by Kathryn Kendall, Chief People Officer, Benefex
Stand aside, employee engagement. When it comes to the future of HR, there’s a new kid on the block.
For as far back as most HR professionals can remember, employee engagement has been the darling of the profession. It has been spelled out to us in multiple articles, seminars and discussion pieces. Engage your employees we are told, and everything else will fall into place. Choose to dismiss employee engagement as simply the latest HR ‘fad’, however, and you do so at your peril.
The problem is that, despite our passion and energy for engaging our employees, we haven’t actually known how to do it. Organisations across the globe have thrown increasing amounts of resource and capital behind so-called employee engagement initiatives, and yet the most recent Gallup figures show that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged. More startling still, this actually shows a drop in engagement since Gallup started recording its levels.
What this logically leads us to, then, is the dawning realisation that it’s simply not possible to influence employee engagement in isolation. In other words, employee engagement is an outcome of a process, rather than the process itself.
Let’s take the analogy of a runner – a runner, whom we want to run faster. We can focus all of our efforts onto wanting the runner to run faster. Despite our best endeavours, however, the impact on the runner’s speed will be non-existent.
Alternatively, we can focus our efforts on the things we know will influence our runner’s speed. We can spend time drawing up a fantastic training plan; purchasing the best pair of running shoes; ensuring their diet and fluid intake is perfectly balanced to maximise performance. All of a sudden, we are substantially improving the chances of them being able to increase their speed by implementing real and tangible interventions.
So – back to the world of work. If employee engagement is the outcome, then what is the focus for intervention in order to positively influence that outcome?
The answer is the 'employee experience', by which we mean every facet of an employee’s time at work, which has the power to influence them in some way, either positively or negatively. From their experience of the recruitment process to their first day as a new starter; from how they are performance managed to their experience as they leave the business and become an alumnus. Each of those processes has multiple touch points along the way, which together combine to become that overall employee experience.
In other words, the key to increasing employee engagement, and which we know directly drives it, its delivery and the achievement of organisational goals, is providing an employee experience which promotes that engagement.
It’s therefore with this in mind that Benefex has shifted its market positioning. We will continue to provide great employee benefits solutions for our clients but, at the same time, we're shifting our focus to the wider employee experience, outside solely the reward and benefits sphere. We believe we have the ability to work as a strategic partner with you: to use our technology to promote and deliver an employee experience which is outstanding on every front.
Sounds interesting? Come join us as we lead the employee experience revolution. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.