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In This Episode

  • I introduce the Employee Experience Framework so that you’re able to easily incorporate Storytelling for HR into your everyday HR activities, programs, campaigns, and work.
  • The four components include: Know, Act, Feel, Touch.
  • What each component means and how to use it for every HR activity, at a macro-level or project, and at each step along the way.
  • You can read more about the framework and how to use it, in The Employee Experience Solution book. Or request access to view a recent speaking engagement where this framework is discussed, in-depth.


(00:00): Intended know, the feel, the act and the touch in order to create a successful and ROI driven HR campaign, HR project, HR activity or an HR message. I'm Melissa Anzman, HR practitioner turned CEO of a thriving employee experience company, but it wasn't all that long ago that I worked as an HR business partner responsible for increasing employee engagement at companies nationwide and I struggled to move the needle even after trying everything under the sun. Fast forward pass, many fail tactics and lessons learned and you'll see how I've been able to crack the code and replicated at companies of all sizes for creating true engagement and doing HR work that matters, work that changes the lives of leaders, HR professionals and employees. By focusing on the employee experience, I created the rethink HR podcast to give you actionable step by step strategies to help you make an impact.

(01:02): If you're an HR leader or one on the rise who's looking to stop spinning your wheels doing the same tired activities that aren't driving results or you want to have a career you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started. If you've ever heard me speak, whether it be at a speaking engagement, maybe you've listened to the podcast, hopped onto a call, a webinar, or even read a blog post of mine in the last, I don't know, five years or so. You know that I am obsessed with the employee experience so much. So I wrote a book on it called the employee experience solution. The thing that I like the most, or perhaps a lot because there's a lot I like about the employee experience framework that I have, it's that it is something we influence. It's something we can change in HR. It's something as a leader outside of HR can influence.

(01:56): It's something that we can actually do and see a result in. Unlike engagement, unlike all the other things that we've talked about in the last 25 to 30 years in HR, how to get a seat at the table, how to do all those things. And once we get there, we don't know what we're doing with it. And engagement is an outcome and an emotion and we can't influence. And yet we still try to have people feel the way we want them to feel by doing things that we think are going to benefit them. So engagement doesn't work. I'm not going to fully step onto that soap soap box again today. At least I hope I'm not. But I do want to talk about the employee experience and I want to give you the framework that I use so that you can use it to easily make the shift between employee engagement to something that actually works and matters.

(02:52): Employee experience. So in a previous podcast episode, I walked through storytelling for HR and for HR is looking at your employees through different character lens and the role that we play in HR, your employee, your leaders, et cetera, and challenges within the framework. And that's how we position our messaging. That's how we really shore up to make sure that when we do speak, that when we do deliver things, when we do start campaigns, they're within the right framework, the right conversation in order to make an impact. So that's something that we can do and should be doing with every single touch that we have. Now, the employee experience framework takes the actual work that we do in HR and helps us guide to the right way to consider how we deliver it. And so the framework is made of four parts. It's no feel, act and touch notice in there.

(03:52): Unlike all those other wonky HR formulas, frameworks, solutions, guides, processes, what have you, I'm using real words. I'm not using ambiguous things. I'm not having you influence. I'm not having you grow like I'm using real words that we know what they mean. So the framework consists again of no of feel, act and touch. In today's episode, I'm going to go deep into what their framework consists of and how you can put it together so that when you create something in HR, something small, something big, and everything in between, you're looking at it with the employee experience in mind. Now, the reason this is important is someone's tenure at your company, their overall impression, reaction, experience, influence, how they see and engage and connect with your company is all about the little and big experiences that they have and I always like to frame this up in when we are ready to quit our job, when we have really hit that threshold of I am done, it's usually not just one thing, one incident, one moment that leads us to saying I quit.

(05:17): Instead. It's a lot of little experiences or big experience that add up over time that finally we hit our breaking point. And so another way to think about this is we wake up and go to work every single day for a certain reason and when we have a good experience, it reinforces that reason. When we have a bad experience, it makes us question our reasons and gut check. Is this still enough for me to continue to show up and be here? Yes. All right, I'll work in other day. No. All right, well I'm going to start disengaging and I am going to finding another job and that is true for all of us now in today's economy was quickly changed and I know that there's a lot of jobs lost and I know that many people are very concerned about where their next paycheck is coming, our reasons, our experiences have different weights and we have a lot of different types of experiences now piling into that.

(06:15): So for example, if you company, if your company had a big layoff, you also know have now have the experience if you were not laid off of being one of those who've stayed behind and so how did they manage the layoff, how did they communicate it, how do you feel as a state employee and so on and so forth. These are all experiences that add up so we want to make sure now more than ever because yes, there's talent out there. Yes there is a tight economy and we are all sort of be able to quote unquote pick from the best and the brightest out. There was so many layoffs happening. The truth of the matter is at some point that's going to change. And you still want to make sure that you attract and keep the right employees who are there for you. They're for your company, they're for your mission, all of those things.

(07:13): So using the employee experience framework now is really, really important, particularly as we future cast as to who we are going to be after things settled down a little bit. So four components, no feel, act in touch. So no is very clearly very simply what do our employees need to know and what do our employees need? So whenever we are looking at what we do in HR or we're looking at a specific program or a message we want to send out or framing a conversation with an employee from an HR perspective, I want you to use this framework to jot down the know, feel, act and touch. So the first thing is, is anything that we do, we want to make sure that we share very clearly. What do our employees need to know? So what as what you as the company, the leader or HR, what do you need to share with your employee at that moment in the journey?

(08:21): This is like the what the what we have to share for knowledge to be received. So let's use throughout today's podcast, let's use the example of performance management and review time. So for performance management and reviews, what do our employees need to know? Well, they need to know how they're performing. They need to know what they are being graded on or judged on or evaluated against. They need to know specific examples of how they are meeting, exceeding or underperforming expectations. They need to know that this is what we're doing. They need to know why performance management is an important part of their tenure, their employment at your company. So what do they need? Well, this is the why, why it's important for your employee to know that this is that personal connection. So when we think about what do our employees need during performance management, they need to know that this process is not just another HR thing, but how it connects with their overall employment.

(09:31): What it leads into promotion opportunities. Maybe it's a merit increase, maybe it's bonus payout. Um, maybe it's continued employment. Maybe it is a spot award, but we have to tell them why they should care otherwise there's no need for it. Let me use another example that a lot of us are about to jump into. Uh, with our both our feet in a really strange way this year. And that would be benefits enrollment. So what do our employees need to know? Well, they need to know the benefits that are available to them. They need to understand what their options are and how much it's going to cost. But what do our employees need? We need to tell them the importance of them taking action by the deadline. They need to know that if they don't take action, they're not going to have medical coverage for the next year.

(10:28): They need to understand how this opportunity is going to save them money as being a part of our medical program versus perhaps someone else's Cobra or a going on the exchange. So we have to pull the thread on know to help them understand what they need to know and what they need, which is why it's important for them. The next component of the framework is feel. So this one is the one that I get a lot of like, are you sure of Alyssa? Like eyebrows raised and just questioning me a little bit of like feel, feel, seems a little woo for me. Well, you know, I'm not woo at all but feel is really important here because we want to be sure that as we create different actions, different campaigns, different messages that we are capturing, the emotion that we want our employees to feel and actively have at a specific point along the journey.

(11:31): Doing this creates that ongoing meaningful connection to the company and your employee and your employee's overall experience. So when, let's use those same examples. So for performance management, we want our employee to feel as though they are not being surprised. We want them to feel excited. We want them to feel open about coming to the table with conversation. We want them to feel engaged and cared about. As an employee. That's the emotion for benefits enrollment. We want our employees to feel as though they have options that we've invested in them, that we are excited to be able to offer them the benefits opportunities. Now another field I like to use to describe how emotion really plays into it is onboarding. When someone has accepted an offer at your company, they want to feel super duper excited. And if they're not getting that from you, there's going to be a huge emotional disconnect between your employee and your company and that starting before they even start.

(12:41): So emotion is important and we have to intentionally set out the emotion that we want our employees to actively have at different points along the journey. The emotion, the feeling. It doesn't have to be a big overall thing. It doesn't have to be super duper excited, like an onboarding and super bombed out in a different scenario. Just using extremes on the emotional scale. But we do need to be sure that we are intentional about the type of emotion we want to invoke. And this helps us guide the conversation. This helps us guide the way we engage the visuals, the copy and content of how we deliver it and how we check in along the way because we always want to go toward the same emotion of what we've stated as our outcome. The third part of the employee experience framework is act. Now act is where we guide our employees to take the next action we want them to take.

(13:46): This is what we want them to actively do. It's there one next thing and you may be thinking, okay, but I have a list of a hundred different actions I need them to take. So, uh, benefits. Enrollment is a great one where I see act failing all the time because in our messaging we want them to review their options. We want them to watch all the collateral we've created or read through it. Then we want them to go somewhere and enroll and then we want them to confirm their enrollments. That's a super simplified. There's usually a lot more, maybe a little less depending on your company and your process. But all of that is a different activity, which means we need a new framework for each one of those things. Particularly when it comes to messaging. If we look at the project at a macro level for benefits enrollment, the action we want our employees to take the one action is to enroll or decline enrollment, but we want them to take that one action.

(14:48): It's they either say yes or they say they go check it out and they say no, this is the action is to actively enroll so to speak. What they decide to do if they decide to take benefits or not is the choice, but when we get down to each message from a micro level, we want to make sure that we are driving one next best thing, and this really comes from our marketing experts in geniuses along the way and think about your own behavior. When something is very, very important to you and you get an email of you need to do these 18 different things, you either stop and say, I'm not doing anything, or you have to continuously go back to that email. You have to find it. You have to take an action, go back. Where am I? Where's the checklist? It gets overwhelming.

(15:40): Most people check out or the next thing they do, if it's really important to them as they pick up the phone and they call HR, Hey, I know you need me to enroll in benefits but I just don't know where to start. Or I've done a, B, and C and it looks like D, E, F, I just don't know where to go next. So if people are reaching out to HR, the call center, chats, emails, et cetera, it means that we are not giving them one next action. I want you to look at all of your campaigns, all your messages, all of the things that we do in HR ask our employees to do and one really quick update for you is in that message to them. Are you asking them one next thing? Are you bringing them along or are you asking them to follow you for the next 10 years?

(16:29): We want to bring them along to the next step and act is how we do that. By providing one specific action we need our employees to actively do or take. Now the final step of the framework is touch. And this step is how we actually connect the experiences together. The various touch points along the way, the way we interact with our employees. This is the piece that everybody says, Oh, I get it now because this is the tangible piece of the journey. We can point to it various specifically and see it in action. Touch encompasses all of the different systems, HR systems, payroll systems, um, leadership systems, performance management systems, all of the different touch points that our employees must go to use, interact with, take action on all the incoming things and how they interact with us. Now, touch is where we can influence some things and some things we have to learn to work through and around.

(17:39): We don't own every system that employees have to touch, however we own a lot of them and a lot of them are duct taped together versus being intentional and action. And so when we think about touch, this is where we take some time at the beginning of a project to plan out all of the different touch points to make sure they are consistent, they are working, they make sense, they look and feel the same. They build upon each other. They're easy to get to, they're easy to take action on. So our touch points is the fun part. It's the visual part of where we're able to really say, okay, you know what touch really is? All of the things. Here's what we can influence, here's what we can't influence, and we bring it all together. So some examples of touchpoints, just if you're still not sure, are things like payroll system, benefit enrollment site, the it help desk, the PTO request system, the HR call center, the SharePoint team, site learning portal, HR, intranet, emails, so on and so forth.

(18:47): Touch is really, really important and because we're not able to own every part of it, we still don't do a good job at pulling the thread together for the parts we own and working around the parts that we don't own. But the touch components really have an impact. So in that list that I shared with you just now, if we're thinking about performance management, maybe we get an email about performance management telling people that they need to go to the HR intranet when they get there, we then tell people that we have to, they have to log into the performance management system and once they get there, they need to go through the system and then send an email when they've done completed it so their boss knows it's ready to go. And the same thing happens ongoing. Those are a minimum of four touch points.

(19:39): So first I would say as we look at that are, do we need four? No you don't. But what? Okay, let's say we have to keep those things. We have four touch points. Is it clear what the one next action is in each of those? Maybe do they all look and feel the same? Maybe does the employee who lands there clearly know where they're going, what they're doing, what they need to do next? Maybe. But those are four different opportunities for your employee to have and create a positive experience with your company or a negative experience with your company and that negative experience, whether it be truly negative of the actual performance review or a negative touch point experience as to, you know, I don't know what to do. I'm super frustrated. I hit the submit button. It didn't go anywhere. I can't find my boss's email address in the performance management system.

(20:38): The HR portal intranet doesn't give me access to that system. So now I have to go to the help desk to get access. We've added another touch point, so on and so forth. So for intentional, intentional about how our touches work, how our touch points all tie together, then we are able to ensure the most positive employee experience versus unintentionally creating those negative friction points that add a negative employee experience to the negative column. So that's the framework. I truly could talk about these four pieces for multiple hours on end. In fact, if you've probably cornered me at a cocktail party, you know that I've done that or if you've seen me speak live, I do a whole hour on just the framework itself, but I wanted to give you a quick overview about the four components because it's really important as you think through how work is going to be from here on out, how HR is going to lead from here on out, what you can do from here on out in this new world of work that we're in or as another HR colleague of mine said, the future of HR, the future of work is already here.

(21:54): Now we get the chance to adjust real time. I love that because I totally agree, but this is the way that we're intentional about making and creating employee experiences that drive an ROI both for our company and for our employees. We just have to take into consideration for the things that we do, the intended know, the feel, the act and the touch in order to create a successful and ROI driven HR campaign, HR project, HR activity or an HR message.

(22:38): This podcast is brought to you by better microsites with your HR budgets being cut and you being on the hunt for ways to do more with less. Why not consider a total awards or benefits microsite to not only increase your employee experience, but also deliver increased value at half the cost? We all know that your current off the shelf benefits administration website is extremely user unfriendly, lacking customization, easy to find information with a crazy firewall and missing a search function all at an extremely high cost. Better microsites are a hundred percent designed on what your employees need to know, your branding, your information, and your ease of finding it and proving the speed in which your employees can find the important benefit information while seamlessly connecting with your enrollment vendor. Not to mention at half the cost and half the time. Learn more about better microsites at better.com/microsites that's B E T T hr.com/Microsites thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the rethink HR podcast. For more information, including show notes and resources, please go to rethink HR podcast.com/nine.

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