- Traditional thinking around employee experience
- Why the employee experience is important in government
- Room for improvement: The top drivers of employee experience
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Across the country, organizations are taking a closer look at the employee experience they offer as they grapple with the risk of unprecedented mass resignations. But while government agencies may view the so-called “Great Resignation” as primarily a private-sector problem, they can’t afford to ignore the quality of the experience they provide for workers either.
Traditional thinking around employee experience
Traditional thinking around employee experience has long focused on major milestones, such as the hiring experience, onboarding, training, and promotions. But in fact, the employee experience encapsulates the full day-to-day, including how easy an organization makes it to get work done and how motivated and proud workers feel in their roles.
In a new webinar that we recently held together with GovLoop, Rick Parrish of Forrester Research walked us through research about how providing a great employee experience helps government agencies to drive their mission, and discussed how these entities can improve employee engagement to see better results.
On this front, research from Forrester presented by Rick shows that the average employee experience in government agencies falls short of working in the public sector—and these gaps may undermine the effectiveness of the agencies themselves.
Why the employee experience is important in government
The employee experience encompasses much more than a worker’s benefits or salary or how easy it is to navigate their organization’s intranet. Ultimately, the employee experience is a worker’s individual perception of how well their employer keeps them engaged in their job, and this overarching perception affects important aspects of their performance, from productivity to how likely they are to remain in their role.
Three key aspects to employee experience
As Rick discussed in our webinar, Forrester has identified three key aspects that form the backbone of the employee experience:
- Empowerment: Employees are empowered to succeed in their work
- Inspiration: Employees are inspired by their organization
- Enablement: Employees have the resources they need to perform their jobs
The link between these attributes and job satisfaction is fairly obvious. But although the connection to overall government effectiveness might be less explicit, research shows that providing a high-quality worker experience directly affects employees’ ability and desire to do their jobs effectively. This in turn affects public perceptions and an agency’s overall ability to drive their mandate.
Forrester’s research on employee experience in government
Unfortunately, the research Rick presented showed that the employee experience in government agencies lag behind the private sector in all aspects. According to Forrester’s Employee Experience (EX) Index for 2020, scores for each of empowerment, inspiration, and enablement in the federal government fell short by five points or more compared to the average scores seen in private companies and industries.
This is worrisome, especially because Rick’s presentation also showed that the customer experience in government is lagging too.
Users of government services report having a harder time getting answers to their questions or accessing high-quality information about government services and benefits compared to private sector customers, and this, in turn, reduces their compliance and trust in public entities. Given the corresponding shortcomings seen on the employee side, the link between EX and overall agency effectiveness becomes clearer.
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Room for improvement: The top drivers of employee experience
So how can government agencies improve the employee experience that they offer? The first step is understanding where workers’ needs are not currently being met.
The EX Index research cited by Rick found six top drivers of a great employee experience:
- “My (agency/organization) does a good job of providing an environment where I can be productive.” 48% of government workers agree compared to 61% of workers in the private sector
- “I feel sufficiently recognized and valued for the work that I do.” 44% of government workers say they feel recognized and valued compared to 57% of private sector employees
- “My manager is a great coach and mentor to me.” 38% of government workers say yes compared to 52% of those in the private sector
- “I can easily provide feedback to my (agency’s/organization’s) leadership.” 42% of government workers agree compared to 59% in the private sector
- “I have enough flexibility to decide where I want to work (e.g. from home, from a different office, etc.).” 27% of government workers say yes compared to 46% of private sector workers
- “I have the mobile technology I need to do my job.” 45% of government workers agree compared to 61% of workers in private companies
There’s clearly room for improvement. And given the specific shortcomings that were measured, there is also great potential for impactful improvements from deploying technologies that promote government employees’ access to information and vital resources and their ability to communicate with colleagues, managers, and other leaders.
Is your agency providing quality experiences?
Watch our new on-demand webinar now to learn more about how these experience drivers affect worker and agency effectiveness, and find out how to develop a technology strategy that empowers, inspires, and enables government employees to do their best work.
Originally published Dec 13, 2021, updated Mar 29, 2022