While I was out at Influence Greatness this week I came across a great little nugget of genius from the O.C. Tanner Institute. They released their 2020 Global Culture Report and one of the main things they are looking into currently is employee experience. It’s been a super hot topic over the past few years and we still really no so little about it.
What we believe to be true is negative employee experiences are bad. We can all agree on that, right?! At the same time, we also tend to believe that positive employee experiences are good but really worth about the same as stopping a negative experience. So, we (HR pros and leaders) spend a great deal of our time eliminating negative experiences and trying to ensure new negative experiences don’t happen.
The O.C. Tanner study is going to change how we think about employee experiences moving forward!
From the picture above you already know the big finding! Positive experiences outlast negative experiences for a duration of four weeks to two weeks. Meaning, if you have a great employee experience happen to you, it carries over, on average for four weeks, while a negative experience we only carry for about two weeks.
This really should change our behavior where we spend way more time trying to create peak employee experiences versus eliminating valley, or negative, experiences for our employees. I’m not sure it will, though. Why?
Creating ‘wow’ experiences, peak experiences, for an employee is hard. Many times those great experiences actually happen by chance. Someone does a great job on a project, and from that work, something amazing happens with appreciation or recognition, that wasn’t planned, and “Bam!” a peak experience happens.
It’s easier for us to just keep fighting fires. “Oh, jeez! There goes Mark again hitting on the gals in payroll, we need to shut this down…” Don’t you feel better, now? We stopped this negative experience from happening! Now you can go back to enjoying your normal, daily average employee experience, minus creepy Mark hitting on you!
Stopping negative from happening isn’t great HR, it’s just HR. It’s what is expected. Making great happen isn’t expected, and it’s probably why those experiences stay with us so much longer. The cool part about working to create ‘great’ experiences for your employees is once you start going down that path it becomes easier and easier to come up with ideas and ways to create great. Like every skill, the more you do it, the better and easier it becomes!
The first step is for HR to make the behavior change. No, I’m not saying ignore negative experiences. Do what HR does and stop those, but let’s not linger there. Stop it, move on. Get back to the more valuable work of creating lasting great experiences that will do more to drive the culture we want to foster and nurture.
The data is robust, so it’s hard to ignore. This isn’t some small sample of one workplace. This is thousands of employees over hundreds of work locations and many countries. I love it because it forces me to think differently about what we do in HR and why. What I do know is working to make great experiences sounds like a way better job than putting out fires all day!