Employee Experience industry useful reports – January 2024

3 Minutes
Here’s links to recent reports we’ve come across that we’ve found interesting and some of our key takeaways from them.

The importance of empathetic conversations

HR Director discusses how to create truly inclusive and empathic workforce cultures.

Takeaways:

  • HR leaders 'must listen to employees' - It's not just HR leaders who need to listen to employees; all leaders/managers should
  • There is a positive trend among companies today to encourage employees to “bring their whole self to work”' - Whereas this is a good sentiment; what does this mean in practice? Is it extended beyond EDI aspects to include behaviours, politics etc.?
  • HR leaders must first establish open channels for employee feedback' - Yes, and not just surveys... the most powerful feedback mechanism is between an employee and their line manager
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a game-changer' - Yes it can be in terms of saving time, interpreting free text survey answers etc.

HR shouldn’t seek to control employee feedback. It should flow between employee to line manager regularly. It’s valid to have set piece employee feedback – such as pulse surveys – but you shouldn’t wait months to hear what employees think.

Link to article: https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/employee-engagement/design-employee-experience-empathetic-conversation/

The productivity crisis

In his fortnightly column in The Spectator, Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK, hails ‘power to the box-tickers’.

Takeaways:

  • Rory states that: ‘… a great inversion has taken place where the people who do actual, useful work find themselves working at the behest of a vast army of box-tickers and pen-pushers’ – Certainly data-reporting roles are on the rise and the NHS, in particular, has been criticised for years for focussing too much on targets and not enough on care
  • Rory believes that the people who do this reporting: ‘… end up with all the power and none of the scrutiny’. – So, how is the usefulness of these job roles evaluated?
  • Rory writes that: ‘… genuinely productive people now form a minority in any organisation’. – With such little emphasis placed on the Employee Experience and people often treated as numbers on a spreadsheet: is this a surprise?
  • Rory surmises that any monetary gains from performance improvements don’t go to the employees, but are dressed up as cost-savings – There is often a clear preference to please the shareholders rather than the employees, no matter what their performance
  • Rory mentions that the Telegraph reported that HR salaries have risen from £15 billion in 2017 to £25 billion today – Given the low engagement and productivity levels this extra spend doesn’t appear to have had an effective ROI

Business reporting roles are numerous but have these managed to improve organisational effectiveness? It will be interesting to see if AI capabilities render scores of data roles unnecessary – or will the ‘box-tickers and pen-pushers’ use these new capabilities to convince leadership teams that everyone else is expendable but themselves?

Link to article: https://www.spectator.co.uk/magazines/the-wiki-man/ (Subscription may be required.)

2024 Edelman Trust Barometer highlights major concerns for job losses

This is one of the annual staple reports and well worth a browse.

Takeaways:

  • The UK is now among the least-trusting countries in their NGOs, business, government, and media - so, a likely say-do gap here... if only more leaders listened to Engage for Success and their four enablers of engagement
  • 61% of respondents think business leaders purposely try to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations - Yet post-pandemic we were supposed to be moving into an era of 'authentic leadership'
  • 88% of respondents are worried about job losses (the highest concern of all) - This will not only impact the individuals, but society and growth too as people are likely to spend less
  • Slightly more people reject the innovation of AI - Perhaps not surprising as there's a fear it will replace jobs
  • 63% of respondents trust business; higher than NGOs (59%), Government (51%) and Media (50%) - Which is why it's important that they take a balanced view on major issues and don't simply float with the political wind
  • The UK trust in business is just 48% - Ouch!

There is usually 'something' which will make people fear for their jobs but 88% is incredibly high. Fear spreads when there's a lack of communication and transparency; so organisations are advised to ensure their employees are central to their business and are kept up-to-date. Building Employee Experiences 'from the people, for the people' and effective internal communication will build trust and engagement.

So few, it appears, are doing this well.

Link to report: https://www.edelman.com/trust/2024/trust-barometer

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