INTERVIEW: Fostering a good working relationship between employers and employees and the need to incorporate diversity, equality, and inclusion has been major pain points in the Singapore workforce.
While both are important in keeping employees happy and ensuring that the employee and the company perform well, attrition is still a major problem employers face.
Chief of Staff Asia’s conversation with Lauren Huntington, Qualtrics’ employee experience strategist, continues in this last part of our interview, where she talks about the difference between employee experience (EX) and experience management (XM), and how the breakdown of this understanding leads to attrition.
COS Asia: Have you done any surveys among leaders that indicate any correlation to the result of your employee survey?
Huntington: Industry research shows the gap between the experience company leaders think they deliver, and what experiences employees say they receive.
A powerful example of the importance of experience management in today’s fast-changing environments was when Deloitte found more than eight out of 10 company executives said their staff was doing well in terms of physical, mental, social, and financial well-being during the pandemic. But fewer than two out of three employees rated various dimensions of their health as “excellent” or “good”.
Similarly, 88% of executives felt like they made the best leadership decisions for the organisation, although just 53% of employees agreed.
This gap between what people think and what’s being experienced could cause losses in talent and productivity.
COS Asia: How does specialising in employee experience shape the way you form surveys such as this?
Huntington: Employee experience extends beyond just capturing feedback. It is about actively listening through multiple channels, democratising data, and most importantly, taking action with empathy, speed, and scale.
Qualtrics established the XM Operating Framework to help organisations develop their experience management (XM) capabilities and maximise the impact of their investments. It has six key competencies they need to master:
1. To lead through a clear XM strategy over multiple years
2. To realise strategic and financial value
3. To activate by ensuring the organisation has the skills, support, and motivation to achieve the desired results
4. To enlighten by transforming data into useful information
5. To respond by acting on learnings
6. To disrupt by identifying and creating experiences that differentiate.
Qualtrics also formed the Centre for XM Innovation in Asia to develop the XM discipline in Singapore, build professional capabilities for XM locally, and foster a community of XM professionals to further the category.
COS Asia: What made you focus on and become an EX strategist?
Huntington: A key driver throughout my career as an organisational psychologist has been to make workplaces more equitable and enjoyable, considering we spend much of our lives engaging in work. Today, as we see unprecedented challenges and increased experimentation with workplace practices, I believe this goal has never been more important or impactful.
HR and people leaders have a rare opportunity to positively define the way we work for generations to come. Because of this, it’s key we use direct employee feedback to design the experiences people want and need. Equally paramount is to continuously listen so we are agile enough to respond when new experiments are not landing as we expect, or unintentionally marginalise groups within our organisations.
COS Asia: Would you like to add anything?
Huntington: For HR and people leaders, knowing what matters most to employees is mission-critical in today’s fast-changing environments. By understanding and acting on what’s important to employees, employers will be well-placed to retain employees and keep them engaged and productive. The companies that get their responses right stand to pick up outsized gains in market share.
Some of the most innovative and impactful experience management programs we see are when organisations integrate insights from their customer and employee experience programs on a single platform. This allows businesses to understand how their employee experience impacts customers and tells them what they can do to improve outcomes for both.
For instance, a hospitality brand was able to pinpoint the areas of its employee experience that are the biggest drivers of positive customer experiences. With this understanding and the ability to quickly act on feedback, the company can prioritise the investments and actions it takes, while simultaneously delivering better customer and employee experiences. These are key advantages in the current economic environment.