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How to Measure the Employee Experience

by James McDonald on June 30, 2021
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Employee Experience Defines Business Success In The Hybrid Workplace
 

If you haven't been asked to measure the employee experience in your workplace yet, it's probably only a matter of time before you will be. 

In today's hybrid workplace, the employee experience is one of the most important factors that defines business success, according to new research from Verdantix.

At a time when employees have access to more options for earning an income than they have at perhaps any other time before, they're looking for more than just a paycheck. They're increasingly seeking connection, a sense of purpose, and fulfillment too. 

Here's a closer look at what it means to measure the employee experience today and how you can improve your employee experience metrics.  

Why the employee experience matters more than ever

After more than a year of working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have had plenty of time to reflect on what they really want in a work environment and what they don't. Flexible work arrangements are high on the list, while a company that requires them to work a rigid schedule and be in the office five days a week is much less appealing. 

Verdantix notes nearly 3.4 million U.S. employees voluntarily left their jobs in July 2020. 

Now that workplaces are reopening and some leaders are requiring employees to return to the office, recent surveys show as many as 40% of employees are considering leaving their current jobs

Some analysts even have a name for this post-pandemic period: the Great Resignation. 

"Leaving a job often requires some combination of finding a new job and overcoming the inertia of staying with the old one," said J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, in a recent article. But I think we are at an inflection point at which many people are reconsidering the particulars of their lives and of work-life balance."

A great employee experience makes it easier to recruit top talent and keep existing employees engaged.

After all, Gallup research has found teams with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable than companies with less engaged employees. Research by author Jacob Morgan also found companies that invest heavily in their employee experience are four times as profitable as those that don't. 

It's not surprising, then, that in a survey of 500 HR leaders, 92% said the employee experience was their top priority this year.

The most important employee experience metrics 

Morgan studied hundreds of companies to determine what employee experience metrics matter most. 

His research found the employee experience comes down to three key factors: 

  1. The physical space
  2. Workplace technology
  3. Company culture

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

The physical workspace

This crucial leg of the employee experience "stool" was notably absent during the past year. 

Without access to an office environment, many employees found it more difficult to collaborate and concentrate. They couldn't take advantage of activities and amenities that made their work lives more enjoyable, such as company events and access to outdoor workspaces. 

Overall, your workplace design has a tremendous impact on your employee experience. It affects employee productivity, collaboration, and overall satisfaction, which can make a difference when it comes to recruitment and retention. 

How well does your workplace design support your employee experience?

Harvard Business Review’s Collaboration & Quiet Index evaluates offices based on seven factors:

  • Location - The degree to which the space is accessible by all
  • Enclosure - The degree to which space is enclosed by walls, doors or a ceiling
  • Exposure - The degree to which the space offers visual or acoustic privacy
  • Technology - The degree to which the space is equipped with the right tools
  • Temporarily - The degree to which the space invites lingering
  • Perspective - The direction in which the space focuses the user’s attention
  • Size - The usable square footage of the space

In the new hybrid workplace, your office design should also be well-designed for flexibility and account for the fact that different types of employees will use it differently.

For some employees, it may be essential that they work primarily in the office, so they would prefer to have assigned seats. Others may only plan to be in the office a few days a week and would rather reserve a desk when they come in. You also need to consider the needs of independent contractors who come and go a few times a month and need a fast, efficient way to check in, find the people they need to see, and reserve a room to meet with them. 

Don't forget about job candidates and new hires, who will likely want more opportunities to get to know their new colleagues in employee cafes or informal huddle areas.

While employee surveys can help you evaluate your office design, you'll also want to look at data to give you a more accurate picture of how well your workforce is actually using it. Consider these employee experience metrics: 

  • The percentage of collaborative space versus individual space (aim for a balance between the two)
  • Average meeting room utilization
  • Average desk utilization 

Workplace technology

Just as a 1970s-style office design can turn employees away, workplace technology that’s outdated or difficult to use contributes to a poor employee experience. 

A survey that compared technology leaders and “laggards” found 58 percent of employees at companies lagging behind had negative feelings toward their employers. 

How do you measure the impact of workplace technology on your employee experience?

Consider how well it embodies the characteristics of “frictionless technology”:

  • Is it mobile and cloud-based?
  • Intuitive?
  • Intelligent?
  • Secure?
  • Efficient?

Make sure your workplace technology removes obstacles and distractions, rather than creating more.

Some important employee experience metrics to measure when it comes to technology include: 

  • How long it takes employees to find and reserve a room 
  • Average service request response time
  • Employees' perception of technology mobility, ease of use, and efficiency

Company culture

Simply put, your company culture is the way employees behave when no one is watching.

A great company culture starts at the top, with leadership defining core values and hiring people who live by them. It’s shaped by HR policies and supported by leaders who reinforce them throughout your organization.

While you might not be directly involved in creating these policies, you can certainly influence them.

How well does your company culture support a positive employee experience?

Aim for policies that promote things like:

  • Flexibility (such as the ability to work remotely when possible)
  • Autonomy
  • Accountability
  • Collaboration
  • Transparency

improve employee experience

Measuring employee experience: 3 concrete steps

Now that you know the three factors that have the most impact on employee experience, here are a few more concrete ways to measure them.

1. Conduct employee experience surveys

Ask your workforce to weigh in on what elements are most important to them in the workplace, how they use the spaces and technology available to them and what changes they’d like to see. If you take the right approach and ask the right questions, employee surveys can be a great way to measure employee experience.

2. Look at workplace data

Surveys are based on self-reporting, so there will always be a margin of error.

Employees might only be giving their best guess about how they use the workplace. But data doesn’t lie. That’s why it’s important to look at data on space utilization, room reservation and other factors that impact your workplace. Having an integrated workplace management system makes it easy to see all this data in one place.

3. Look at other companies

It’s important to look outside your own four walls from time to time. The Employee Experience Index ranks and scores 252 organizations based on how well they perform in each of the three areas we just mentioned. Check out the companies that rank in the top 10 and see what they do differently. Follow them in the news, subscribe to their blog and take a peek at their Glassdoor profiles.

Now that you have a better idea of what the employee experience actually is, measuring it—and improving it—will be much easier.

Take the next step to elevate your employee experience

If enhancing the employee experience is one of your resolutions this year, iOFFICE can help. Our integrated workplace management system connects your workplace, technology and people on one platform while offering user-friendly employee experience solutions.

It’s built to connect workplace leaders and employees, meeting the needs of both and creating a continual feedback loop between them. It includes a mobile app that empowers employees to navigate their workplace and access everything they need to be productive — whether it’s finding where their colleague is sitting, reserving a desk near them, or requesting tech support. 

It also allows for ongoing optimization by integrating with sensors and other technologies to give you a full picture of how employees use your workplace. 

Based on these insights, you can update your office design and make future real estate decisions to support your growing workforce.

For more predictions about the future of the employee experience and how to create a great one, download the full Verdantix report.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

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