Every few years a new buzzword gains traction in HR circles. For years “employee satisfaction” was the goal, and later, “employee engagement” gained currency. Employee experience is one of the newest buzzwords. But what is it? And how do you measure employee experience?
Searching that question—how do you measure employee experience?—on the internet reveals that many survey providers and HR professionals define the elements of the employee experience as the physical workspace, technology used in the workplace, and company culture. While all of these are important employee experience metrics, at Perceptyx we have always taken a broader view. In this article, we’ll define what we believe makes up employee experience, and, more importantly, describe how to measure employee experience.
What is employee experience?
In short, the employee experience is the sum total of everything employees experience in the organization. It includes these metrics:
- Physical work setting/environment
These are all critical parts of the experience; if employees don’t have the things they need to do the job, they won’t have a positive experience. But these intangible elements are also included:
- Trust in leaders and their decisions
- Autonomy in how employees do their work
- Relationships with managers and colleagues
- Culture of the organization
Employee experience broadly describes what it’s like to work in the organization and how employees feel about their experiences at work.
That relates to culture as well. The employee experience is how organizational culture manifests; it is the embodiment of the organization’s culture. At the same time, there’s a feedback loop between culture and the experience: culture both drives and shapes the experience and is a manifestation of that experience.
How does the organization express its culture? If the organization has a good culture, what does that mean? If the culture is true to the values of the organization, how do you know? All these questions are answered through the employee experience.
At Perceptyx we have long recognized that engagement is an outcome—the product of a positive employee experience. It is the “what”: what can be measured in terms of how people feel about being part of the organization.
Employee experience, on the other hand, is the “why.” Why is engagement high in one part of the company but not in another? Differences in the experience of employees in different parts of the organization explains it.
Measuring engagement is akin to taking a patient’s temperature. The temperature reading may tell you the patient is ill, but it won’t diagnose the illness. To discover the cause requires questioning and analysis—just as understanding the experience of employees in all parts of the organization requires questioning and analysis.
Get tips on how to enhance the employee experience strategy from our free guide, The Employee Experience Playbook.
How do you measure employee experience?
Measuring employee experience is in one regard easier than explaining the concept itself: If you want to know how people experience working in the organization and how they feel about their experience, ask them.
That means asking employees about all the tangible and intangible aspects of the experience previously noted. While there are moments that matter—touchpoints in the employee journey where you can gather feedback about important events in the experience—there isn’t a standard employee experience metric or list of questions that every organization needs to ask of every employee. All companies are different and have different cultures. For some, safety is a crucial value, while for others, it may be innovation.
Measuring employee experience goes much deeper than a rote checklist of questions. The questions you ask should encompass all aspects of the work experience—and be customized to your organization’s culture and values as well as the job role and/or work location. The experience of a worker in a manufacturing facility is likely to have little in common with the experience of an employee working at company headquarters. Survey questions should be relevant to the work environment and role.
This is trickier than it seems. Working with a people analytics provider and taking a custom approach will yield the information most useful for your organization. The employee experience is complex, but the strategic surveys that Perceptyx helps organizations design and use capture the complexity. We’ve always measured all the things we now call the employee experience in surveys tailored to each organization’s unique culture and needs.
See the way forward to a more positive employee experience.
The Perceptyx platform gives you the flexibility to develop a listening strategy that fits the needs of your organization and identifies unsatisfactory elements in the employee experience. Combined with survey design assistance from our people analytics experts, you can zero in on the experience of employees in every part of your organization and identify the specific factors with the biggest impact on employee experience and perceptions.
Perceptyx provides support in addressing those issues as well, with easy-to-implement action planning. Our platform not only helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your people’s perceptions—it also helps you monitor actions and outcomes, to help you build internal best practices to share throughout the organization.
Get in touch to see how we can help your organization improve the employee experience to increase engagement—and profitability.