The APQC Blog

7 Smart Ways to Create Better Employee Engagement

Workers today have many options when it comes to choosing where they work. In a recent episode of the National Public Radio (NPR) program Planet Money—an episode titled Quit Threat!—economist Heidi Shierholz likened the situation to workers having a superpower. Program host Kenny Malone summed up the situation in the United States “We are either at full employment or very close, and that puts us in a moment where power is shifting from employers to workers.” 

In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that in today’s tight labor market even gig workers are hard to please. And, the labor market is competitive in many other countries not to mention for the most in-demand skills such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence

But employers have options too—options when it comes to engaging and retaining employees. In recent years, new approaches to fostering employee engagement have emerged, adding new power to employers’ ability to retain employees.

Keep reading for an introduction to some of these new engagement approaches that can give your organization a superpower when it comes to retaining employees. Then learn more from my on-demand webinar: Engagement and the Employee Experience.

New Approaches for Engaging Employees

#1 Employee Pulse Surveys—are administered by employers on a regular basis typically to representative samples of their workforce. Shorter than an annual all-employee survey, pulse surveys assess employee engagement and/or gather employee input on specific policies, benefits, or other employment issues. Pulse surveys can be used to supplement or replace annual all-employee surveys.

#2 Employee Net Promoter Score—applies the Customer Net Promoter Score methodology to employees. It indicates on a scale of 0-10 how likely an employee is to recommend an employer to a friend or colleague. Employees responding 0-6 are unhappy (detractors); 7-8 are satisfied but unenthusiastic employees (passives); and 9-10 are loyal enthusiasts (promotors). Employee Net Promotor Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Scores will range from -100 (where every employee is a detractor) to 100 (where every employee is a promoter).

#3 Employee Experience Design—is a deliberate approach to constructing the elements that truly matter to employees. It applies the same principles created for designing the customer experience to human capital management. This involves understanding employee needs in-depth, brainstorming ways to meet those needs, and rapidly testing ideas.

#4 Employee Personas—are fictional characters that distill information about a specific employee demographic. They are created using empathetic design tools—such as observation, interviews, and immersion—to gauge employee behavior, feelings, and motivations. A persona will often include an image, biography, and list of key attributes to help users understand and empathize with an employee group. Personas help employers improve the employment experience from the perspective of employees.

#5 Employee Experience Maps—are similar to customer journey maps. They depict an employee’s key interactions (also called touchpoints) with an employer, incorporating information about employee behavior, feelings, and motivations for each interaction or touchpoint. Maps are often tailored to a specific employee experience such as onboarding or a specific employee persona. The employee journey can be presented as a text-based timeline, but most employers depict it visually. Employers use employee experience maps as guides when working to improve the employee experience.

#6 Employee Sentiment Analysis—is an approach in which an employer uses software to scan employees’ communications (such as emails and internal social media posts), aggregate these, and analyze them to discern attitudes and opinions. Sentiment analysis allows employers to monitor and quickly respond to how their employees feel at any moment in time.  

# 7 Predicting Turnover Risk—is an approach in which an employer applies algorithms to its historical workforce data to predict when an employee is most likely to quit and what interventions are needed. In addition to predicting turnover risk, employers use predictive analytics to gauge the potential impact that HR policy or program changes, or employee experience design options, might have on employee engagement.

If workers’ employment options have your organization on edge, take advantage of these new employer options for engaging employees. Build an employee retention superpower by cultivating the kind of engaging experience that will have your employees coming back day after day and year after year.