The missing link in your employee experience? Your managers.

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June 27, 2017 | Kronos | HCI

Everyone seems to be talking about the employee experience being the next big differentiator for employers, and we couldn’t agree more.

The exciting, yet challenging piece of this puzzle is creating and crafting meaningful experiences when each employee may have unique needs and expectations regarding work. Organizations spend a lot of time and money developing a strategic vision for how to create a compelling employment experience, yet organizations often overlook their middle managers as the linchpin. Managers have the greatest impact on the employment experience.1 We have heard time and time again — employees join companies, but leave managers. So how can you get buy in and drive this philosophy with your managers? Show them what’s in it for them.

Start by engaging your managers in the experience. HR is sitting on so much critical employee data and insight in their HCM system(s) and while it’s important for everyone in the organization to adopt and use this technology, it’s more important for your managers to be its biggest advocates. By using key data sets about their employees to understand their needs and behaviors, managers can craft compelling experiences to foster talent retention and drive business performance.

  1. Time and attendance data. If an employee is always late, coach the manager on how to converse with that person in a nonthreatening way. By using data points as factual conversation starters, the manager may discover that he or she needs to shift the individual’s hours to account for traffic patterns or childcare hours.
  2. Payroll and compensation data. This is extremely relevant for managers dealing with a nonexempt workforce. If there is a trend of employees working overtime and it’s throwing costs over budget. Use that information to understand why they consistently need extra hours to get their work done. Is there a training issue? A bandwidth issue? An efficiency issue? Employees may truly be gaming the system, but help your managers understand that they can use this information to have conversations with their employees to ensure a full understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes.
  3. Performance data. Shift the perception that this is a compliance exercise forced on everyone by HR. While it’s critical to have a holistic approach to performance management for the entire organization, you can help managers understand why this helps them drive accountability and engagement with their teams. Remember 1. and 2. on this list? Using technology as a place for managers to record all their great employee conversations helps them drive engagement, which correlates with productivity.2

Help your managers understand how to make these conversations genuine. Think about these scenarios from the lens of the employee: My manager cared enough to have a conversation with me to understand my perspective and come up with a mutually agreeable solution. That’s a great experience.

So, as you’re thinking about the employment experience you want to foster, think about how to help your middle managers use HCM systems to foster an experience that develops connections with their employees, nurtures top talent and executes the organization’s vision on the front lines. To create an engaging employee experience for everyone, managers must be all in.

1 Gallup, Managers Account for 70% of Variance in Employee Engagement (2015), found at:

http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/182792/managers-account-variance-employee-engagement.aspx.

2 Gallup, How Employee Engagement Drives Growth (2013), found at: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/163130/employee-engagement-drives-growth.aspx.