Employee experience is critical for every business – here's why

At Habanero, we’ve been at the forefront of the employee experience (EX) movement. And we've witnessed organizations at varying states of EX maturity, ranging from barely aware to a small minority of companies that have a high “ExQ.” From those early adopters, what we’ve seen is that when organizations create intentional and exceptional employee experiences, they see a positive impact on both their organization and society.

Using employee engagement as one measure of employee experience, we know from Gallup’s 2018 survey that, in the US, only 34% of people are engaged at work. And ADP just reported that across 19 countries only 16% of the workforce is fully engaged.

With that kind of (frankly) dismal performance, there’s a lot of potential to improve and to make people’s lives better.

But first, it’s important to understand what employee experience is and why it’s so important for businesses and society at large.

What is employee experience?

As practitioners in this field, we spend a lot of time helping organizations grapple with what employee experience is and what it isn’t.

In this post, my colleague Brian Edwards shares what we feel defines employee experience, its emergence as a priority for organizations, and how we approach it at Habanero. This is a great definition that helps us understand the magnitude of EX:

“The employee experience is the sum of perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work.” T. Maylett and M. Wride, The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results

As a result, we need to be empathetic to the effect of experiences and perceptions of employees. The only way to gain this appreciation is to deeply listen to your employees’ stories, told safely and in their own words, and then acting on the insights gleaned from what’s working and what’s not in your organization.

In our work with global organizations to develop their EX initiatives and operations, we’ve established some truly robust methods for getting to the heart of these insights from workforces that are distributed across diverse locations, cultures and work practices.

Organizations that are doing this work are among a new army of advocates for the positive societal ripple effect of creating impactful employee experiences.

How EX impacts the business

In some organizations there is a perceived tension between investing in employee experience and success of the organization in terms of financial and operational success as well as customer experience outcomes. At Habanero, we understand none of these measures of success are in conflict with EX. In fact, investing in EX can drive the performance that companies seek.

Besides what we’ve seen with our clients and our own company, there’s a lot of evidence demonstrating that investing in EX makes business sense. And if you’re trying to convince stakeholders in your organization, feel free to cite these statistics, studies and quotes:

Engaged employees means increased earnings

A study by Towers Perrin found that businesses with highly engaged employees saw a 19% increase in earnings per share, and those with the least engaged employees saw a 33% decrease in earnings per share.

Engaged employees affects operational efficiency and effectiveness 

Gallup reports that companies with engaged employees saw a 51% drop in absenteeism, 64% drop in safety incidents and a 29% increase in quality.

Customer experience (CX) is affected by EX 

Research company Temkin Group found a correlation between efforts in employee engagement and success in CX. In its 2016 Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, the firm shared that companies that excel at customer experience have “1.5 times as many engaged employees as do customer experience laggards.”

Vision Critical, a large research firm, said, based on all their work with clients seeking to improve their customer experience, that “companies that don’t have employee engagement at the top of the priority list will have a hard time pushing the CX agenda forward.”

How EX impacts society

From a larger societal perspective, by focusing on employee experience, we are fundamentally changing lives … and EX is our means to that end.

By being intentional about the experiences we create in our workplaces, we are changing people’s relationship with their professional lives and, by extension, their personal lives.

Let me explain.

When you have a bad day at work, it’s very hard and sometimes impossible to just shake it off and go home to your family and friends without some spillover. The same goes for our good days – we bring those emotions and experiences home too, and they impact everyone around us.

People who are happy at work will lead happier lives overall. At Habanero, we call this bringing life to work.

Focusing on EX is the strategy for success

All this to say, companies that focus on EX have a competitive advantage – their businesses perform better and they make the world a better place.

Not only do we help other organizations with this strategy for success, but we also work every day to practice it within Habanero. And being recognized by Great Place to Work Canada as the #1 Best Place to Work four times since 2009 makes us especially proud because it means we are successfully implementing the strategies and services that we sell to other companies on ourselves.

If you’re looking to learn more about our EX work and how to create intentional and exceptional employee experiences, read some of our other articles on EX, learn about our GO SharePoint intranet product (which is one of the ways we bring EX into the digital workplace) or get in touch.

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