Evidently, satisfied employees are one of an organization's most important KPIs. Perhaps a focus on the moments that matter can help. Human Development Managers Sara Wouters and Evelien Boon at TriHD share their own experiences.
"Employee engagement is something every organization wants to achieve in every employee. It is an end goal. To get to it, you have to work on the employee experience. That's the process of getting to employee engagement." Speaking is Human Development Manager Evelien Boon.
"That employee experience is shaped by moments that matter", adds her colleague Sara Wouters. "So much for theory and so much for the easy part of the story. The trick is in figuring out those moments, which are different for every employee. This is part of human development."
Although the moments differ for each person, the two Human Development Managers see that certain moments are recurring. "Often they are moments where it's about the connection of colleagues with each other or with the organization, moments where there is an evaluation of the person's competencies and that make us feel recognized or moments that give us new insights," knows Evelien, who collaborated on the Antwerp Management School study about this.
Going beyond the Olympic minimum on the first day
For example, an employee's start - from the application to the first few days - appears to be key. Sara: "A negative experience outweighs a positive one. That's why the first hours and days are so important. They set the tone."
Specifically, this involves how the application process went, how the onboarding is handled - go for the personal approach - and whether all practical matters are well taken care of. "That car, laptop and cell phone are in order on the first day is an Olympic minimum," echoes Evelien. "And yet sometimes things still go wrong in this area."
"A negative experience outweighs a positive one.”
"But certainly don't limit yourself to that Olympic minimum," adds her colleague. "In the pre-boarding, at TriHD we provide a welcome pack as well as an overview of who will be on your team. We also invariably have lunch with the team on the first day, just to make the welcome personal."
Pick one specific moment
Undoubtedly, it is useful for any organization to find out what the moments that matter are in their organization and build on them.
“We strongly advise you to pick one specific moment to start with. The moment that, when re-engineered, the employee experience will rise significantly”, explains Evelien. “Focusing on this specific moment that matters and taking it to the next level is better than making some minor adjustments to different moments that only increase its impact very slightly.”
For instance at TriHD we are currently re-engineering the status meetings between consultant and client, because this came out as a significant moment in the employee journey.
“We strongly advise you to pick one specific moment to start with.”
"Our consultants have several evaluation moments a year. In this context, the regular status meetings with the customer are important appointments," Sara explains. "They have several purposes: to sound out the recent achievements and recommendations, to ask for feedback from both sides and to offer recognition for the work done. This complexity means that we still see room for improvement here. The conversations could go deeper in terms of content and feedback.”
“We kicked-off a specific project to re-engineer this moment. On the one hand we want to put our consultants in the driver seat and make them confident enough to ask for feedback on specific issues. On the other hand, we want to support the customer to be able to give feedback in an informed way ", Evelien adds. “We set up a project team with different stakeholders that will redesign this moment and we expect to see a very positive effect on our employee satisfaction and hence retention.”
How do you get it right?
The moments that matter may be different for everyone or have different importance, but the ways to tackle it well are fortunately similar. "Choose the moments well," begins Evelien Boon. "Not every moment is a moment that matters. So don't constantly put the spotlight on it, but on the other side, make sure you treat everyone equally. Everyone deserves attention at the same type of moment."
"At an important moment such as an evaluation moment, you can also opt for a small extra," Sara Wouters adds. "In our case, for example, the business unit manager then sends a card or a message. Our way to show that we support our people and that we want to go the extra mile."
As a final element, they both refer to personalizing the moments. Since not every moment is equally important to everyone, you can estimate and segment in advance.
Combination of personalized, authentic and workable
Personalization turns out to be the hardest factor to deal with. Ideally, everyone should get a personalized approach, but of course that does not work in large organizations. "The ideal approach is a combination of personalized, authentic and workable", concludes Sara.
But how do you measure whether your approach has an impact? "That's in the ultimate KPI", echoes Evelien. "Do people stay with your organization longer? Then you have an impact. If they don’t, you don’t. But of course there is always room for improvement..."