Improving Employee Experience with Better Results


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Performance reviews are part of most employer/employee relationships. However, recent developments show that improving employee experience involves finding new ways to give employees feedback to improve motivation and success.

Annual reviews are likely to get a resigned sigh out of most managers. After a less than insightful review, most employees might sigh as well. The traditional system used for annual reviews tends to resemble busy work, to generate less positive motivation, and, in more than one way, to seem outdated. If there wasn’t a raise attached to it, chances are most companies would skip annual reviews altogether.

Google understands these facts about the existing annual review tradition and came up with an ingenious new way to handle their employees’ reviews: they separate the review and the pay discussion by one month. Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of People Operations explained in his book, “Work Rules!” that Google hopes their employees want to improve for the sake of contributing more to the company, and not just to make more money.

It turns out that scientific research supports Google’s hopeful separation of review and raise. Bock refers to a study from 1971 that found:

“The first two experiments suggest that when money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic motivation for the activity. On the other hand, the third experiment suggests that when verbal reinforcement and positive feedback are used as the external rewards, the subjects’ intrinsic motivation seems to increase relative to the non-rewarded subjects’.”

According to an article on Business Insider this week, Google use the OKRs, which stands for Objectives and Key Results. To make this OKR system work, employees first set a goal for themselves, and then, a series of quantifiable results that show they achieve the objective. (Larry Page does the same for the whole company, also.) This approach to annual reviews is another example of how Google empowers their employees.

What I like about this story is that Google understands the same goals do not motivate every employee. Money, while necessary and important in Western society, does not always evoke the same determination and drive to be better from individuals. Many times, people are inspired more by accolades and appreciation than by money (although, to be sure, money is important. Nice words don’t pay the bills, as it were).

I have written before about the link between Employee Experience and Customer Experience. Your employees need to be in the right mindset to be receptive to your desired brand promise and Customer Experience outcome. Having a motivated employee who buys into that promise and outcome is the only way you will achieve the results you want.

Do you think giving them a review without any real value will get you there? Me either. And as Google hopes and the study from the 70s reports, most people aren’t motivated by money alone.  Separating the money from the review is an important first step, followed by a clear goal and measurement system for success. These final two are even more effective when the employee is empowered to have a say in them. Using this approach, you have a much better chance of making the annual review a value instead of just an annual waste of time.

Employee experience is a huge part of the success of your company’s culture. Also having happy employees leads to having happy Customers. And we all know to what Happy Customers lead (Hint: it’s got lots of these: $$$$).

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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