We see it every year. Swarms of people create their New Year’s resolutions with the intention of changing their lives for good. These efforts start out with high hopes and strong intentions, yet ~90% of them fail. Forrester projects that 85% of EX measurement efforts – the first and most important step of improving EX – will also fail in 2019. What do New Year’s resolutions and EX improvement efforts have in common? And why do the majority of efforts result in failure?
Avoid these seven common New Year’s resolution pitfalls
1. Short-term focus
Most resolutions have a near-term scope. Similar to a juice cleanse, workplace perks lead to a rather immediate initial result, but do little to impact the larger goal in the long run. Important time, effort, and dollars are spent on something that isn’t going to make a lasting impact on employee happiness or organizational performance, and leaders are left wondering what went wrong.
2. Fad Mentality
Following the masses and chasing the next quick-fix solution is easy. But fads don’t always provide the results they promise. Consider a fad diet: they’re typically short-lived because they’re not created with sustained compliance in mind, and fail to provide lasting results. EX fads are just as easy to spot. Last year’s EX fad was all about improving employee workspaces, and this year we’re well on our way to the year of employee well-being. These can be very important aspects of EX, but there’s far more to consider when pursuing sustained improvement outside of the sensational content seen on popular business blogs.
3. Insufficient Planning
All resolutions start with good intentions and oftentimes very clear goals, but frequently miss the critical step that comes between goal-setting and execution. If a plan doesn’t exist outlining what to eat, when to eat it, and how to prepare it, failure is imminent. Similar to a big diet alteration, this type of preparation and planning is critical for a new EX goal. Like a diet, it’s important to follow a proven framework or method to improve employee experience within your organization.
4. Lack of discipline
Even if a goal is defined and a plan is created to get there, if routines or habits aren’t developed to stay on track, the diet is destined to be proven ineffective. Too often, EX improvement efforts are deprioritized over time for other seemingly important fires or initiatives. It’s important to stay disciplined and follow through on the plan, especially if buy-in is required from the rest of the organization.
5. Unrealistic expectations
Unrealistic expectations, similar to extreme weight loss goals, make it easy to become demotivated or discouraged due to lack of immediate results. Many EX efforts are cut too soon as a result of near-impossible expectations. Like anything good in life, it takes time and sustained effort for long-term, promising results. Patience is required, and it’s important to relay this fact to stakeholders within the organization.
6. Poor support
Everyone benefits from a strong support system, and this couldn’t be more relevant when dealing with change. It’s hard enough to maintain the discipline to see change through on our own, and when other individuals are closely involved, or even need to be relied on for success, it’s critical they’re on board. Oftentimes, leaders or stakeholders don’t understand the importance or value of improving EX, which creates an uphill battle. It’s important to educate leaders and get them involved in efforts early.
If someone doesn’t have a solid understanding of what they’re trying to achieve, or even worse, wrongly thinks that they do, they’re set to fail. They might think they’ve created the most impactful diet in the world, but misinformation won’t produce results. An appropriate understanding of EX is essential when beginning down the path of EX improvement. Doing the due diligence up front to ensure the approach to improvement is handled in an informed manner is the most responsible way to set efforts up for success.
An Effective Approach
The most tried-and-true way to ensure effective change, both in your personal life and organization, is to avoid the lure of quick fixes and approach change in a pragmatic, honest, and comprehensive way. We recommend the below simple yet effective approach to EX improvement.
- Understand the unique experience needs of your employees, and how effective your organization currently is in delivering those experiences.
- Update or create new experiences to better serve your employees’ needs, focusing on closing the biggest gaps between employee needs and experiences.
- Monitor your EX to ensure experiences continue to deliver on shifting employee needs.
- Adjust experiences where appropriate to compensate for new gaps.
Follow the above steps and keep the 7 pitfalls in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to responsible, effective, and sustainable improvements to your organization’s employee experience.
Originally published on holisticplatform.com.