The practice of customer experience (CX) has been leading the charge for over a decade. Organisations understand that they need to gather data to assess customers’ behaviours and buying patterns to ensure that the consumer is at the centre of the design process. Dedicated CX teams usually map and define the interactions between customers, and an organisation, over the entire lifetime of the relationship.

Best practices involve both mapping customer behaviours and patterns using powerful analytics tools and understanding the context of the data via ethnographic research. This ensures the ability of the organisation to analyse and predict interactions that are critical to designing an incredible customer experience.

So why not also apply a data-driven, analytical approach to our employees’ experience with an organisation?

Employee and labour costs are the largest expense on any organisation’s finance sheet. Turnover and talent shortages are costing organisations, and ultimately affecting their ability to deliver on their business goals, revenue targets and results.

A recent study of 156 chief executive officers stated that 52 per cent of them did not achieve on their strategic goals in 2018 due to talent shortfalls. Businesses say employees are their greatest assets, but openly struggle to engage, motivate, retain and inspire individuals to be more productive and achieve their highest potential at work.

How do companies make the leap forward and embrace an employee experience mind-set?

It is just as important to understand the customer as it is our employees. We must apply the logic of putting employees at the centre of workplace design processes. To start, put as much importance on the design of your employee experience as you do CX. And take a page from your CX playbook: Really get to know all your employees across your organisation as you craft and design workplace experiences.

There is an array of data that can be collected, measured and analysed to help make objective decisions rather than subjective and biased ones.

Understand employee behaviours

Gaining insights into how someone naturally communicates in the workplace, makes decisions, learns new skills, adapts to changes and approaches risk is critical. It will give you the knowledge of how to manage, motivate and reward that individual. There are many psychometric tools on the market, but it is important for companies to select the right tools that give them the most accurate insights into every employee within the organisation, not just the senior executives.

Focus on holistic employee engagement

With digital engagement surveys hot in the market, organisations have many avenues to better understand and improve employee engagement. The four major factors of disengagement are wrong job fit, manager, team misalignment and culture, so it is important to assess these four areas in depth for greater understanding. But remember that employee engagement isn’t just a one-time deal. In fact, designing a successful employee experience requires engagement that has longevity and spans the employee’s tenure.

Layer in job performance

This data identifies how well employees are performing against expectations. When you overlay job performance with behavioural profiles, you can identify the common behaviours shared by top performers. This is the science behind creating high-performing teams consistently.

Foster team culture

It is critical for an organisation to identify its values and then communicate to its employees what behaviours and attitudes are accepted and rewarded in the workplace. This will not only create alignment, but also attract individuals who are ethically aligned to the organisation.

Capture employee sentiment

This data is a deep dive into the individuals’ experiences in the workplace, such as their stories or interactions in the business. It is commonly collected in facilitated employee workshops or exit interviews to ensure that continuous improvement is in place.

Two things should be considered about any approach to gathering data as you create and design your employee experience. Keep things simple (no one likes to spend hours on assessments or review processes) and egalitarian (assess everyone, not just certain segments of your workforce).

Look within your own organisation as you define your employee experience. Every organisation’s culture and experiences are unique, and one size does not fit all. The employee experience design you want to create and promote should reflect the culture and strategic goals of your organisation.

And one last thing: Collecting and assessing the data — the quantitative method — are key to understanding employees and improving their experience, but it can’t be done without engaging qualitative methods throughout the process. The two approaches are complementary but not mutually exclusive. It’s critical that you understand the right questions to ask of the data. This qualitative analysis will facilitate a deeper understanding of the quantitative data. By utilising evidence of user needs and behaviours uncovered through data gathered with both analytical tools and human-centric contextual research methodologies, business leaders can measure, analyse, propose and put into practice the ideal employee experience for their workforces.