Sunday, 1 March 2015

Enriching Employee Experience

In the recent past, I was in a conversation with a colleague whose work is in progress in building a portal for employee experience. I lost sleep over the ideas which were gushing to me and personal experiences on how modern employee experience solutions had failed me and my colleagues in the earlier assignments that we were a part off.
Here, I have penned down a few pointers which can enrich employee experience - if implemented.

ENGAGE - your audience actively.

  • Having a portal is one thing. Getting the employees to actively engage and utilize it is what makes all the effort worth it.
  • Having a banner posted on every wall can attract the users. But does it also engage all the users?
Here's what we can do:

a) Build a survey to learn to build a survey! Yes.
  • Encourage teams across the organization to build surveys. Gather ideas for organization level surveys using the surveys conducted at the team level as a base.
  • Actual concerns and applauded areas can come out during the team level survey. Use this and build upon it. 
  • Keep it confidential, for right reasons.
  • Mull over over the thoughts of your employees and then generate a survey which can really help the organization gather ideas to enrich their experience.

b) Have a Q and A session arranged between the employer and the employee.

  • Regularly.
  • Read this Q and A.
  • Review the systemic errors and build upon it.
c) Have a discussion forum.
  • Embed elements into the system to engage the employee. A simple and effective way of engaging the employee could be - Was this helpful? Would you like to add to this? And provide a comment / message box to gather inputs and feedback from the employee.
  • Provide opportunities for them to express joy, gratitude and concern about the pressing issues faced by employees at all levels.
d) Appoint leaders
  • Who will actually check these surveys, derives sense out of it and works on the concerns expressed.
  • Dear Leaders, (within the closed doors) - Your employees are a witness of the closed room being aired once in a while when the appointed chief 'visits' it. Come out yourself and talk, that's one way to engage your employees. If you are later going to evaluate them, then start by gathering points on which you will base your praise and critic on. Use these engagements, to make room for ideas and opportunities and to fill up the empty talks with as much sense.

TRANSPARENCY - in true sense

Organizations which consists of permanent and contract work force needs to reach both the category. Being a witness and a victim of step motherly treatment at such organizations had turned me into a rebel in that context. Personally, I refuse to attend meetings which reserves seat based on such discrimination.

Plus - Organizations pay and provide additional benefits to the contract work force.
Minus - But keeps them away from meetings which celebrates and critiques the work done.
What is it that we are trying to achieve by using this strategy? 

It is wise to:
  • Not disclose confidential matters specific to the organization during such meetings. 
  • Invite all your work force who have contributed to the project without a bias to: i) Gather inputs and feedback from the team as a whole and ii) To applaud and to accommodate changes suggested.
Management which fails to be transparent can lose the trust of the employees and vice versa. Despite the consequences, I personally would skip meetings which is not impartial to all the contributors.

REACH - everyone

  • Having engaged and being transparent to the employees is what meets the requirements. 
  • If the aim is to exceed expectations of the employees, then the policies and the standards set by and within the organization needs to reach the true audience.
Any organization which has every role filled and responsibilities assigned but lacks lustre in the outreach is agonizing to the work force.
Case - A parent who wishes to go on parental leave, an employee who wishes to report any .discomfort but has no access to the benefits because they worked away from office during that period or were on a contract mode of employment having no access to the links can cripple the system. 
Solved - Base the solution on the context - Open the ports when and wherever it is required. Block if there is a suspicious activity.

Concluding thoughts

  • Work places with policies for the benefit of employees is just not enough. When the time comes for actual implementation - it has to perform.
  • Having a strict policy, impartial and a transparent system but lacking in the outreach can fail all those who are involved. Rather than fail the employee during a performance meet - try not to fail yourself as an organization.
  • Don't yet try to sign off a product / template built to serve the employee. For example: A template created in 2009, has not much implication in 2015.
  • Having a purpose to what we do - is what helps simplify the (software) solution. Without a purpose and vision try not to start new projects to simply fill in roles without effective responsibilities assigned to the roles.

'Be kinetic and have a kaizen mindset when building solutions'

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