Tag: people analytics

How COVID-19 Reshaped the Employee Experience with Ben Eubanks

On any given normal workday, we see our employees come into the office and go about their work. Their mere presence at work tells us a lot more than we think.

If an employee shows up at work, then they are not too sick to get out of bed, at the hospital, taking care of their children, or caring for other loved ones. We can also assume that nothing overly drastic has happened in their life such that they would need to be somewhere else. We can further deduce from their appearance and behavior, compared to their normal, if they are stressed or agitated. (Thanks Watson)

That is a lot of assumptions that we typically have unlimited access to when working alongside coworkers.

Covid-19 has taken most of that away from us.

We have no idea what is going on with our employees. We know they are getting their work done because they respond to emails, take conference calls, and meet deadlines. But all of the external factors that affect their mental state are a complete mystery.

Are their family members healthy? Are their kids driving them crazy? Are they short on hard-to-find supplies (why is all the toilet paper gone?!)? Do they personally feel under the weather? Are they supported with the technology they need to do their job? Are they agitated at all the information they’re being bombarded with?

These are just some of the things that are definitely affecting the workforce of today. In a recent podcast with Ben Eubanks, HR Analyst, Author, and Podcaster, he describes the fundamental attributes that organizations must have as they work with their new logistic set up – grace. Ben describes the attitude of grace as one of compassion and understanding. While we don’t necessarily know all of the things that are going on in our employees’ lives, we do know that there are now a lot of unknowns. Being truly empathetic of that and treating our employees accordingly is the true meaning of grace. To hear the rest of the podcast go to Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Ben, go to his site: https://lhra.io/.

Employees and employers alike are having a tough time with so many things that have nothing to do with their day-to-day responsibilities. Now more than ever, employers need to listen and hear what is going on with their at-home workforce to better lead and assist them through the tough times ahead.

Ending Human Trafficking with Employee Engagement with Gabrielle Thompson

As far as titles go, the above might be slightly melodramatic. Nevertheless, it’s one hundred percent valid.

In a recent podcast with Gabrielle Thompson, CEO of Free for Life International, we had the opportunity to discuss how her organization’s mission is the identification, assistance, and restoration of victims and survivors of human trafficking. (Before we get any further into this article, please consider making a donation at their website.) No one would argue that their goal is an ambitious and noble one. It’s also a very difficult, multifaceted plight to tackle. There are several different areas of focus that could be leveraged in order to make progress, but all of them share a central, common resource – they all require people to get it done.

On the spectrum of types employees an organization like Free for Life would want to aide them in their mission to end human trafficking, they don’t want people showing up just for a paycheck. Too many organizations settle for employees who are just there to get paid. Worse yet, by and large, it’s the fault of the organization.

Free for Life has a very strong and clear mission. Because of the strength and clarity of that mission, they know exactly what they are looking for when they hire new people. They’re looking for candidates who share that same passion for freedom. This simple onboarding lens allows Free for Life to make sure that they are not hiring the wrong type of people into their organization.

Thousands of people have been rescued through the efforts of Free for Life. These rescues did not occur because of a group of employees who are apathetic about the overall success of the company.

Freedom happened because their employees are engaged.

Most organizations don’t have the same caliber of cause to rally behind but that doesn’t mean that don’t have any cause at all. If companies want passionate, engaged employees, then they themselves need to be passionate and engaged in a clear, understandable mission.

To hear more about how Free for Life uses their powerful mission to engage its employees, please visit Forging Employee Experience. If you’d like to connect with Gabrielle and hear more about the work they are doing reach, out to them at https://freeforlifeintl.org/contact-us/.

Once again, please consider donating via their website.

Engaged Employees Are Better For Business with Andrew Saidy

Organizations that feel a sensible desire to keep shareholders happy, will continuously be looking for ways to decrease costs. Cutting costs is an extremely important element to running a business. Unfortunately, we sometimes get in to trouble cutting costs in place that end up costing money in the long run. Not upgrading IT equipment will eventually result in expensive outages. Buying the cheapest parts will eventually lead to product defects. Not actively learning about customers will eventually ease a company into irrelevance.

Successful businesses understand cutting costs in these areas is short-sighted. However, one area that organizations tend to forget about is the wholistic well-being of employees. Most employers operate in such a way as to bifurcate an employee’s work life and their personal life. At the very worst, organizations typically consider outside of work events as beyond their responsibility. At best, they make few allowances for such events.

Ten years ago, this strategy was fine. Work and home life could be reasonably compartmentalized. The same cannot be said for today’s workforce. Employees are always able to log in and get work done. While in many circumstances, employers don’t force employees to work outside of regular business hours; in most circumstances there is an unspoken pressure to do so.

This creates a reality where “work life” slowly bleeds into “personal life.” Whether organizations like it or not, they are drain on employees’ free time. So if there is no boundary on how much personal time an organization takes up for an employee, can an argument really be made the organizations shouldn’t be concerned with the employee’s entire well-being?

On a recent podcast, Andrew Saidy, the VP of Talent Digitization at Schneider Electric, shared his experiences of how his company has leaned into this idea of accommodating for an employee’s entire well-being. By realizing that the notions of “personal life” and “work life” are becoming less and less distinct, Schneider Electric has managed to de-compartmentalize the two. Its employee experience initiatives are all entirely focused on making sure the life – not just work— experience of an employee is the best it can be. To hear the entire episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Andrew, visit him at his LinkedIn.

The workforce dynamic will continue to tread towards less distinct differentiations between work and personal life. This is a huge benefit to companies in terms of productivity and engagement from employees. In return, organizations should be willing to help support all aspects of an employee’s life – not just as it relates to work.

Moving People Analytics into Action with Jeff Jolton, PwC

We would like to thank Jeff for his time and expertise. We encourage everyone to check out his LinkedIn profile, Jeffrey A. Jolton. You can also reach him through jeffrey.a.jolton@pwc.com.

To engage their employees, organizations must give them a voice.  In our most recent podcast with Jeffrey Jolton, we talked about the importance of reaching out to employees through surveys and what it means to actually listen to the responses.   Jeffrey is the managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) people analytics practice.  He has over 15 years of executive consulting experience and has contributed to over 90 publications and presentations related to engagement and employee experience.  He is a regular presenter at numerous professional conferences and is published extensively in both business periodicals and scientific journals. He co-edited a book on global HR practices and holds a PhD in industrial organizational psychology from Ohio University.

Employers often try to engage with their employees through engagement surveys. Yet, they don’t often see honest feedback and optimistic participation. This indifference to engagement surveys comes from a lack of action in response to the survey. When the survey process is done properly, it provides the company with better data on how to improve. However, if the organization doesn’t take timely steps to make those improvements, employees will begin to doubt the efficacy of the effort they expended filling out the survey. This apathy will result in a much less effective surveying process and workforce that doesn’t trust its leadership. Managers and leaders then should act on the feedback they receive in a positive way to improve the company overall.

Jeff discussed that in engaging employees, companies should have intentionality. He emphasized that if a company is just doing it because everyone else is and doesn’t really have a sense of why they want an engaged environment, then they’re not going to see a lot of success.  Jeff continued by saying that many companies don’t actually know what engaging employees would mean and how would it change their business, yet they still take employee surveys because that’s what they think they should be doing. He opined that a survey is an effective strategy when done intentionally. Surveys should communicate to employees that their feedback is crucial for the company’s well-being. Surveys should also be able to get across to the employees that the feedback will be used for them and not against them. Surveys should contain questions that are relevant to those taking it. Finally, survey data should be analyzed and best off the results, noticeable actions should be published to the company and implemented. When companies take action based on survey results, employees are more likely to participate in giving future feedback. However, Jeff concluded by saying that surveys may not be the right tool for all companies. Companies should think of the right strategy for them and act accordingly

Companies should be authentic in wanting to engage employees. Listen to the full podcast to learn more on how employee feedback can propel companies forward.  Reach out to your colleagues and be a force for change.

What is Employee Engagement?

Welcome to our podcast!

We’re here to help you gain a greater understanding of what employee engagement is and expertly craft the best employee experience.

Employee engagement is hard to define, and much more difficult to apply. That’s why we are digging deep into this crucial topic to provide you with practical and applicable results based on business research, expert advice and interviews, and giving you actionable best-practices to enhance your company culture and increase employee morale.

If you are concerned about your company culture or want to improve it, then jump in with both feet and learn what leading experts are saying about employee engagement.

Check out our first ever episode!

We’d love your feedback so feel free to leave a comment and we’ll be sure to respond.

We look forward to providing you with the most value possible.

Thanks for listening and joining us on the amazing adventure. We’ll catch you on next episode with Employee Engagement Rebel, Debra Corey!


Josh: Hello listeners and welcome to Forging Employee Engagement. Our official podcast and yes! this is our very first episode. I’m joined here with my co-host Alexander Noren. How are ya buddy?

Alexander Noren: Literally, couldn’t be better. It’d actually be a crime, it would be illegal if I was going better than I am right now. This is just exciting stuff that we are starting off here.

Josh: Wow! You sound like a puppy dog. Well, let’s get started man. What we are essentially striking out to do is we want to define Employee Engagement for the world. Let’s be honest if you’re listening to this, you have some sort of tie to the employee engagement space and it might be frustrating to look out there and find out that there is not much content at all around employee engagement. You might get people’s opinions and you might see some research articles that are very generic but when it comes down to it, nobody really knows how to define Employee Engagement.

Alexander Noren: Which is really a shame, right? This is a critical industry. We are talking about the future of how people work in the office. This is so important and yet we’re still not all on the same page. We are going to do our very best to help get everyone together here on one common ground to say, “All right. What does this stuff mean and how can we apply it moving forward.”

Josh: That’s right. Just to get us started, we want to address the idea that we don’t have a good definition of Employee Engagement. I actually have an article here from Harvard Business Review. This is done by Shawn Graber, I hope it’s the later because man that would be unfortunate.

Alexander Noren: Grabier? Perhaps.

Josh: Grabier.

Alexander Noren: Interesting.

Josh: Let’s go with that. This is Shawn Grabier.

Alexander Noren: Well, it’s Harvard so it’s fancy.

Josh: Or it could be French, it could be Grabee.

Alexander Noren: That could be, yes.

Josh: Shawn, could you please come on our show and clear this up for us. We can’t even define your name much less Employee Engagement. Anyways, he said this, “Each year, companies spend nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in an effort to improve employee engagement. That is a ton of money on employee engagement.

Alexander Noren: That’s a lot of money.

Josh: It’s a ginormous industry. He says, “Yet, you will get wildly inconsistent answers if you ask managers what that means. Academics, consultants and leaders have been grappling with this question for decades. Their working range is simple like Discretionary Effort to the mind bending complex nomological network encompassing trait, state and behavioral constructs.”

Alexander Noren: I understood next to nothing in that sentence.

Josh: Thank you Harvard Business Review. What he essentially saying is it can be a very personal thing for organisations and it can be very simple or it can be extremely complex. All I want to do on this podcast is to get down to the nitty and gritty and give you a nice solid definition. It starts with where did Employee Engagement even came from.

Alexander Noren: Yes, and it got an interesting story. Right? You turn the clocks of time back to the very beginning of the working world. When we started employing people, it was a very much, “Hey, you do this and I’ll give you money. Just do it right and that is it.” That is the extent of the relationship. As the decades have passed, we’ve come to realise that there’s actually more to this relationship than just an exchange of money and services. You started trying to develop this concept and that’s we are coming from. We are evolving as a society from this.

Josh: Yes, think of the evolution of industry in general. Back in the day, The Rockafeller’s and The Carnegie’s, we needed to build steel. We needed to create a railroad. We needed to hire people to come in and do a job. We needed to build two miles of railroad a day. I don’t care how I treat you or what it takes just get it done. We almost treated these people as tools and so we evolve in this workplace of “We still need to get the job done and you still need to do your job but we’ll pay you”, or we’ll compensate you so that you can at least feel that you’re doing something with you life.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely. What we’re looking at as we go forward into the future is saying, “Here we are, we are in a good relationship” where employees and organisations understand that there is a mutually beneficial connection between the two. How do we enhance that more to mimic real working relationships, if you take out the word employee and employer. Say person one and person two are in a relationship where person one tells person two what to do and person two is expected to do it. Person two receives an amount as compensation. That’s not a great relationship to be in; however, if you rephrase that. Well, person one and person two are in a mutually beneficial relationship where person one needs person two to do something and person two feels internally compelled to do it because they respect and appreciate each other. Now, all of a sudden that’s a positive relationship and that’s what really the future is in this industry is to have organisations treat their employees like their in a relationship. To treat them like a significant other or best friend.

Josh Drean: Person one, if you’re listening. You need to do a little bit better helping person two get through life in the workplace at least. You think about it, these people are dedicating a lot of time to being at work. They should feel satisfied, their work matters and that they’ve been taken care off. Let’s be honest, this evolution continues to happen to where now we have employee benefits, extra things like Google who lets you do yoga with your dog at work or Facebook. These are places that you want to work at because–

Alexander Noren: It’s a community.

Josh: –it’s a community and you feel taken cared off. In today’s world, we have not evolved yet. We are still treating people as tools. Here’s you contract and how well is that working? If you’re listening to this, you know it’s not working well at all. Did you know the average retention rate in companies is a year and a half.

Alexander Noren: Yes. It really is sad and with all of the research that has been done and all that progress has been made we know there’s a better do it. If you’re listening in, you know that too. You know there’s a better way and we are going to embark on this journey together to figure out how we can best navigate this space and make the most improvements and changes to organisations so that employees and employers can co-exist together in a harmonious way I supposed to this contractual obligation.

Josh: That’s right. We are seeing cool stuff done in the industry. Currently, we have Employee Engagement Software that lets you do surveys more than just one time a year. They complied the results and package it nicely so that you can look at it in a report. There are great companies doing that right now, we’re moving just passed self recorded data like sensory analysis. We can look at how people are feeling based on their communications via e-mail or another aspects.

Alexander Noren: Right.

Josh: The future is A.I. in compiling this data that we can now collect into a way that HR Tech is no longer just this fluffy alias talk to about work culture. We turned it into this thing were we can bring hard data to the table and we can show the CEO that the reason people aren’t staying because of X Y and Z. We have proof in the data and if we make these changes,we would end up saving thousands of dollars.

Alexander Noren: Millions of dollars.

Josh: Millions of dollars a year on a–

Alexander Noren: Internal review, training, finding new people, the stress. There are many reasons why financially, from a business point of view, it makes sense to pay attention to this data.

Josh: And Alexander, you mentioned quite often about the customer experience revolution.

Alexander Noren: Oh yes.

Josh: This is a huge deal, right? Now, we have to treat customers like people because we’re not the only option. We don’t have monopoly, they could go buy our product in five different places. We need to create an experience for customers that is untouchable.

Alexander Noren: Right.

Josh: If you look at it, the best driver for happy customers is happy employees.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely.

Josh: One can make that argument.

Alexander Noren: That’s an easy argument to make. Any product or service that you interacted with where you had to speak with a company representative. By enlarge, your impression of that product or service is greatly affected by how you interacted with that employee, airline is a great example for that. You can tell which airlines treat their employees terribly and which ones don’t. It reflectively takes a flight student to be nice or could not careless. The same thing translates absolutely to every industry. Make sure your employees are treated like they matter. Then they will in return not only work harder which is nice but they’ll be invonnvaters on the job. They will think about, “Hey, what can I do to help this organization that I worked in the best possible way” whether that’s customer service or product development, sales or even banking stuff like accounting. All these aspects would be enhanced as employers start helping the organisation, employees feel that they make a difference.

Josh: Helping your employees feel that they make a difference is going to give them a sense of significance and belonging. We don’t want to jumped too far from the psychology of this all yet. A happy employee tends to be a productive employee. What we want to do is very simply dive into some of this. We want to interview lead researchers, we want to take the top performers, we want to look at companies that are doing it right. Bring their CEOs onto this podcast and ask them what is the secret sauce. Let’s be honest, it’s not going to work for every single company but at least listeners have a place to go where you have all this information in one place and you can draw upon it in your own business, you can take the stuff that you like, you can throw out the stuff you don’t like and hopefully we can help you create a better and safe work environment.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely right. The good new is we already have lots of people lined up for our show and we are excited to take a real deep dive into this wonderful space and bring the most value to you. We’re excited to have you in this journey with us.

Josh: Stop listening to this episode because it’s just us rambling. Let’s get to the experts joining us on the next episode.