Yes, You Can Measure Employee Experience. Here’s How.
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
Companies want to offer their customers an excellent experience. Part of doing that is offering employees an excellent experience. There are two reasons for this. In many industries, job candidates are also customers. An example is the person who loves dining at a restaurant and decides to apply for a bartender job there. The last thing organizations want to happen is to lose both a candidate and a customer at the same time. The second reason is that employees are responsible for delivering the customer experience. The way they do that is by having their own excellent experience.
Defining Employee Experience
To make sure that employees are receiving an excellent experience, organizations should measure results. But before measuring the experience, it’s necessary to define it. What does “employee experience” mean? One way to define the employee experience is by looking at the employee life cycle, which represents the major milestones in an employee’s career.
Recruitment and onboarding. Two prominent components of a new employee’s experience with the organization include the candidate experience, meaning how the candidate was treated during the hiring process, and the socialization experience, which could be viewed as how the new hire was treated on their first days/weeks of work.
Learning and development. Training programs are important and there are proven instructional design models in place to measure the effectiveness of training. That’s not really what we’re talking about here. In the context of employee experience, organizations should consider learning and development in terms of how employees are being trained for the jobs they have as well as for future opportunities.
Performance and coaching. An employee’s performance matters not only for the employee and their career goals but for the organization (and their strategic goals). Employees should receive rewards and recognition for a job well done. Managers should coach employees for continued improvements in their performance levels and offer support when necessary.
Retention and separation. Organizations should work to create an environment where employees want to stay. The topics we’ve already mentioned—socialization, learning, and coaching—are key to employee retention. But even when employees leave, either voluntarily or involuntarily, they should be treated with dignity and respect. Former employees are still brand ambassadors and will remember their experience.
The Two Ways to Measure Employee Experience
The employee experience can be measured quantitatively and qualitatively. Surveys are a great tool for measuring the employee experience in a quantitative fashion. Here are a few quantitative methods using the components of the employee life cycle we mentioned above:
- HR departments can survey candidates and new hires about their experiences.
- During learning and development sessions, employees can receive a post-learning event survey (also known as a Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction).
- Employee engagement surveys are good for measuring how employees feel about management support and recognition.
- Lastly, exit interviews can offer insights about all of these areas and more.
One other source for quantitative data HR might want to incorporate into each of these activities (i.e., recruiting, learning, coaching, and separation) is HR service delivery analytics. For example, if your organization has an employee help desk, it could be valuable to track help desk requests by activity. The results could help HR expand and/or improve services. Better services = better employee experience = better customer experience.
Interviews are a good method for gathering qualitative information about the employee experience. An interview format offers a way to ask open-ended questions, which provides a way for the organization to receive deeper insights from the employee’s feedback. Surveys with sentiment analysis capability also let you capture and process open-ended feedback at scale.
Here are four different opportunities in the employee life cycle where it makes sense to interview employees:
- Organizations can conduct check-ins with new hires to see how they are acclimating to the new role and company.
- After a learning event, the organization has the ability to observe the employee using the knowledge and skills they gained (i.e., Kirkpatrick Level 3 Observation).
- During one-on-one meetings, managers and employees are able to discuss performance and exchange feedback.
- Finally, stay interviews are a way to collect information about why employees stay with the organization.
Ideally, organizations should want both forms of measurement. Use the quantitative data to expand on the qualitative information. For example, in the area of recruitment and onboarding, use a candidate survey followed up with in-person check-ins. During learning and development events, conduct an initial survey for reactions then look for behaviors on the job. Employee engagement surveys will lead to deeper conversations between managers and employees. Use time during those conversations to find out why employees leave and ask them what makes them stay.
Use Data and Information to Measure Employee Experiences
Organizations will want to use measurements to gauge their employee experience results. Those results will help the organization set goals for the future. When we’re specifically talking referring to talent, this means that the organization is continuously offering employees the best experience. And they’re providing a great experience to customers.
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About Sharlyn Lauby
Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a Florida based training and human resources consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and engage talent. Sharlyn sees human resources as a strategic partner - the marketing department for a company’s internal clients rather as administrative. During her 20+ years in the profession, she has earned a reputation for bringing business solutions to reality. Prior to starting ITM Group, Sharlyn was vice president of human resources for Right Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest organizational consulting firms. She has designed and implemented highly successful programs for employee retention, internal and external customer satisfaction, and leadership development. Publications such as Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, TODAY, Readers Digest, Men’s Health and The Wall Street Journal have sought out her expertise on topics related to human resources and workplace issues.