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Does Employee Experience Drive Business Impact?

Source | | Volker Jacobs

Commitment to employee experience (EX) is growing. In a recent TI People study, 90% of EX Leaders indicate increased organisational intent around understanding and improving people’s experiences of work. CEO and board attention; defined EX roles and responsibilities; and budget allocation have been on the rise.   

With commitment comes expectation, and EX Leaders find themselves in a crucial performance window. Employees expect consistent activity that delivers improved experience quality. Executive stakeholders need to see quantified impact against their specific business or functional objectives. CEOs and Boards want evidence of progress quickly as proof that investments are yielding. Moreover, the world of work continues to shift and experience Leaders must keep pace. 

Working with the business 

One critical element to maintaining momentum in EX is to what extent EX Leaders can fully engage and work with the business. Leaders with EX responsibility will more convincingly engage business stakeholders in EX when they can point to precise improvement opportunities – with evidence. Also, talk about ROI cannot be a generic conversation. It needs to be aligned to business leaders’ specific objectives and value conveyed through their business KPIs. 

Yet only 24% of organisations surveyed report having the requisite qualitative and quantitative experience data in place to inform employee experience decision-making with business partners. Many studies, for example, have explored the ROI of internal customer experience and its link to external customer experience and resulting revenue growth, but the ROI exploration often stops there. 90% of organisations believe calculating the ROI of internal customer experience and its linkage to outcomes for their organisation is essential, but they have not yet reached this stage. 

Meeting executives where they are 

Fig 1. TI People Business Value Tree

Purposeful dialogue starts with meeting executives “where they are” by showing EX’s relevance to their business objectives. It should be defined by value delivered to people and business in the form of observable, measurable outcomes. The ‘Business Value tree’ outlined below, for example, shows how one customer facing organisation visualised how experience drives business results. They used this approach to support more effective conversations specifically with senior customer facing leaders. 

Essential inputs

It’s important to note that one ‘business value story’ does not fit the needs of all leaders, nor fully conveys the potential scope of impact. As with employees, appropriate context is essential to understand needs. For example, a functional executive serving internal customers such as a CIO will work with a partially different set of KPIs from a customer-facing leader referenced above, such as UX, internal customer satisfaction, or cost.

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