If employee experience (EX) is your top priority, you have lots of company. Ninety-two percent of HR leaders say EX is top priority for 2021. But if you’re not sure how exactly to develop EX or you’re struggling to make meaningful progress on EX, you’re not alone. According to Deloitte, nearly two-thirds (59%) of executives report they are not ready or only somewhat ready to address the EX challenge. An EX Maturity Model is the employee experience tool that will empower EX excellence.
The value of customer experience (CX) design and management has been well-established. And CX maturity models have been used for several years to guide, measure, and improve companies’ performance on CX. Now that businesses are waking up to EX as an equally valuable organizational competence, an EX Maturity Model is needed.
An EX Maturity Model provides a roadmap as you develop the building blocks of EX – indicating where and how progress should unfold. It is also a tool for achieving a shared understanding throughout your organization of what EX requires and for ensuring alignment on the goals you are working toward. And it can serve as an assessment tool, spotlighting the areas of EX strength and weakness in your organization. When revisited at regular intervals, an EX Maturity Model can be used to track your progress and diagnose where additional attention is needed.
Most importantly, an EX Maturity Model clarifies the holistic, human-centered nature of EX. Developing EX is not simply HR process improvement. EX puts the employee – not process or programs — at the center of the work. Moreover, EX views employee experiences less as a series of steps to optimize and more as an ecosystem of interactions, tools, environments, etc. to integrate and cultivate. And delivering on EX involves functions well beyond HR, including facilities, IT, corporate communications, and more. An EX Maturity Model can fuel the development of an effective, differentiated, and value-creating EX.
The following EX Maturity Model incorporates the 10 key building blocks of EX:
1. Strategic clarity – clear vision and strategy for EX
2. EX:CX alignment – full integration and alignment of EX and CX
3. Data and measurement – established KPIs and key metrics tracking
4. Organizational culture – adoption of EX as strategic priority
5. Executive engagement – full engagement of company leaders
6. Cross-department involvement – integration of all EX-related functions
7. Employee intimacy – rich and deep employee insights
8. Operations – EX embedded into operations
9. Systems & processes – robust EX data & platforms integrated with CX
10. Skills & capabilities – EX as core competency
The model explains how companies progress in each of the 10 building blocks through five stages – from initiating to excelling.
There are couple of risks of presenting EX development in a modular, linear format like this. The first is that each building block can be interpreted as a discrete effort, as if the blocks can be developed independently. But rather than thinking of these 10 components as stand-alone endeavors, the holistic nature of EX requires companies to progress on all fronts in order to achieve EX excellence.
The second risk that is inherent in any maturity model is that it may seem to represent the path to maturity as a straight and direct line from beginning to end. Not only does such a view not account for the difficult, complex, and often iterative work that EX entails, but also it suggests that there is a definitive finish line where none exists.
No doubt companies may achieve progress toward EX excellence more like Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down a bit at times. But the reality is that EX requires ongoing attention and continuous improvement. After all, EX is fundamentally about human experiences — and as humans change, new and improved EX will be required.
Download a copy of the EX Maturity Model here.