There’s an overlooked strategy in HR, one that promises to change the game when it comes to improving employee retention. It’s called the “employee experience” and here’s how Kind Mind helps.
The idea of staff experience isn’t a new practice, it’s simply one that has been overshadowed by goals. What’s changed is our realisation that how we value our employees directly affects the performance of our organisation.
As wellness software providers, here at Kind Mind, we want to dive deeper into how we see HR strategy changing and how wellness plays a bigger role in delivering a more effective employee experience.
We start with what’s shaping the change.
Kind Mind’s view: What’s changing in HR? The focus on employee experience
There are several things happening in HR at the moment, but the biggest challenge is the focus on employee experience – a rising replacement for what we used to refer to as traditional talent management.
Talent management is the practice of developing and retaining employees, focused strictly on business goals. What it misses is an appreciation for how, where and why employees disengage and leave a business, affecting company culture and EVP as a result.
Employee experience is a more holistic approach to talent management, one that puts your people first.
This is how it is playing out.
It’s now or never: The battle for employee retention
Gallup recorded that only a staggering 21% of employees say they are engaged at work. That means that 79% of your staff are showing up, watching the clock, and producing less quality and quantity of work as a result.
Why is this happening?
The last few years have been tough for our staff, they’ve been hit by a global pandemic and rising costs. In 2022 they were told that they’d face a 5-year recession – it feels like the bad news never ends! So, it’s understandable that despite worrying about external factors, employees are also asking if working with you is the right choice.
More people moved houses as a result of the pandemic and workers took to The Great Resignation in droves, swapping jobs or retiring from jobs they hated for something entirely new. We even saw younger generations “quiet quitting” their jobs, a trend to produce the bare minimum at work, in the hope that they’d be asked to leave. As a result, employers faced staff attrition rates that they’d not seen before and the battle for employee retention began.
With employee power at an all-time high, employers have had to balance organisational needs with the demands for hybrid work, better compensations and more. It meant systemic change across the board.
Now that the recession is setting in, it might be easy to think that the shift of power would switch back. That might be true, to a degree, but we believe that while staff might stay for longer, they might not be satisfied.
This is why it’s really important to understand the role of employee retention in your HR function. To help you understand, Kind Mind has produced a guide on how employee experience impacts retention here.
How wellness became an HR problem
The frightening truth about our employee’s mental and physical health is that it’s in pretty bad shape these days. Sickness absence rates rose to 2.2% in 2021, the highest it’s been since 2010, with an estimated 149.3 million working days lost. Whilst much of this might be brushed away as Coronavirus, the reality is that something much deeper is happening.
Mental health problems are rising with as many as 1 in 6 people being diagnosed with a common form of mental health disorder (mostly women, or those from lower economic backgrounds and poor social conditions). The statistic covers a broad range of issues and include complaints such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, autism, mild PTSD and even substance disorders.
Young people’s confidence and happiness in their physical health is falling too and is at one of the lowest points since 2009. Weight is one of the biggest concerns recorded, with most people reporting a one-kilogram increase during lockdowns, resulting in an 8% recorded increase in diabetes.
All of this has meant that only 33% of employees feel that they are thriving in their overall well-being.
At Kind Mind, we believe that employee wellness is crucial for business success. It leads to higher engagement, better productivity and less sick days among your people. It also cultivates a happier culture, which in turn slows employee turnover.
This is why it is vital that we stop thinking that employee wellness is “their problem” and instead treat it as an approach to employee development.
Want to learn more? We’ve written a full guide to how a great employee experience impacts employee wellness.
The demand for higher engagement and productivity during a recession
As we move into a global recession we are expecting employee engagement and productivity to dip as a result of uncertainty.
Why is employee uncertainty such a worry?
A big percentage of today’s workforce witnessed The Great Recession of late 2007-2009 and some of those also experienced the devastating effects of the Double Dip 1980s Recession and the stock market crash in the early 1990s. This means they know exactly what a recession can do to their pockets – rising taxes, rising costs and more layoffs. With over 2.17 million households already using foodbanks in the UK and now a slew of continued strikes in early 2023 we can already see the uncertainty becoming an issue for businesses.
What does employee experience have to do with uncertainty?
Employee uncertainty can quickly turn to worry, which manifests into decreased productivity and engagement. In turn, this can increase absenteeism and even a reduction in retention. If you don’t offer a great employee experience, then the chances are you will feel an impact.
Can we make a measurable impact on the employee experience and lift the mood?
Yes. If we concentrate our HR efforts on creating a happy, safe and prosperous environment. Companies which are open, inclusive and supportive stand out as people to work for and engage with. Companies that create a positive employee experience produce higher employee engagement levels. Seeing a 21% increase in productivity, an 81% decrease in absenteeism and a reduction in turnover. They also fare better in public perception, which helps sales.
The effects of a happy employee stretch further than higher output, they also positively affect your customers’ experience too. With as many as 70% of surveyed businesses reporting a direct correlation between positive employee experiences and customer satisfaction.
How the employee experience changes traditional talent management strategies
Here at Kind Mind, we believe that employee experience adds a layer of employee-focused tasks to traditional talent management. Getting this right can promote a supportive and collaborative workspace that encourages innovation.
We recently wrote a guide called “How to design the best employee experience for your business”, in which we talked extensively about considerations and implementation ideas to effect change in your human resource process. To paraphrase – the main difference between talent management and employee experience is the humanised approach to our people.
Let us show you what we mean.
Your human resources flow needs to be more human
The bigger we grow as businesses, the more removed an employee can feel from the business and its owners. The feeling of disconnection can be unsettling for staff, causing worry, confusion and even resentment. The rising problem quickly spreads among groups of staff and then embeds itself in company culture. Once it’s there, it can be incredibly hard to get rid of.
By contrast, a positive company culture can foster an engaged and productive workforce, one that motivates employees, boosts morale and improves job satisfaction.
What you need to start considering is where in your HR process flow you need employee touchpoints and why. The key is helping you establish new protocols and policies that fill in the gap between old-school talent management and an employee experience focus.
Considering how you can add more human touch points to your HR process? Let us help with our handy guide!
Your HR flow won’t make sense without wellness consideration
Here in the UK, Marks & Spencer has had a long history of humanised HR success, winning awards for their treatment and development of staff. They have realised that HR benefit packages aren’t just about remuneration, training and a casual staff discount, it’s also about great health, finance and well-being programmes. They have made working for them about becoming part of a family. You see this time and again, whether it’s through their cost of living support packages or important breast screening programmes. As a result, their EVP is through the roof, with staff actively voting the company as one of the UK’s best to work for.
Using the right technology to change your employee experience
Whilst we talk about being more human with our employees, we have to acknowledge that larger companies will face difficulty in maintaining direct links to staff on the ground. This means training management to pick up that mantle and provide stellar HR processes to map and deliver the employee journey.
But how do you implement a more human approach that is controllable, measurable, efficient and cost-effective?
By integrating technology.
Employee experience technology comes in many forms, allowing you to monitor the likes of; productivity, professional development and wellness.
HR technology is measurable too and shows your employee retention rates, engagement rates and business gains. But before you deploy a budget, consider what your goals are, how you intend to measure them and set that against costs per employee or department.
A great way to get started in understanding your tech search is through our full guide on how technology is positively impacting the employee experience.
Kind Mind works with leaders to integrate wellness into their employee experience
Here at Kind Mind, we are founded based on two core missions when it comes to employee experience;
- To create wellness touchpoints for employees and employers that promote happiness, health and personal success in the workplace.
- To complement your existing functions and empower you to create a more impactful and meaningful employee experience.
Let us show you what we mean.
Creating inclusionary and accessible touch points throughout your employee journey
At Kind Mind, we understand that a blanket approach to wellness isn’t going to cut it.
Instead, we have designed our software to specifically tailor support for an employee’s wellness journey, giving your people actionable information.
Our user flow is designed to appreciate a multitude of feelings, behaviours and scenarios associated with wellness. Our content and advice are sympathetic to preference, culture and demographics allowing for truly bespoke recommendations.
You too get information and lots of it! Our data will help you make informed decisions and start important conversations.
Providing a safe space for employees to be honest
A wellness platform isn’t going to work if it does not provide a safe space for your people’s voice.
At Kind Mind, we believe that mapping out the right well-being journey for your staff is centred around understanding them. To do this we have been very deliberate in how we built our algorithm to learn from each user. Meaning we can provide the best next step in uplifting mood and empowering the right action, given their situation.
We feel that with the trust of your employees, we can be the spokesperson for their opinion. It’s something which we think you will agree means you can be more considered in workplace policy and process actions.
Diving deep into mental and physical wellness
We don’t want to be an app that throws advice at users without backing up our methods in research. Instead, we want to be right in the thick of it. By doing so we feel that Kind Mind can present solutions that positively affect mental and physical wellness.
Through encouraging engagement with our app, we are there for your employee at every step of their journey. It could be that they are struggling with weight loss, wishing to save money for a house, or struggling with anxiety.
The data we get as a result goes back into our learning as well as yours. Meaning that while you can track company culture, we can work on fresh content and features that benefit your people’s health and happiness.
Giving you real-time data for more informed decision-making
The data each employee gives us is automatically consolidated for real-time reporting. This allows our app to become more than just another tool, but an integrated part of your People function.
You’ll see things like how your staff gauge their work-life balance, presenteeism, sleep, energy and stress levels, plus so much more.
And remember whilst that might not feel like a tangible ROI, the impact of positive change in these metrics will almost certainly have an influence effect on a company’s financials.
Providing you with engagement support for a more connected culture
We don’t want to leave you with data reports without providing your leaders and HR team with the best support they need. This is why Kind Mind has a dedicated support team to help you understand the data you receive and how that impacts your employee experience.
Kind Mind: The employee experience is here and what you do next matters!
It is undeniable that the employee experience is here to stay. Many HR experts are already implementing new employee journey flows and experience touchpoints as a result. Businesses are seeing bigger changes in their business outcomes because of these new processes – which leaves you in a tricky spot. You need to move fast but move carefully.
So what’s your first step?
Throughout this article, we have given you lots of links to guides, all of these are great reading for a good starting point.
If you want to make real gains, we think your next port of call should be talking to your staff. A very open and honest discussion will give you a clear idea of how they feel and what they are going through. The result of that conversation creates a picture of what’s working and what isn’t in your HR approach – giving you a more personal and actionable starting point.
Good luck and we’re here when you need us!