We discussed

What is eX? Why is it so important?

Important elements to consider in designing your employee experience? What moments matter during the “life-cycle”?

Best practices?

Role of  culture and engagement

Strategy – Continuous Dialog – Delivery

VUCA world 

HR readiness

Employee eXperience

Pitfalls to Avoid

Despite significant interest, the large majority of organizations continue to struggle with their employee eXperience (eX) efforts due to insufficient attention to creating an intentional experience with purposeful transformation. In a recent post, I described lessons from the 28% of organizations from Kincentric’s 2019 Global Employee eXperience Report who are delivering a differentiated eX.

Starting with a solid strategy sets these extraordinary companies apart, and allows their continuous dialogue and eX delivery efforts to drive tangible value. Data from Kincentric’s Global Employee eXperience Report also help highlight some common missteps to avoid.

Top 5 eX strategy pitfalls:

  1. Get the “digital experience” really rocking by throwing all the latest HR technology apps at employees.   Everyone’s using tech all the time and so many companies are focused on “going digital,” so it’s easy to think many new, cutting-edge apps are what the organization needs or what employees actually want. The reality is 80% of HR executives do not think they are effectively using cutting edge technology to improve the eX – and 40% of employees say that business technology is not supporting productivity. Sometimes the latest technology is still just a new thing to learn that employees did not ask for. Before implementing, leaders should carefully evaluate how a new app will actually enable, elevate, connect, or elegantly integrate with the many other technology applications employees have to manage.
  2. Move to a “continuous listening” approach with the same short engagement pulses on repeat. “Are you engaged? …no? hmmm …how about now?…still no? …how about now? …no?… Ok, thanks for your input.” This type of “listening” would be very annoying in person, and can actually inadvertently damage the eX with the speed and scale that continuous pulsing technology offers. 8 out 10 companies are currently measuring engagement. Have we over-rotated, not on the topic, but on the metric itself? More effective pulsing approaches may involve targeting pulse questions to specific employee segments or specific topics/events to test hypotheses or cue certain actions. The most effective approaches will involve back and forth, follow up questions that are closer to real dialogue that leads to insight, understanding and action – technology can enable this or get in the way of this.
  3. Pulse more often with faster results and assume everyone will have the time and ability take meaningful action. Most managers struggle with the time and ability to successfully comprehend and take meaningful, enduring action on annual surveys. So, it seems unlikely that the same managers would not struggle with 4 times or 12 times the volume and rate of survey data. The data are clear – while most companies intend to measure more, and measure more frequently, 8 out of 10 HR leaders are concerned with manager capability and capacity to act. Many managers need significant help with basics of how survey data might help them, who will see it and how it will be used, and just plain finding the time to act. Then, maybe you can focus on the value of engagement and culture that will truly change their behavior over time.
  4. Don’t worry too much about employee-centric design or behavior change. eX is all about the next wave of HR technology right? Think again. Consider a few HR programs from the manager’s perspective. They don’t like annual, compliance based programs (see the countless articles on blowing up performance management). They don’t want to go into a website to post survey action plans. They get anxious if you tie their pay to improvement in survey scores. They get resentful if you tie their pay to surveys scores about concepts that they don’t control. Now, speed this up with technology…. 31% of HR leaders say they have identified the employee segments for whom they want to understand and improve the eX. For eX to work it has to be designed to actually make managers and employees better – based on their motivations, frustrations and needs. eX is not about HR technology…it’s about employees.
  5. Fail to engage leaders in designing an eX that aligns with required culture and business performanceeX is about being agile, just implementing fast and trying something right? Not really…. Leadership and organizational support for eX objectives is the most frequently cited success factor – yet 74% of organizations are missing this important step. Identifying your required culture and key employee segments to drive the business is a good place to start. What is the business value of designing an eX that enables and accelerates the required culture and value creating behaviors? Executive leaders want and need to know the answer to this question in order to provide the organizational tailwinds required to succeed.

There is a better way to deliver a differentiated eX, and it starts with a solid eX Strategy

The 5 pitfalls above shine a light on the significant change management required to move from historical HR-centric approaches toward employee-centric design.

Continuous dialogue pulsing and other employee lifecycle digital apps have so much potential to enhance the employee experience and accelerate speed to value…yet, there is a lot more to eX than this that includes behavior and culture change.

Success requires a strategy that aligns the business, the required culture and organizational change readiness. Success requires a purposeful and intentional strategy with people at the center.

Find out more about how Kincentric can help you succeed in your eX strategy, measurement and delivery:

Ken Oehler, Ph.D. 

Culture & Engagement

Global Practice Leader

New York

Mobile +1.646.656.1910


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Ken Oehler is a Senior Partner in Kincentric’s New York office. He is responsible for the strategic direction, thought leadership, technology roadmap, and operations of Kincentric’s Global Culture & Engagement Practice. Ken specializes in developing culture, leadership, measurement, technology, and rewards interventions that accelerate business performance.


Ken has 20 years of consulting experience. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries across the globe including: Avon, Best Buy, Bank of America, Baxter Healthcare, Case New Holland (CNH), Ciena, Convergys Corporation, DeVry University, Fannie Mae, Fiat, Food Lion, Freddie Mac, General Electric, General Motors, Generali, Hilton Hotels, ITT Industries, Knight Ridder, McDonald’s, Merck, Microsoft, MetLife, Nissan Motor Corporation, Pfizer, Royal Bank of Canada, and Walmart.

The scope of his strategy, planning, and change implementation consulting activities has included:

•        Culture and business strategy alignment;

•        Employee Experience strategy and lifecycle measurement;

•        Employee engagement research and interventions;

•        Total Rewards Strategy and Total Rewards Optimization;

•        Advanced analytics and data mining;

•        Mergers & Acquisitions; and

•        Change management.

Ken is the author of multiple Kincentric reports, including the Global Trends in Employee Engagement Report that draws on research from Kincentric’s employee survey database with responses from over 25 million global employees.

Most of this research has been covered in outlets such as Fortune, Fox Business, Human Resource Executive, Market Watch and World at Work.

He has also published in outlets such as Harvard Business Manager, Harvard Business Review, Workforce Solutions Review, and Workspan.


Ken earned a Ph.D. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from DePaul University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan.

click headline; see the interesting report

Kincentric Secret to Transforming HR