Employers have tried a myriad of strategies, processes, and policies designed to help employees thrive within their organization. When these are effective, they should have a positive impact on an employee’s mental health. 

Unfortunately, many organizations face challenges because their efforts are not aligned, integrated or properly communicated to employees. Even though employees may know the policies exist, they do not appreciate their value or they are unclear on how they are personally affected. 

Bill Howatt, Chief of Research, Workforce Productivity, The Conference Board of Canada, suggests that employers try a strategy impact test to determine if average employees understand the current policies and if they are seeing the intended value. 

Strategy Impact Test

Randomly pick 20 employees from different levels and ask them three questions: 

  1. Why do we do X (e.g., mental health strategy)?
  2. What is X?
  3. How is X having a positive impact on you?

Evaluate the degree of consistency among the 20 responses against X element’s goals.

Employee Experience Strategy

Howatt further recommends that employers consider having just one integrated employee experience strategy. The primary goal is to support health, engagement and productivity across the employee’s career lifecycle.

One way to start to reframe to a single strategy is to determine what elements will be included with a focus on facilitating the average employee’s day-to-day experience in the workplace by making targeted elements such as training and development relevant, accessible and meaningful.

Begin with no more than five elements, perhaps: mental health, on-boarding, performance management, occupational health and safety and a respectful workplace. This provides more ability to integrate and align each element’s strategy, policies, process, programs and metrics into one framework. Before adding additional elements, ensure the average employee understands why and how all elements can support their experience.

A committee of key stakeholders from all levels and groups within the organization may be formed to choose and frame the foundational elements to be used in a strategy to maximize employee experience.  

Key factors that will assist in the design, integration and evaluation of the strategy:

  • Diversity and inclusion to be considered for every element.
  • All new hires will be on-boarded on the organization’s employee experience strategy and followed up at three, six, nine and 12 months to ensure they are experiencing the benefits.
  • All employees will be asked to evaluate their experience yearly with respect to each element that supports the strategy.
  • Every element’s financial value will be evaluated to provide senior leaders with evidence of the benefits of making the investment.
  • The end goal is maintaining funding support.

Ultimately, every element that supports health, engagement and productivity can fall under an employee experience strategy. Starting slow, with a measured approach, can be helpful for getting evidence-based results through ensuring elements are aligned, integrated, accessible and purposeful, and that the organization is committed to measuring impact and continuous improvement.

Source: The Chronicle Herald