Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I ran across a recent report from McKinsey talking about “The CEO Moment: Leadership for a new era”. The article talked about how CEOs were planning to lead their organizations in a “new, positive, and impactful way”. Some of the themes in the report included:
- Deciding what values are truly important and worth fighting for.
- Invest in building positive working relationships at every level.
- Thinking bigger and faster when it comes to goals and performance.
- Deliberately choosing how to bring their authentic selves to work.
As I was reading the report and these themes, it occurred to be that what CEOs are looking for in their employee experience is very similar to what employees are looking for. Employees want to work for organizations that align with their values. They want to feel included and supported. Employees want work that is meaningful. They want wellbeing.
This is an opportunity for CEOs to align the employee experience with the business. They know it’s the right thing to do or they wouldn’t be talking about it for themselves. The question becomes how to make it happen. That’s easier said than done.
At the last SAP SuccessFactors conference, there was a conversation happening about the evolving employee experience. The discussion explained that the “old school” employee experience is when the organization asks, “How are we doing?” And the modern employee experience is when the organization asks, “How are you doing?” I thought it was a great way to convey how the employee experience needs to change.
Don’t get me wrong. Organizations still need to ask, “How are we doing?” BUT they also need to ask, “How are you doing?” In fact, maybe they should ask “How are you doing?” first. AND they should ask these questions regularly. Formally during engagement surveys and informally during one-on-one meetings. Managers need to ask the question AND truly care about the answer. Employees should respond with valuable feedback that can be acted upon.
Another thing that organizations can do is look at data. Organizations regularly collect, analyze, and respond to data about customers views. Now is the time to start doing the same with employee data. Realistically, it would be great to have some data before asking those questions about “How are you doing?” and “How are we doing?” Not to test employees but to ask better follow-up questions.
For example, if an employee says they’re doing good, but the data is showing a decrease in overall participation at learning events, then maybe the manager wants to ask for some specific feedback about training. The employee might be able to share some details that can help the organization either interpret the data better or modify and improve the learning experience.
We’re all reading the same news headlines. I don’t have to tell anyone that the employee experience is going to be a huge focal point for organizations. As it should be. Every organization needs to have a defined employee experience. In addition, they should have a way to regularly monitor and adjust it to align with the business.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of London, England