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Medallia Research: Three Practices Separate EX Leaders from Laggards

Employee Well-Being Forms the Cornerstone of Best Practices

New research from global CX and employee experience (EX) company Medallia identifies three key practices that separate EX leaders from the laggards. The common element in all three practices, the research discovered, was a consistent focus on employee well-being.

“There has never been a more urgent need for companies to listen to and support their people,” said Josh Bersin, a leading human resources (HR) and workplace industry analyst and head of his firm, The Josh Bersin Company, which collaborated with Medallia on the research. “When managers understand and act on employee feedback, organizations continuously improve. When IT or HR operates in a vacuum to design solutions, the results often underperform,” Bersin added.

The research was the result of a survey conducted by the Medallia Institute with Josh Bersin and his company. The survey, which canvassed EX professionals from more than 600 organizations between March and July 2021, sought to understand the connection between strong EX practices and positive people outcomes, such as employee satisfaction and engagement, and business outcomes, such as impact on revenue. The researchers then analyzed the results, examining the qualities, practices, and outcomes that separated the “leaders”—those who scored in the top 10th percentile—from the “laggards”—those who scored in the bottom 10th percentile.

The first practice, the study uncovered, showed that leaders capture timely data through a diverse set of direct and indirect sources. More than half of the laggards capture employee feedback just once a year or less, resulting in decision-making based on outdated information. There is also less opportunity for employees to voice concerns, the research revealed.

Another difference between leaders and laggards was the use by leaders of a broad array of channels to capture employee feedback. Text messaging was pronounced among leaders, with 24% using it as a feedback channel, compared to 6% of laggards.

Overall, leaders are twice as likely as laggards to use unstructured data to gather employee feedback. Unstructured data sources include internal communities, collaboration platforms, and support tickets or requests.

The second practice, according to the research, indicated that leaders do not shy away from difficult topics. On a five-point scale, leaders scored a 4.37. When respondents were asked if they agreed that they provided an environment where employees felt secure enough to be truthful with the information they shared about the company, leaders scored 4.37 out of a 5.0 scale. In comparison, laggards neither agreed nor disagreed, scoring 3.06. On the question of diversity and inclusion, the issue was surveyed by more than half of the leaders, compared to a third for the laggards.

The third practice disclosed that leaders make EX part of their organizational strategy. Nearly 95% of leaders have a dedicated EX team, compared to 59% of laggards. Leader teams are highly collaborative, with 72% reporting that direct team leaders and people managers were highly involved in enterprise-wide EX initiatives. In contrast, only 18% of laggards said the same.

When it came to timely, proactive, and data-driven action, 70% of leaders use EX data to set priorities on a quarterly or monthly basis. This showed that leaders recognize the need to continuously understand their workforce and to take data-driven action in the moment. “Employee experience excellence requires companies to obtain a real-time, truthful picture of their employees’ perceptions and the often-sensitive topics that matter most to them,” said Melissa Arronte, Medallia EX champion and advocate. “They must then take proactive, meaningful action that is owned and supported by the entire organization. Those that do will recognize real benefits for their employees and their bottom line.”

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.

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