Employees Archives ⋆ Awards International

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Rodney LawsRodney LawsSeptember 18, 20199min2200

 

It’s all but impossible to find any element of business that hasn’t been changed by the rapid pace of technological development, and employee experience is no exception. While the effects haven’t permeated every field (most construction workers haven’t had their roles made significantly easier, for instance), they’ve massively impacted classic office-based jobs, making the typical workday easier and more enjoyable.

Given the importance of employee experience for productivity and staff retention, it’s no surprise that businesses have welcomed this improvement. After all, when employees are happy, it benefits all parties involved. So how exactly is technology enhancing employee experience throughout the world? Let’s run through 8 ways you should know about:

 

It’s improving the recruitment process

A great employee experience starts with the recruitment process, because when a company hires someone who isn’t a great fit in general, that employee will likely never have a great experience, regardless of how hard everyone tries to make it work. Thankfully, technology has massively improved the recruitment world in numerous ways.

Using big data, companies can review much broader pools of candidates, and even source them through non-traditional channels such as social media platforms. And through the use of smart interview scheduling and even onboarding tools, the best candidates can be given great experiences throughout the final recruitment stages and into their first working days and weeks.

 

It’s making office life easier

It used to be that a busy office was something to simply be endured, but technology has changed that. Picture the average office worker in a forward-thinking company today: instead of listening to the drone of their colleagues, they can wear noise-cancelling headphones to allow them to focus (and even use a company-provided Spotify account to listen to music). And then there are the conditions — an IoT-enhanced office can have regulated temperatures.

 

It’s allowing flexible remote working

While office life is getting easier, of course, it’s also getting less common. Remote working has steadily gone from a nice (but impractical) concept to a conventional reality. The truth is that most employees really don’t need to work from company offices, and can be just as productive (if not more productive) while working from home — all while doing away with commuting. The same is true of adhering to the 9-to-5 schedule. Using cloud software solutions, employees can race through their workloads no matter where they’re based.

 

It’s bolstering communication

Isolated office-based employees and remote working in general wouldn’t be viable if it weren’t for the ease of modern communication. Communication is key, and with tools like Slack and Skype, colleagues can stay in close communication from anywhere and at any time — and then there are project collaboration tools (like Invision) that make it easier to pool expertise on specific tasks.

 

It’s allowing custom automation

The working world is full of repetitive tasks that soak up time: data entry, regular updates, inventory checks, etc. What’s great about software across the board is that it’s getting quite sophisticated with allowing ad-hoc automation sequences, and it’s saving massive amounts of time: Shopify businesses alone have saved over 9.2 million hours of productivity through process automation, and there’s plenty of progress yet to be made.

 

It’s supporting HR departments

Human resources is as vital a department as ever, but there’s so much to factor in that HR professionals can struggle with getting everything done manually. Using dedicated HR suites, they can not only get their jobs done more easily (enhancing their employee experiences), but they can also free up more time to help out other employees, enhancing their experiences.

 

It’s enhancing training programs

Staying static in one position isn’t something a good employee will accept in the long run. They’ll want to grow, develop, change, and have fresh opportunities to do new things. To keep them happy, and to enhance their workplace value, employers must invest in training. The problem with training programs, though, is that they can be somewhat generic.

The solution? Tech-enhanced training that offers new opportunities and smarter courses. Employees can engage with training materials on mobile devices at their leisure, customize their experiences to get the best results, and seamlessly share their progress with others.

 

It’s gamifying performance tracking

What motivates you to work hard? Is it a sense of dedication to your company? A commitment to being the best you can be? Or is it a desire to outperform your colleagues and show your dominance? It isn’t a trick question, because each answer is viable. Whatever drives you, though, technology is making it easier to challenge yourself.

Digital analytics can easily show you how you’re getting on relative to your colleagues, or relative to yourself in previous months. They can even show you your value to the company if configured for that purpose. You can then be driven by your eagerness to play that competitive game — to battle towards your selected targets on your own terms.

 

With every fresh technological innovation, the options for creating better employee experiences expand. Any company that wants to retain its best employees needs to be aware of all the benefits we’ve looked at, and take advantage accordingly.

To read more articles from Rodney Laws, click here

Fore more Awards International stories on employee experience, click here


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnSeptember 4, 20195min2910

IBM Employee Experience Index How do you quantify the employee experience? That’s what the boffins at IBM have been considering, and the results are fascinating.

You can view the whole text of their Employee Experience Index here.

As we prepare to launch the UK Employee Experience Awards 2020, we want to share the key findings of the report with you. Here’s what we made of it.

 

It’s really not about table football

Of course, workplace environment matters, but companies should not think that providing flashy perks, pinball machines and artisan coffees constitutes a fulfilling employee experience. In fact, those perks can be used to disguise an unhealthy work culture or other defects in the employee experience.

For IBM, there are five key dimensions to EX:

  • Belonging
  • Purpose
  • Achievement
  • Happiness
  • Vigour

Combining these dimensions to create the Index, IBM shared some interesting results.

Better EX means better, longer-lasting work

IBM conducted a survey of 23,000 employees in 45 countries to see how these factors contributed to a better experience. They also present compelling evidence that higher scores in these five dimensions leads to better work performance, higher discretionary effort, and greater levels of retention. When you look at the results of those with the top 25% highest EX index scores, and compare them with the bottom 25%, you can see the difference in performance.

  • 96% of positive EX workers had good work performance, compared to 73% of those with negative EX.
  • 96% of contented workers put in more discretionary effort, compared with just 55% who had negative EX.
  • 21% of positive EX workers intend to leave their place of work, compared to 44% of those with negative EX.

Feedback, environment and meaningful work also crucial

IBM Employee Experience Index - collaboration In some management philosophies, a notion persists that it’s counter-productive to give employees positive feedback. The evidence does not support this. In fact, just 40% of workers without consistent feedback report a positive employee experience. For those whose managers take the time and effort to give specific, actionable feedback, the EX score jumps to 83%.

Good relationships with colleagues are also crucial. When employees say their coworkers help them out when needed, 77% report a more positive employee experience, compared to 35% working in environments where help is not forthcoming. So it looks like cutthroat work environments don’t bring out the best in your employees!

The work itself must also be meaningful, ensuring ‘that employees’ skills and talents are being fully utilised and there is greater alignment to shared, core values.’ This is especially significant – just 29% of employees who aren’t sure how their work connects with organisational values report a positive experience.

What does this mean for businesses?

This report was very clear in its findings. Almost every factor made a significant difference to those in the top and bottom quartiles, sometimes as much as 50%.  This large variation can be explained by the fact that some companies are involving their employees in decision-making, giving them quality feedback and creating an environment in which workers help each other.

This isn’t just a question of personal and professional fulfilment: better EX policies make a substantial difference to work performance and cut down the costs on recruitment. Put simply, good EX makes better business sense.

 

For more Employee Experience stories, click here

Entries for the UK Employee Experience Awards 2020 will open shortly. In the meantime, book your seats the UK Customer Experience Awards and UK Business Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnAugust 21, 20194min1600

Stakeholder CapitalismAt Awards International, we’ve always believed in the importance of customer and employee experience. That’s why we organise the UK’s biggest Customer Experience Awards and the Employee Experience Awards.

We believe this approach to business benefits everyone, providing customers with better service, employees with better jobs, and ultimately leading to better commercial results.

So we were pleased to see the announcement from America’s top CEOs, the Business Roundtable, that companies should aim for more than just pleasing their shareholders.

Leaders from some of the biggest US companies, including Amazon, Apple, Walmart and IBM, signed a statement committing themselves to this approach. In this year’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, they outlined their vision:

 

While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders. We commit to:

  • Delivering value to our customers. We will further the tradition of American companies leading the way in meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
  • Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.
  • Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers. We are dedicated to serving as good partners to the other companies, large and small, that help us meet our missions.
  • Supporting the communities in which we work. We respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.
  • Generating long-term value for shareholders, who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate. We are committed to transparency and effective engagement with shareholders.

Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.

A better way

Stakeholder Capitalism - UK Customer Experience Awards

This announcement is a recognition of the changes in business culture over the past decade. As JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon put it, ‘major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term.’

At Awards International, we welcome these changes, but it’s nothing we haven’t been saying for the last ten years! We’re glad that the world’s biggest companies have finally caught on.

 

 

 

To book your table for the UK Customer Experience Awards, click here

For more stories on customer, digital and employee experience, click here

 

 


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMay 16, 20196min3320

Yesterday was the biggest and most successful UK Employee Experience Awards to date!

There was a buoyant mood in the air as business professionals came together to present their initiatives and celebrate the advances made in employee experience this year, and the standard of entries was exceptionally high.

 

Special mention goes to The Holly Private Hospital, who won gold awards in four categories and the Overall Winner prize for the highest-scoring individual entry. Octopus Energy and Brighterkind also performed strongly, winning two golds each. 

To see the full list of winners, click here.

The event itself stressed the importance of employee experience across sectors. With awards going to organisations ranging from dating apps to government agencies, it was a real chance to attain meaningful new EX perspectives. 

Thanks to the generosity of everyone in attendance, we also smashed our EXA charity raffle record by raising £3600 for Barnardo’s.

Hosted by Clare McDonnell, who praised the finalists for increasing employee-centrism in business, we enjoyed a keynote speech from Ben Whitter (a.k.a Mr Employee Experience) and surprise musical entertainment from The Three Waiters.

All in all, it was a fantastic event.

We look forward to seeing you there next year!

 


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 30, 201910min7730

There’s been a great deal of focus on customer experience in recent years, and rightly so. Smart CX strategies are helping to transform businesses and unlock their true potential.

As the science of customer experience continues to grow in sophistication, companies of all shapes and sizes have been reevaluating their strategies.

This isn’t just about priorities or values: it’s about the systems that ensure your business delivers an outstanding experience for your customer at every stage of their journey.

However, it’s absolutely vital to remember that customer experience does not exist in isolation, as some offshoot of HR. In fact, it’s about bringing all aspects of the business together to re-orientate their efforts around what is good for the customer.

For that reason, employee experience is absolutely integral to customer experience.

Head out of the Cubicle

Employee and User Experience - get out of your cubicle!

Unfortunately, a lot of employees still approach their work in a compartmentalised fashion: I must do this task and make the number go in the right direction.

They don’t always see the bigger picture, and that’s not their fault. Most of the time, they’ve been trained to focus on a specific metric, and they consider their job to be hitting those targets.

Once a company decides to move towards customer-centricity, however, one thing becomes clear: your employees are your greatest asset, and the key to realising any CX strategy.

This is just common sense: staff that are motivated, empowered and happy with their jobs can become your brand ambassadors.

On the other hand, if you treat your employees like numbers, don’t be surprised when they act like robots.

The Evidence

Empowering your staff and creating great employee experience sounds good in theory, but what is the evidence backing up the link between CX and EX?

A Gallup poll offers a striking statistic: companies with highly engaged employees outperform competitors by 147%

And research from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that productivity in organisations with connected employees tends to improve by 20-25%.

Summing up the research on this issue, Richard Mosley says the EX/CX link is ‘further reinforced by the numerous studies that have identified a strong correlation between satisfied employees, satisfied customers and positive business results, generally referred to as the service profit chain.’

 

Who Does it Best?

Employee and Customer Experience - the Godfather

Some businesses have understood this principle for a long time, and they’ve spent years enabling their employees to make decisions for the benefit of the customer.

Richard Branson was an early adherent. He famously said: ‘if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.’

But who else delivers outstanding customer experience as a result of a contented, proactive workforce?

Let’s take a look.

 

 

Supercell

This Finnish company produces mobile video games, and generates over $2 billion in sales a year despite having just over 200 employees.

The secret to this success, according to CEO Ilkka Paananen, is allowing each team a great deal of autonomy, thereby developing their own decision-making skills. Paananen says his goal is ‘ to be the world’s least powerful CEO. What I mean by this is that the fewer decisions I make, the more the teams are making. In a dream scenario that means the team is making all the decisions.’

 

Salesforce

A global leader in CRM and other software, Salesforce have created a loyal and passionate workplace culture.

Jody Kohner, Senior Vice President of Employee Marketing and Engagement, has shared some pearls of wisdom about how employee experience is great for business.

Beyond the product or service on offer, Kohner is convinced that customers ‘didn’t really care what else was out there; they wanted the energy of our people brought to their company.’

When it comes to Salesforce’s success, Kohner says: ‘we don’t take it for granted. We write it down, we prioritise it, measure it and hold ourselves accountable for it. We’ve found if everyone is aligned, we have 30,000 champions of this culture and it fuels itself.’

 

Bidfood

Customer and User Experience - Bidfood

One of the UK’s leading foodservice providers, Bidfood were the Overall Winners at last year’s UK Employee Experience Awards.

The first main reason for this was their ability to spread values through the organisation effectively. Bidfood streamlined their in-house values into the catchy expression – Care, Share, Dare – which they integrated into all training materials. This enabled them to spread these empowering ideas through the company.

As part of this, employees were encouraged to share their ideas with management, with over 10% of the workforce taking part. Every suggestion was taken forward in some way, and Bidfood have said this helped them stay ahead of their five-year financial plan.

 

 

 

Two Sides of the Same Coin

What do these businesses have in common?

They all realise that there’s no inherent tension between treating employees well and getting fantastic business results. In fact, your employees are the ones who will help you reach those goals. 

All these companies have clear sets of values which employees are acutely aware of, and enhance their decision making by having engaged staff members who believe in the business and want to share ideas to improve it. In short, they treat employee and customer experience as two sides of the same coin.

In the current business climate, customer experience is the best differentiation between brands; people are most likely to remember how an interaction with a business made them feel, and decide about repeat business based on that.

To succeed, you need people on the front-line who make your customers feel great. And the employees that can do this are the ones that feel valued, motivated and whose companies respect and act on their ideas.

 

If you have an inspiring customer or employee experience initiative that deserves recognition, enter the UK Customer Experience Awards now!