What is the problem with Employee Experience measurement?

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Most HR leaders are focusing efforts on improving the employee experience (EX) – after all, there are many benefits for everyone, including a productive, motivated, and engaged workforce, enhanced customer satisfaction and a positive impact on the bottom line.

“Research suggests that happy workers lead to more productive workplaces,” says Maciek Kubiak, head of people at PhotoAiD. “Therefore, if we want our businesses to run smoothly and see an increase in ROI, we should focus on making sure our employees are content. In today’s business world, competition is fierce; to stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to always be looking for ways to optimise efficiency and improve productivity.”

However, when it comes to measuring the employee experience, things aren’t always so clear, with some HR leaders struggling with how to assess the effectiveness and success of their EX strategy.

Findings from our recent research into employee experience revealed that while 60% of HR leaders say they are looking to improve return on investment from employee experience initiatives, 44% admit that they do not measure employee experience and its impact on the bottom line.

Of those HR leaders who weren’t measuring employee experience, 35% believed there was no need to measure the impact as it was already clear; 22% weren’t sure how to do so effectively; and 20% said it was because there was no time.

“Measuring employee experience has often been a challenge as the methods of collating the data can be unwieldly and time-consuming for HR teams,” remarks Philippa Barnes, director of ReThink HR Ltd. “Also, not everyone will be open and honest if they cannot respond anonymously.”

It can be difficult to measure employee experience accurately, adds Maciek Kubiak. “This is because employee experience is subjective and can vary from person to person. Additionally, employee experience measurement often relies on surveys, which can be biased or skewed if not designed properly.”

With these challenges to contend with, it is not surprising that many HR leaders are finding employee experience measurement problematic.

“Employee experience is a relatively new field, and many HR leaders are still trying to figure out how to measure it,” comments Maciek Kubiak. “Many companies are struggling to find the right ways to collect data and then turn that data into useful information. And even if they can do that, they often don’t have the resources to act on the information they receive.”

Philippa Barnes adds: “As data cannot be gathered quickly, easily, or routinely, the entire process can become de-prioritised and eventually disregarded altogether. There is not one single ‘employee experience’ metric that can be used to demonstrate the impact on the bottom line, as it is affected by every interaction an employee has with the organisation, from efficiency of the recruitment process, the ease of onboarding, career opportunities, the line management and appraisal process, through to how someone leaves employment. Ideally data needs to be gathered throughout the employee lifecycle and collated to provide a score that can then be monitored over time.”

According to our survey, 61% of HR leaders said they used employee satisfaction surveys to measure employee experience, which was the most reported EX investment area amongst our respondents. Some other ways HR could effectively measure EX include evaluating retention rates; looking at how many new hires come from referrals; tracking internal mobility; and using data from exit interviews.

“HR can also measure employee experience through learning and development opportunities, and tracking the correlation between training, courses, workshops or e-learning with any increase in productivity or performance,” suggests Rebecca Brown, process improvement expert at Essentra.

HR technology can also be a valuable tool to help measure the employee experience.

“HR technology provides great opportunities to collate small amounts of data very regularly from your team, for instance through pulse surveys or answering specific questions about the recruitment and onboarding process,” remarks Philippa Barnes. “Having multiple, light-touch interactions to measure employee experience will quickly gather into a meaningful set of statistics and can be collated into a score or scores. The qualitative feedback that is gathered can feed into reviews and improvements and the effort of those amendments will, hopefully, be reflected in improvements to the scores over time.”

To learn more about employee experience, download our report here.