Example EX measures and how to use them

May 26 · 8 min read

So, your IT department has decided to measure its employee experience—but where does it start? Of course there’s the long-used IT service desk customer satisfaction (CSAT) questionnaire that’s sent out after every nth ticket is closed (for both incidents and service requests). There’s also the annual long-form employee survey related to the wider IT organization’s capabilities. However, as with the CSAT questionnaire, the employee response levels are likely low. But the mandated CSAT targets are being met, so everything is OK, right? The answer is that it might be. But it might not be.

The measurement of employee experience by early adopters, and studies by organizations such as Forrester Research, increasingly show that CSAT survey results, along with many of the traditional IT service desk metrics, can hide a variety of employee issues that are adversely affecting their service experience and—importantly—their ability to be productive. With the knock-on adversely affecting business performance.

So, what should your organization be measuring relative to employee experience?

First, remember that the IT department is only one contributor to employee experience

While IT traditionally measures CSAT in isolation—it’s all about IT’s performance—employee experience relates to every part of an employee’s workplace experience, from before they’re recruited until after they’ve ceased employment. The human resources (HR) department obviously plays a big part, especially at the start and end of the employee life cycle. But, for example, so does something as simple as the availability of meals and snacks in the workplace, or as contentious as the allocation of limited on-site car parking spaces.

These non-IT employee experience influencers are included in the later examples of employee experience measures to reflect that the measurement of employee experience is not simply how well the IT department is doing.

Second, start from the top—and make it your “top,” not someone else’s

As with most challenges, there are a number of ways to tackle the measurement of employee experience. Your organization could simply pick up and run with a couple of employee experience measures that have proved valuable elsewhere. This is either the “add-on approach,” where the metrics are simply thrown into the existing IT service desk metric portfolio, say. Or the “bottom-up approach,” where we hope that we can eventually do something good with the new metrics.

Then there’s the “top-down approach” as shared by the new ITIL 4 body of IT service management (ITSM) best practice and the new measurement and reporting practice in particular. This advocates a performance measurement “flow” from objectives, through critical success factors (CSFs), to key performance indicators and metrics. Hence, when measuring employee experience, it’s important to start with your objective, or objectives, for measuring it, followed by the CSFs that will allow your IT department—or wider organization—to understand if the objective or objectives have been met.

So, please bear this in mind when reading through the many example employee experience measures and metrics below. It’s not a case of using them all. Instead, it’s a case of using the ones, or variations of them, that will best support your CSFs and objectives.

Third, aim for fewer metrics rather than more

IT service desks, in particular, have long had large portfolios of metrics, often because they’re available in the ITSM tool. But as with the need here, there’s a need to measure the things that will make the most difference—that “less is more.” If nothing else, the wise words of ITSM industry luminary Ivor Macfarlane are relevant: “If you measure the wrong things, then you’ll get better at the wrong things.”

So, while this article lists 50 possible employee experience measurement points, your organization mustn’t blindly try to measure them all. Instead, it needs to select a small portfolio of metrics that align with the agreed-on objectives and CSFs for employee experience and business improvement.

Fourth, what you don’t measure might be as important as what you do

IT service desks, in particular, have a long history of certain metrics driving the wrong behaviors. For example, average handling time might encourage the swift closure of tickets at the expense of end-user productivity, if the issue isn’t resolved, and the employee experience. Or the measurement of first-contact resolution might again encourage a service desk analyst who’s behind target to retain control of tickets until resolved, again at the expense of end-user productivity and the employee experience.

The same is true here. Don’t just look at potential measures and metrics in terms of the employee experience objects; also understand how they will drive the right, and potentially the wrong, employee behaviors.

Example employee experience measures

Please remember that your organization’s use of these and other potential employee experience measures and metrics should directly reflect its objectives and CSFs.

There will be various employee experience influences or factors to measure that then have different metrics associated with them. Some can be measured on a transaction-based basis, while others will be periodic “pulse” checks. Each will ideally be compared to industry averages or similar. For example, trending internal performance and direction over time in the absence of a suitable external benchmark.

Employee experience factor

Example measures or metrics

Employee productivity

  • Employee perceptions of their lost productivity per IT incident
  • Employee perceptions of their lost productivity with IT service requests
  • Employee perceptions of lost productivity per support engagement – for HR, finance, facilities, or other business functions (with the ability to compare across business functions too)
  • Employee perceptions of their IT equipment and its impact on their productivity

Employee “effort,” i.e., how hard things are to do

  • Process-related questions – day job, i.e., related to how work is done
  • Process-related questions – for support functions
  • Technology-related questions – day job, i.e., related to how technology helps work to get done
  • Technology-related questions – for support functions, e.g., self-service capabilities

Employee self-sufficiency

  • The ability to self-direct and self-dictate work
  • Own device use levels and satisfaction levels, including corporate support for personal IT
  • Support self-service adoption levels across different business functions
  • Support self-service employee experience feedback

Employee wellness (by business function)

  • The use of periodic wellness surveys
  • Sick absence levels – short-term and long-term
  • Stress-related absence levels
  • The levels of vacation days untaken at year-end
  • Extreme “overtime” levels – paid and “unpaid” – reported by exception

Employee retention

  • Employee turnover rates (attrition) by business function
  • Average employee tenure by business function and role type
  • Reasons for leaving captured in exit interviews – including granularity that points to employee experience factors and issues

Employee recruitment

  • The level of unfilled vacancies by business function
  • The quantity and quality of applications per role
  • The average time to fill a vacancy
  • Onboarding performance – the time taken and recruit feedback
  • Employee likelihood of recommending the organization as an employer to friends and family

Employee development

  • Average training days or other learning-based reporting such as mentoring or shadowing
  • Average employee time-in-role by business function and role type
  • Career progression levels, e.g., levels of internal promotion versus external recruitment
  • Employee perceptions on internal career progression

Employee performance management

  • Employee perceptions of performance measurement schemes – that they’re fair and valuable
  • Ad hoc feedback provision – the frequency and suitability of employee praise and improvement identification
  • Employee perceptions of both corporate and local reward and recognition schemes – that they’re fair and valuable across teams and individuals
  • The percentage of employees who can see how they contribute to corporate success (by business function)

Leadership and management

  • Employee perceptions of C-level performance relative to what they (the employees) deem to be most important
  • Culture-based assessments
  • 360-degree manager assessments
  • Communications sufficiency – frequency
  • Communications suitability – quality

Workplace environment

  • Measures related to employee satisfaction with:
    1. Office space and equipment
    2. Homeworking arrangements
    3. Workplace services such as catering and staff parking

Employee feedback provision

  • Employee happiness with the available feedback opportunities and mechanisms
  • Response levels by business function
  • Employee perceptions of the resulting actions

Employee experience progress measurement

  • Employee perception of the employee experience
  • Percentage of employees who think that the organization is sufficiently focused on improving employee experience
  • Percentage of employees who think that the organization is doing enough to improve
  • Percentage of employees who think that employee experience has improved over the last x months

Business impact

  • The impact of employee experience changes on customer satisfaction or the customer experience (CX)
  • The impact of employee experience changes on revenue and profit

There are some overlaps in the above list. Plus, of course, there will definitely be other employee experience measures and metrics that might be more appropriate for your organization. This list is provided as “food for thought” for any organization looking to employ employee experience measures, not as “the 50 employee experience measures your organization must use.”

The most important thing is to ensure that whatever metrics your organization chooses are best suited to its needs in terms of understanding the current employee experience position and facilitating improvements in the right direction(s). With sufficient focus to encourage real improvement rather than the creation of even more corporate metrics data.

About the author

Stephen Mann, Principal Analyst and Content Director, ITSM.tools

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