Insights on Improving Employee Experience
at Your Organization
The State of Human Experience in the Workplace
Many employees have moved to partial or fully remote working arrangements, forcing them to adapt to new ways of working.
To continue attracting and retaining talent, employers must find new ways to engage with both existing workers and potential recruits.
To understand what they’re doing to measure and improve employee experience in their workplaces, SAPinsider surveyed 111 members of its community in May and June 2021.
The SAPinsider Benchmark Report “The State of Human Experience in the Workplace” set out to understand what factors were driving human experience for organizations and to discover the strategies being implemented to improve employee experience at their organizations and what’s preventing them from reaching their goals.
Employee experience has been a growing topic for years, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to amplify its importance.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that many workforce norms of the past are gone. They were gradually shifting, but the pandemic hastened the changes. Now we have a more remote and distributed workforce that is more reliant on technology to connect, create, and communicate.
—Director, IT Services Company
Businesses increasingly understand the importance of employee experience (EX) and are interested in improving it, with many organizations citing benefits such as increased talent retention, productivity, and revenue.
When respondents were asked which factors currently hinder their organization’s investment in employee experience:
The Value of Investing in Employee Experience Is Clear
Cited budget restraints
Said it wasn’t a
Didn’t know where
Cited managers’ lack
The good news is that it’s clear the pandemic has brought EX to the forefront for many companies. When compared to two years ago, organizational focus on employee experience is somewhat greater or significantly greater today for 65% of respondents.
The shift toward hybrid working arrangements has disrupted traditional work processes and methods of engaging with employees, and few organizations have survived unscathed.
According to survey respondents, some of the biggest factors pushing organizations to invest in employee experience initiatives include:
Driving Investment and Interest in Employee Experience
High levels of employee turnover
An increase in competition for talent
Major organizational change
An increase in remote work
Other priorities include increasing employee productivity, improving professional development, and reducing talent acquisition time and cost.
When it comes to improving employee experience, the most important thing we are focused on is increasing worker productivity.
— Organizational Development Manager, Rail Company
Unsurprisingly, the top tactics taken by respondents to improve EX at their organizations all involve technology at some level.
Tactics Employers Are Using to Improve the Employee Experience
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has driven companies to improve EX and find ways to make work easier for employees who work remotely and in person.
To succeed in their employee experience management efforts, employers are increasingly focusing on ensuring employees are at work and performing their duties effectively while at work or not leaving for other jobs.
According to the survey results, respondents said:
Top Requirements for Employee Experience Strategy
Absenteeism, turnover, and retention rates are important or very important elements in an employee experience strategy
Monitoring employee performance data (such as workplace productivity) and strength of the employer brand are important
Capabilities to capture employee feedback through surveys was a requirement
A leader and team focused on employee experience projects is necessary
These results emphasize that employee satisfaction can impact a company’s brand and performance. With the next wave of requirements of employee experience initiatives likely coming from more mature experience programs that use feedback from surveys and have a team to manage and oversee employee engagement holistically.
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When asked how the global pandemic has affected their organization’s adoption of technology to support employee experience management, 61% of respondents said it had accelerated it.
Which Technologies Are Employers Currently Using in their Employee Experience Initiatives?
SAPinsider Benchmark Report
61% of survey respondents cited making employee and work data more accessible as part of their EX strategy.
58% are implementing mobile access to work and pay data
A heavy use of conferencing and remote connectivity, along with mobile access to work and pay data, align with the driving force for employee experience initiatives, especially in response to the shift to remote work during the pandemic.
Another discovery was that end-to-end employee experience solutions are currently being used by less than 2% of respondents (with 8% currently in the process of implementing them). However, 72% of those surveyed are planning to implement end-to-end employee experience solutions in the next 24 months or are currently evaluating them, highlighting the increased need for such solutions.
The ability to get funding for something that is considered a back-office function has always been financially ignored. HR should be the most valuable asset, but as a profession we’ve been a hindrance to ourselves by not progressing and hanging on to old practices.
— HR Director, Manufacturing Company
Budgets are still a hindrance to employee experience management processes and solutions at most organizations. But most respondents didn’t feel a clear business case was lacking. That indicates a communication gap between HR departments and senior leadership. To bridge the gap, HR leaders should express how employee experience positively or negatively impacts the business and share evidence that supports their assertion.
Communicate How Employee Experience Impacts Your Bottom Line
Since immediate supervisors tend to carry nearly as much responsibility for employee experience as HR, they’re likely having the most direct conversations with employees and can help determine what processes and technology are needed to improve experiences. Organizations should identify where they provide the best experiences and how to leverage similar tactics to improve in other areas.
Assess the Current State of Employee Experience at Your Organization
With the shift to remote work driving change, companies are now taking action to make it easier for employees to access their data and technology on their own terms to communicate with each other, be more productive, and provide feedback.
Focus on Greater Accessibility for Employees
Almost 40% of respondents with above-average employee experience are at companies currently using WFM solutions—that’s twice the rate of those with average or below-average employee experience. Both WFM systems and applicant-tracking systems are designed to give easier access to certain types of information—be it personal data or (for HR leaders) the data of someone being managed or recruited. Having this type of access makes experiences better and will likely lead to higher productivity.
Give Your Employees Access to the Data and Information They Need
With absenteeism being a major concern to companies when it comes to addressing EX, it makes sense that most respondents are looking to implement or are in the process of evaluating their workforce management tools. Companies are seeing the benefits, which include making it possible for their employees to access schedules, log hours, and request days off, among other capabilities.
Examine How WFM Tools Might Align with Your Experience Needs
As organizations take steps to address and improve employee experience, it’s important to remember that providing a pleasing place to work isn’t just for the employees themselves. There’s a direct connection between EX and productivity—and the ultimate goal is providing the means for employees to function at their best, no matter where they’re located.
This enablement needs to come through process. But it’s become clear that certain technologies are vital in upgrading employee experience.
Mobility and remote access are key, and that’s difficult to achieve without solutions such as WFM.
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59% of respondents cited investments in technology to improve worker productivity.
Investing in Productivity
50% of respondents cited adding or improving listening or surveys to better capture employee sentiment.
Adding or Improving Listening
54% of respondents identified dedicated spaces and processes for collaboration between employees and teams.
50% are using analytics solutions to capture and analyze data
50% are using employee communication/collaboration solutions