How do you move from initial employee engagement survey to full-scale long-term measurement? Here are some expert tips to help you build an EX program that’s sustainable, scalable, and above all, beneficial to your business.

1. Establish ownership

The idea of developing and driving a multi-channel employee experience program, handling analytics and strategy, and acting on the feedback your receive in a timely way sounds daunting to say the least. So it’s just as well it’s not something you’ll be attempting alone.

EX programs by nature belong to everyone employed within the organization, and ultimately, when at full-scale, will touch every part of it. Your program will be unique to your company’s culture and built around its particular goals.

The first step, then, is to decide what you want your program to achieve, where you want to be in 3 or 5 years’ time, and how you’re going to get there. When you know your desired end-point, you can then decide on the methods you’ll use and the team who will be responsible for carrying them out.

In our experience, EX programs that incorporate the company’s own business language and style of communication are more effective. Creating a unique internal brand for the program which can be easily recognized and identified with is also a worthwhile practice.

2. Break open the silos

The traditional corporate model places different business functions in separate departments that don’t routinely co-operate. The same is true within departments – with HR, you’re likely to have different teams for recruitment, strategy and operations, for example.

When it comes to measuring and improving employee experience, you need to consciously break down the barriers between these silos and get an overview of the employee lifecycle.

Agile methodology can be an excellent tool for doing this. In an agile team, you’ve got multi-disciplinary groups working in ways that are task and outcome-focused, rather than routine and process-driven. Agile work can also be self-contained, with teams tackling different goals and sub-goals within boxed-off ‘sprints’ of time.

Software and infrastructure are important for developing communication channels across your silos. Agile tools like Kanban boards can help you keep track of individual tasks and accountabilities in a multi-departmental team.

3. Match your growth to your capacity for action

A full-scale EX program involves a range of different channels operating on varying timescales, from short-turnaround bite-sized feedback to annual surveys and full-population census studies.

If you switch on all of your channels at once, you’re likely to experience data overload very quickly. Employee feedback is pouring in but you don’t have the capacity to act on it, learn from it, or iterate your methods based on results. So it’s crucial to monitor the actions that flow from your feedback and understand how fast you develop and act on your insights. The goal isn’t to speed things up, but to get a realistic measure of how quickly things happen.

Once you’re aware of the pace, you’ll be able to make educated decisions about adding new channels and layers of complexity to your program, so it can grow in a controlled and well-structured way.

4. Be prepared for change

A good EX program is a long-term business asset, and one that becomes richer and more nuanced over time.

During the life of your program, the needs of your organization will change, as will the people in it and the wider industry you’re part of. You’ll also be working with changing technologies, even year-on-year, which bring infrastructure and security challenges with them.

The strength of your program is its flexibility. You need to be able to re-structure the program to suit its changing context, and keep an open ear for feedback that might not have been anticipated in your original survey structures and feedback channels. It’s also crucial to accommodate changing workplace culture and the emergence of new working practices that might be driven from outside your company or even your industry. Remember, nothing is set in stone!

You could schedule in a regular review with your EX team to assess changes you’ve observed within a year or 6-month period and discuss any adaptations that might be made to your EX program.

5. Match your technology to your vision

An EX program that breaks down silos, involves multi-disciplinary teams and drives action at every level of the organization can sound like a lot, particularly if your resources are already spread thin.

Your technology platform therefore needs to be the enabler, making all of this far simpler in practice than it sounds in theory. Automating feedback requests at scale and automatically delivering real-time results to managers throughout the organization is just the start.

You’ll also need a platform that applies powerful analytics and allows managers to plan and monitor their improvements in order to make it as easy as possible for everyone to identify the insights, find out what matters most to their teams and drive actions and improvements that have the biggest impact on the business as a whole.

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