Employee Experience: Maintaining Peak Performance in the Modern Workforce Part 1

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As discussed at the REBA wellbeing conference earlier this year, the concept of employee engagement has evolved over time into the concept of employee experience. In this, the focus has traditionally been on engagement within the organisation as a whole, but as we now move into the 4th industrial age that is technology & AI led, we need to focus less on the macro-ecosystem and more on the micro-ecosystem, on the experience our employees have and what this means for the work we individually do; less one size fits all and more about an approach that feels more personalised and values employees as individuals.

 As we focus on maintaining peak performance in the modern world, it is important to remember that the lens we are looking through is that of employee experience. How do we enhance our day to day work experiences, using the insights we can generate often through data, to help us get a better return on investment and boost our experience at work?

 Employee Lifetime Value

 Thinking of the employee experience at work as a lifecycle with different touchpoints, there are points when employees cost the business money as well as points where they generate a return. At the start of the lifecycle, during recruitment, the output is negative as they consume resources but are not yet contributing. However, as they become more competent in the role, they progress to the point of fully contributing and adding value to the business. At some point however, they decide to leave and consider other job options – generally after this point their productivity starts to decline and on their last day their output is at zero.

 The challenge we face is how to raise the bar, to extend and maximise employees’ lifetime value. By looking at the ways we can shorten the ramp-up to fully contributing, pushing how high an employee can go, and extending the time they stay with the business, a better ROI can be generated for the business. Furthermore, if we keep employees engaged and motivated during their leaving period, improved employee experience will be created.

Lessons to be learned from the sporting world

Sport is actually a great place to look for insights that we can apply in business. The sporting world has embraced technology and data insights to improve team and individual performance – they measure everything to squeak out that extra advantage & generate marginal gains.

 In one episode of his podcast, Peter Crouch, describes how football training has evolved, with footballers now wearing fitness bibs (or bras) in training so their progress, heartrate, and effort can be analysed and tracked. At Wimbledon, IBM set up a whole statistics lab to analyse the speed of every serve, height of volleys and court coverage. 

All this data is used to deliver insights and help improve performance but it’s not traditionally an area we have embraced as HR folk  - if we can use data to identify crucial tenure for high performance & then act to avoid flight risk, it can help us to improve the employee experience and help us protect our assets just at the point they become valuable.

 If you can identify when performance peaks and then leverage it to extend that performance, not only can you create a better ROI, but you are also more likely to have happier employees and potentially more sales. 

 Applying this to Employee Experience

 When looking at how the sporting world looks to make marginal gains at every possible point, there are ways we can apply this methodology to the Employee Lifecycle and make similar marginal gains that add up to significant improvements over time.

1.       Off the Blocks: by giving people confidence at the start, we can shorten that ramp-up time significantly, so having clear expectations around the role & how you fit within the rest of organisation is vital. This can be achieved through up to date job descriptions, organisation charts, and clarity about the level you sit at and reporting lines.  We know the basics are often out of date so can we really expect people to ramp up quickly when they don’t really understand what they are there to deliver and what difference this makes to a business?

2.       Accelerating Pace: we know from Dan Pink’s work that autonomy is one of the key facets to motivate people at work. Where people are trusted and feel accountable for their own delivery, the only ceilings set are the ones they create themselves. People are far more likely to feel autonomous and create opportunities themselves if we don’t enforce artificial ceilings. Helping employees understand the areas that matter most for them, so building on their strengths and coaching managers to develop skills enables them to get the best from their team - this is one way to significantly improve how high people can go.

3.       Extending Stamina: increasing how much higher people can go & extending stamina in a role often relates to confidence & recognition, or a lack thereof. Often, it’s a lack of recognition, and a lack of feeling valued & appreciated, that is the catalyst for many people to change roles. A common theme we see in employee surveys is a simple thank you would suffice, but recognition is one of those aspects of reward that is hugely undervalued and is just assumed to take place. Therefore, if you don’t have a good handle on recognition in your company this is one area to look at urgently, as it can make a big difference within terms of extending longevity when you get it right.

4.       Increasing the Distance: perhaps the most critical factor in Employee Lifetime Value can be the length of time they stay with you as this is when you start to see the true ROI. Even if people are motivated and delivering in their role, if they can’t see how they can grow their career or progress their pay, they will decide it’s time to move on.  Alongside this, there is also something to be said for making the deal stickier with factors other than pay – for example, we know that flexible working helps retain people for longer. 

5.       Passing the Baton: we don’t necessarily want everyone to stay forever, but for those who are contributing and decide to move on to develop their skills in a different environment, it is worth considering how that exit is managed. If we can’t extend their stay, it is worth considering how to keep motivation levels relatively high to ensure successful handovers and to retain that relationship where they may become alumni with a long term retained interest in your organisation.

If you would like to find out more about employee experience, employee lifetime value and mainting peak performance, Innecto and OpenBlend are co-hosting an upcoming webinar that will cover this and much more in greater detail. For more information, please contact hello@openblend.co.uk or insights@innecto.com

About Innecto Reward Consulting

As the UK’s largest independent Reward consultancy, Innecto Reward Consulting provides honest advice, support and practical help to solve any challenge relating to attracting, retaining and motivating people.

About OpenBlend

OpenBlend is a people centred performance management tool that facilitates coaching led conversations that support all aspects of an individual’s development journey and enable businesses to truly accelerate the performance of their people.

Aisha SheikhComment