In our discussions of Digital Employee Experience, or DEX, an image may conjure up of fantastic technological means of ensuring good employee experience for all. Is this true? In the typical fashion of people who, humbly, believe themselves experts in the matter, the answer is a classic yes and no. DEX is an important part of managing employee experience. Indeed, it can be a great asset in providing the kind of experience data you want to measure as well as providing the means by which you collect sentiment, but it isn't the endall factor.
For a standard XLA project, you would typically measure experience through a combination of different data streams. These are:
Your operational (O) data
The SLA and KPI metrics in place that measure the performance of services
Technical (T) data
Data that can be retrieved from a tool like Nexthink, who measure on end-to-end the technical performance of technology employees are using. This gives us the key insight into DEX.
Experience (X) data
Sentiment data, usually obtained through a meticulously designed survey
These 3 components paint why we shouldn't rely solely on DEX to measure experience. They do measure experience, of course, but only around 33 - 66%. To build a fully contextual picture, we need the sentiment data to say what people are feeling. The O and T data, whilst indicating in their own right, enable us to deduce the why to the what, and in turn how we can improve. Experience is wider than just DEX. Relying exclusively on it, whilst providing some image, will not grant you the whole picture as a chief experience officer.
This isn't the only reason DEX should be relied on for a whole picture of experience. There are concerns with DEX tools themselves to be aware of. A DEX tool is often managed by a supplier. The organisation buying it has their own responsibilities to keep track of so it makes sense to hire a supplier to monitor. This can open up the possibility of said supplier adjusting the metrics to suit their own needs. During XLA projects, one often-heard experience concern surrounding interactions with suppliers is the feeling of detachment from the organisation. It may seem to some that suppliers are providing their services simply to fulfil a contract. Whilst this isn't always the case, it's a factor to keep in mind in case your relationship with a supplier feels strained, and a reason why using DEX scores shouldn't be the sole score for overall employee experience.
Some DEX Tools may not Measure Sentiment
Putting the previous point aside for a moment, it may be that some DEX tools don't measure experience, or if they do, they may not come included in the version your organisation has purchased. DEX tools can come in varying tiers, and have specific focus areas. It may be that the tool your organisation has adopted is much more focused on monitoring the technical stats of workplace devices rather than the human experience of using them. It could also be that sentiment analysis is included in a higher tier of the tool that is not currently in use in your organisation.
When it comes to measuring experience, these factors highlight the importance, therefore, of being able to ensure we are able to monitor the right stats relating to human experience, but also our ability to survey them. Sentiment is the essential part of any XLA project. If our DEX tool cannot gather sentiment or enable us to gather it, we certainly can't rely on it entirely for an XLA. It is therefore essential to consider how you will obtain sentiment and what can provide additional context to any picture conjured by the T data. One of our principles in our education programme is to leverage what you have. It may appear the most straightforward solution to leverage all you have from one platform, but looking towards your SLAs and KPIs, your O data, will help to paint a better picture of your experience landscape.
At the time of writing, XLAs are maturing in the market. Becoming widely more accepted and adopted by big names, they still have the potential to reach even further audiences and impact different factors to those we mention here. Could XLAs be used to take into account those influencing factors that affect experience: factors such as working environment, the local physical environment, or the cleanliness of key job role devices as well as devices supporting our roles? These can influence mood, feelings and emotions in their own way. It's possible these may be measurable in the future, but for now being able to measure the 3 data streams we talk about here is enough to build a strong, contextual view of experience. The wider the context of our view, the more we can dig and really determine what causing the good and bad experiences in our workplace. If we can't measure it, we can't manage it. If we can't measure all that we can, we cannot manage and, thereby improve, all that we can.