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Remote work is here to stay, ushering in unprecedented workplace flexibility embraced by many employees, even in the face of a diminished sense of community or an inability to be as productive while working from home as in the office. This has prompted many organizations to rethink how to manage employee experience.
In a global research study on employee experience management, Metrigy found that only 17.6% of the 250 participating companies felt no changes were necessary to their strategies. Far more organizations either refined their approaches to employee experience because of the new workplace dynamics (52.3%) or initiated optimization programs due to the pandemic (26.6%).
Measuring employee experience
Whether organizations are refining or kicking off a commitment to employee experience, they must look for better ways to measure engagement using employee behavior and sentiment data. First, this data can help guide individual employees on how to change their behaviors so that they can be more engaged, while at the same time boosting their productivity and improving their well-being. Second, when viewed in aggregate and analyzed for organization-wide trends, this depersonalized data can influence positive change at team, departmental or corporate levels.
Traditionally, HR would be the go-to for assessing employee engagement or collecting sentiment data, using the capabilities of multifunctional employee experience management platforms offered by Lattice, Limeade, Medallia or Qualtrics. As employees participate in a town hall, for example, HR might insert an in-the-moment quick poll that asks how they feel about the topic at hand. To assess how employees feel over time on a particular issue or about the company overall, HR traditionally relies on period engagement surveys, often distributed at monthly, quarterly or annual intervals.
UC platform analytics provide experience insights
As remote work relies on unified communications (UC) tools -- particularly video meetings -- a new ilk of insight provider has entered the fray, and it's one that draws IT into the picture. Video meetings hold loads of engagement and behavior data that, when analyzed, can provide actionable insight for an individual and in aggregate. As a result, several UC vendors and ecosystem partners have launched behavioral insight tools.
The biggest players here are Microsoft's Viva Insights, a module for its Viva employee experience platform, and Cisco's Webex, with its collaboration insights package. UC management providers like Vyopta offer meeting insights for other UC app vendors -- such as Google Meet, RingCentral, Slack and Zoom, as well as Microsoft Teams and Webex -- as part of its Collaboration Performance Management platform.
The decision to gather, measure and provide guidance around employee engagement doesn't have to be one or the other, as multiple platforms can work to provide the big picture. For example, Limeade fully integrates into Microsoft Teams and Viva, while Webex has talked about layering in-app pulse feedback and survey tools.
Experience platform considerations
When evaluating an employee experience management platform or a UC app-oriented offering, consider these buying criteria:
- Integration. Look for integrations that provide a way to view employee engagement data in correlation with data from HR, customer experience, operations or other corporate apps, like performance management or service management tools. Additionally, determine where the employee insights are best surfaced, such as where employees spend their days, like in Slack or other team messaging apps.
- Data privacy, compliance and security. Assess employee engagement insight vendors on how they treat personal data, approach encryption, integrate with single sign-on and other authentication services, and whether they have necessary compliance verifications.
- User dashboard. Beyond integration with team messaging or other commonly used apps, also consider user dashboards for individuals and managers. Is this guidance and data presented in a desktop app via browser? Is it accessible via mobile browser?
- Customer service integration. If associating employee experience to customer experience is important to an organization, assess how to make this happen. Is it possible with the selected tools, or does it require a heavy custom lift?
Lastly, from an organizational standpoint, the main takeaway is that HR and IT need to put their heads together on employee engagement. A multifaceted view will prove more enlightening then a single set of data.