatisfaction in the workforce with the mission and purpose of companies in general. Income and equality is cited as a high priority, less than half, but close to half of the respondents believe that global warming is a challenge where we have already gone past the tipping point. A very significant number of the respondents feel that systemic racism is embedded in business and in corporations and in society, and that companies are not doing enough about it. In fact, almost half of the respondents said that their company, their company, their employer discriminated against them in the last several years.
Speaker 1 00:04:46 And about a quarter of them said, it's happened recently this year. So the workforce that was surveyed, and I'm not saying it's everybody, but it's certainly representative, is essentially asking for business to be more responsible, to be more human centered, to be more caring, and to focus on a sense of inclusion. And inclusion doesn't mean diversity and inequity programs. It means feeling that you can be yourself at work. And one of the things I wrote about in the article that I'm publishing this week that I think is worth considering is the way our society has changed in terms of what you're expected to do when you go to work. I'm in my mid to late sixties and entered the workforce in 1978, and I remember it was all about conformity. Find a company, look at the job you want, become that job, become that company, hit your wagon to that company's career path and hang on for the ride and everything will be good.
Speaker 1 00:05:43 And actually, that worked out fine for us in the seventies and the eighties. And so we all really focused on conforming to the company's standards, the standards of the businesses that we were in or the individual organizations. I wore a coat and tie to work a white shirt, button down shirt every day for 10 years and never minded it a bit. I actually liked it. It was like a, it was almost like a uniform. Well, we are now in the opposite of that where everybody in society, particularly young people want to be individuals. They want to be different. They want to be standouts on Instagram, they want to have their own tos. Uh, people are selecting their own genders, hairstyles are all over the place. Tattoos, I'm not judging anything against any of that, but it's an indication of how everybody is trying to find a way to express their individuality.
Speaker 1 00:06:35 And they of course know they need to conform the practices at work, but they want their employer to respect and honor their individual differences. And that's really what d e I is all about. Inclusion is not just about pushing more women and black or Asians into higher levels in the company, that's part of it. But a lot of it is just respecting the fact that everybody matters and that everybody deserves respect regardless of how they're dressed or their gender or how old they are or what country they come from or their political backgrounds. And that creates belonging. And as you see from the research we're launching, belonging is a huge driver of vx. So with that as the context, let me tell you about the research. We studied the research based on a framework I've developed over many years, which was originally called Simply Resistible.
Speaker 1 00:07:23 Now we call it the irresistible organization. And I am working on a book on this, by the way. And there are six or seven key dimensions. The first is the work itself, the job, the second is management and the role of managers and supervisors. The third is the work environment, the workplace. Fourth is the health and wellbeing of your job and work experience. The fifth is your opportunity to grow. And the sixth is your leadership and your sense of trust in leadership. And the seventh is really another area we studied, which is the technology infrastructure that supports all that. And so we looked at about 80 different practices in those seven areas, and we very carefully surveyed close to a thousand companies and correlated their maturity in these different practices and investment in these different practices versus their financial and business outcomes. And what we found was there's a lot of options.
Speaker 1 00:08:16 Of course, there's no limit to the number of things you can do to try to make employees lives better. You can have hundreds and hundreds of perks and wellbeing programs. You can have unlimited vacation. You can give people bonuses and stock options. You can pay them a lot, you can give them flexibility, you can let them work from home, you can promote them more regularly. I mean, there's just almost everything in HR and management has something to do with this. But what we've found as we correlated this data was some things that I've known for many years but really come out statistically. And they're very much in con, in congruence with the research from Deloitte. The first is of all the things that you can do, including buying new tools and spending lots of money on software, the one that matters the most is a sense of trust.
Speaker 1 00:09:01 Trust in the company, trust in leadership. And by the way, the great place to work guys came to the same conclusion after many years of studying employee engagement. And so what is trust? In our study, there were three things that came out that define this. The first is a company that defines its mission and purpose beyond financial goals. And lemme take a minute on that. Why do businesses exist? They don't exist to make a profit and pay money to shareholders or management or employees. Despite what Milton Friedman said, they exist to solve problems. Now, you know, there are different problems to solve. Some of the problems are very tactical, some of them are very ethereal. But ultimately, if you're not solving a problem, nobody will buy from you or somebody will buy from someone else and you won't have a very good company. So what the employees want to know is what are we here to do?
Speaker 1 00:09:51 Why are we doing this? Are we just a bank selling credit cards to what end? And the more you can define the mission and purpose of your company in a way that people relate to it, the better they're gonna feel about getting up every morning and coming to work. So that's number one. Number two is trust and transparency from leadership leaders, whether you like it or not, have an very, very large impact on everybody, including those of you in HR who are business partners and other roles. Because you're, you're always viewed as as authority figures and your ability to listen to care to do things well and to act in an ethical way is critical. That's why when somebody does something unethical, there's such a huge impact on employee engagement or brand because the trust factor goes away and it's hard to rebuild trust. So that's number two.
Speaker 1 00:10:41 The third is continuous investment in people. Now, every company goes through bad times. I've been through a lot of economic recessions. I've been laid off myself. I've had to lay people off. There will be times when the company doesn't have a lot of money. There will be times when the company has to furlough people or let them go like we just went through. And people will look very carefully at what you do during those times and they will very look very carefully at what you do when you have good times. Where's all the money going when the company's doing well? Are people getting more investments in training and education and travel and job mobility and pay and bonuses and rewards and workplace design that is very widely respected in organizations and has a huge impact on employee experience. The fourth area that comes up very high in our research is this sense of belonging.
Speaker 1 00:11:30 And I mentioned that earlier, belonging, inclusion, diversity, equity, they're all related. But I think belonging is a central piece when a sense of belonging means you get up in the morning and you go to work and you feel like you belong there. The team you work with is your friends, or at least they respect you, you respect them, you understand each other, you can speak up, you can raise an issue, somebody will listen. There's a sense of psychological safety. We don't have to hide our feelings because we're afraid what somebody's gonna say. In fact, interesting thing in the Deloitte study, almost 25% of the respondents said they took time off during the pandemic, but did not tell their employers that they were stressed out because they were afraid of the repercussions of their communication. Well, that's not a sense of psychological safety. So that's a big part of ex two.
Speaker 1 00:12:21 Now there's a few other areas that I wanna mention. Job mobility and growth comes up very high. When people leave companies and you have exit interviews, you, you'll often find that the common theme is quote, I wasn't going anywhere. There was nowhere for me to go. I wasn't growing. I was stuck in a dead end job. Growth and internal mobility and continuous development and rotational assignments is a huge opportunity area for employee experience, appreciation and recognition score is very high. We did a study on recognition many years ago, we're redoing it again now. And we found that companies that have high recognition cultures have a 60% lower voluntary turnover rate. And that doesn't mean giving people bonuses. It means thanking them and genuinely appreciating them for what they do. That's a human management discipline that you can include in your culture and in your role.
Speaker 1 00:13:14 Modeling as an organization. Management development scores very high. Every company is always promoting new people into leadership. Discipline specialists and experts and subject matter experts become managers. And when they become managers, they suddenly have a new job and they don't always know what it means to be a manager. And all the very tricky things that will happen. Management development and continuous focus on supporting managers and the wellbeing of managers scores very high. So does having small teams. People like to be part of a small team, they like to be part of a small group. So as you read through the report, you'll see a little bit more about how these things work. What about technology? I mean we, we did this report in partnership with Microsoft and although they didn't really affect the study, they clearly have a lot of interest in the topic. Well, what we found out about technology is there is a big impact of technology.
Speaker 1 00:14:06 It does matter. People are very frustrated and held back by poor experiences in their technology environment and poor tools. But the relative impact is lower than these human factors. So what I concluded, or what we really concluded is technology. And by the way, pay as well are in a sense hygiene factors. A hygiene factor is something that if it's bad, it hurts, sort of like cleanliness. But if it's good, it doesn't make life that much better. So you need to neutralize the negatives as opposed to accentuate the positives. Now, I'm not saying you can't go positive with technology, self-service technology nudges, tools like Microsoft, Viva Insights, wellbeing apps, intelligent self-service development tools are very, very, very widely loved at work. And so they definitely have a positive impact on employee experience. But the part of the ex technology that matters the most according to our research, is listening in analytics systems for feedback systems that capture, uh, opinions, recommendations, uh, suggestions by employees systems that take that information and analyze it and immediately find out what's going poorly, send it to the right people using what we call the continuous response model.
Speaker 1 00:15:24 Those have a huge impact on ex. So I would encourage you to think about your feedback and survey process and your analytics team as part of the EX initiative or the EX strategy in your company. Now, I'm a little bit outta time. I know this has been a fairly long podcast. Let me just summarize with one more thing. Employee experience feels like a fad. It's been a loud, noisy marketing phrase now that has been scotch taped to every website of every vendor who ever sold anything to HR people, including, uh, all of the productivity tools and wellbeing tools and everything else that people develop. Your real strategy as an organization or as a leader is not to try to get to know what all these things are, but get to know your company, get to know what are the things that are not working well in your employee experience.
Speaker 1 00:16:16 Bank of America, for example, looked at this in the consumer bank across 70,000 people and realized that they had a big problem in onboarding and recruiting and how people were entering the consumer bank. Yeah, there were all sorts of other things too. But that became the number one focus. And the academy at Bank of America, which we have a detailed case study on, describes what they did as a result of analyzing that. Now, I talked to a company in Europe that has a lot of distributor salespeople. They're actually a beverage bottler, and they said their ex problem is people driving trucks exhausted, unable to get information, unable to get access online systems. So they've built a whole system on Salesforce to do that. Walmart recently bought mobile phones and a new app for every employee in Walmart. That's like a million people because their ex is about day-to-day, minute to minute information and support in the stores, in the distribution centers, in the transportation, in the offices.
Speaker 1 00:17:15 Pharmaceutical companies are very focused on work-life balance because they've been working incredibly long hours, including scientists who desperately need time and interaction with people outside their company to do their jobs. So look at EX as not a chance to buy a bunch of things and throw them together and talk to it about how we get it all to work. But as a chance to really get to know the personas, the work groups, the domains of problematic work experiences in your company and work on them first. And once you get the experience of working on ex in some of the more problematic areas where there's high turnover, low productivity, or poor employee engagement, you'll get better and better at the rest of these things. And you will find that the information in our study is absolutely vitally helpful in doing that. By the way, this study is one of our new definitive guides. It's a massive piece of research. It includes best practices, lots of amazing case studies, a maturity model, and we will have a diagnostic. So you'll be able to go through the diagnostic and compare your employee experience to the thousand other companies that participated in this. So anyway, we are very excited to hear from you on this. Please contact us for more information and thank you for the opportunity to, uh, explain this to you.