How do you measure the impact of employee experience?

How an employer treats its people has become a key indicator in employee satisfaction – and retention. So how can you maximise these crucial metrics and turn the data into action?

The ongoing global pandemic has acted as a trigger for employees to re-examine their priorities, causing them to reflect on their overall experience at work. How an employer treats its people has become a key indicator in employee satisfaction – and retention. So how can you maximise these crucial metrics and turn the data into action?

Identifying pain points

Figures from our Employee Experience survey 2022 found that despite employers’ renewed focus on EX, confusion remains over how the data can be measured and interpreted. In fact, even though 60% of HR leaders aim to improve the return on investment from employee experience initiatives, just under half (44%) don’t measure the impact on the bottom line – and smaller businesses are even less likely to examine or action the metrics.

According to the study, 22% of respondents lack knowledge about how to measure EX data while 35% say they don’t think they need to. Other reasons given include lack of time (20%), it’s not an important consideration (15%) or there is no budget (14%). This clearly demonstrates that there is a gap between the gathering and interpretation of EX data and its impact on the bottom line.

The survey says…

The most popular means of investment for employee experience is via satisfaction surveys but, says HR consultant and director of ReThink, Phillipa Barnes, the questions that are asked should be focused, relevant and centred around the overall business strategy: “If you ask woolly questions, you won’t get useful data. You need a baseline for what’s good and where people would value change. They’re happy that the drinks vending machine is free, but they’re unhappy with all the extra hours they’re required to work,” she says.

Rather than overwhelming employees with a raft of new changes in order to appease them, Barnes says organisations should begin by opening up the discussion to show that they are listening – after all it is in everyone’s interests to improve the employee experience: “You want their ideas on what can be improved, but then there needs to be honesty about what will work for the business, what won’t, and why. Asking for ideas without acting or responding to them is counterproductive,” she adds.

Get the conversation going

Having robust internal communications across your organisation is key here. It might be a cultural change that needs shifting over time but, you’ll never really know how your employees feel unless you ask them. And this isn’t just confined to EX surveys. Focus groups, performance reviews and regular meetings can help open the lines of communication. A report from The Work Institute reveals that providing real-time feedback on an ongoing basis rather than annual performance reviews is seen as essential for Gen Z with 43% preferring this option. Similarly, exit interviews provide a vital source of employee experience insight, whether that is negative or positive - any information will be useful in improving the employee experience.

Examine the trends

It is important to look at the numbers over a longer period than simply glancing at a snapshot of employee productivity to gauge how staff see the organisation. Instead, examine the trends, see if there are things to improve on or examine further. For example, if sick days increase in teams that are overworked, mismanaged, tired, stressed, or sick of their work environment, clearly the employee experience is damaging. Keep a look out for a spike in the data and address it.

A happy employee won’t quit

It might sound obvious but if you have a high staff turnover, there is something going awry within the employee experience. If new hires are brought in by referrals from employees it shows that they are enjoying their work and value the organisation. Similarly, enrolment in internal mobility schemes can indicate positive engagement, so tracking internal recruitment as a KPI can help build a broader picture of the employee experience.

HR tech: The missing part of the puzzle

While HR leaders are placing greater emphasis on staff satisfaction surveys, technology is increasingly being seen an essential tool to manage and measure EX initiatives. The findings in our report bear this out as employees that favour tech for HR processes were significantly more likely to also report that their employee experience was good (69% v 54%). "Your HRMS is the place where tasks like staff satisfaction surveys, performance one-to-ones and reward and recognition are digitised and processes are standardised, meetings are scheduled and recorded consistently," says Barnes. "This accountability, both on the part of managers and employees, focuses attention on keeping people engaged."

Employee experience metrics don’t have to be complicated, but they are essential.
Showing a commitment to enhancing your people’s experience by demonstrating the return on investment is a win-win for employees and employer. Combining your EX strategy with the right HR tech will help you consistently manage and interpret the data, and create a workplace where employees want to stay.

To learn more about employee experience, download our report here

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