Don’t lose sight of the Employee when solving for the Employee Experience

There has been so much talk lately about the employee experience, learning and engaging in the flow of work, and workplace connection, it is hard to sift through all the buzz words that appeal to company leaders and understand what this actually means for the employee. These last few years, HR Technology has been expanding beyond the mandatory process and workflow-focused employee systems of record into employee experience platforms. We’ve all seen the explosion of tools that make it easier for employees to provide feedback via pulse surveys, access corporate training through digital learning portals, and collaborate with their team in a multitude of channels. But are these systems truly built with the employee in mind? Are they easy to use, valuable, timely and relevant to the employee? Do they provide a truly integrated experience to the employee? Before examining that question, let’s look at some examples from other areas of the business which were early to embrace digital transformation and personalization.

Corporations have been collecting data to understand and improve the customer experience for decades. Think well beyond the generic questionnaire you may get emailed after a hotel stay, for example. Corporations are integrating multiple real-time signals and leveraging AI to provide personalized offers to consumers and predictive analytics back to the corporation. Insurance companies understand what life stage you might be in, and provide offers on auto financing, mortgage rates, or life insurance accordingly. Online retailers nudge you when it may be time to replenish one of your staple household purchases. Streaming entertainment sites suggest new content that you might enjoy based on your previously watched shows. As consumers, we’ve come to expect, and even appreciate, this kind of useful, timely information. That is why we actively engage; we list our preferences, sign up for notifications, all of which power the consumer data flywheel which makes our experiences at home better. Why can’t we expect the same at work?

These are the kind of questions I ponder when thinking about the design principles for Eskalera’s products. Taking a page from the consumer marketing playbook and applying them to HR can positively impact the employee experience. Understanding and applying techniques like real-time data collection, analyzing both active and passive signals to better understand sentiment, and then providing personalized nudges and interventions would have greatly improved for some of the situations I’d experienced throughout my own career; switching functions within a company (analytics to programming to sales to product) without any formal onboarding, getting shuffled between multiple managers in four months without any check-ins from employee services, navigating a career as a woman in technology without the benefit of a formal mentor to help me grow my network. In terms of design, employee experience platforms should be easy (and dare I say ‘fun to use’) and provide the employee with relevant, timely information they need. But they must also surface valuable data signals and insight back to the employer. So how do we do both?

First, consider the employee. Think like an insurance company and provide timely information and experiences that map to the employee journey; connection tools during onboarding, mobility insights corresponding to career progression, skill-building training for leadership development. Think like a retailer and offer up personalized nudges, such as how to interrupt bias during performance reviews or how to correctly set expectations across a distributed team during project kick-off. Think like a content provider and provide mentor recommendations to employees that not only help with their goals but also diversifies their network.

But also, fuel the organization. Start by ingesting real-time employee engagement across all systems and tools, such as your learning, communication, survey, and performance management systems. Next, capture the nuances around employee sentiment related to their feelings of inclusion and belonging with their team, their manager, and the organization. Finally, integrate these multitudes of data sources to power a more complete and accurate picture of the employee experience.

For example, to service both the employee and the organization, Eskalera Engage is designed to engage employees via micro-learning modules and personalized nudges to help develop and sustain inclusive behaviors. Through this engagement, we measure Trust, Voice, Growth Mindset, and Belonging, all of which make up our Inclusion Index™. Integrating and infusing core HR metrics with inclusion therein helps leaders quantify culture and drive accountability.

The beauty is, that with a truly integrated and engaging employee engagement platform, every time an employee accepts a networking invitation, takes a training course, fills out a survey, looks for other roles within the company, or specifies a mentoring goal, they are sending valuable information back to the data hub which powers the entire system. By solving for the employee, we are creating the very data signals which help the company better understand what qualities make a good hire, who are effective managers, what levers affect attrition, and how inclusion impacts productivity and innovation.

Meaningful experiences are not just the same generic questionnaire served more frequently or on a mobile device. And people analytics should go beyond the structured data held in traditional employee systems of record to include real-time employee sentiment and preferences. A truly integrated platform harnesses a variety of data sources, engages employees at the right time with the right content, infuses static data with dynamic, real-time signals, thereby improving everything from the employee’s day-to-day experiences to the company’s bottom line. Isn’t it time we solved for both?

If you’re ready to meet your employees when and where it matters most, create meaningful experiences, and drive sustainable change, contact us to learn how our employee engagement and organizational analytics platform can help.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our 3-month complimentary D&I Training! Get started today!

Originally published at on July 16, 2020.