Employee experience: How to empower employees at work

How can HR create a competitive advantage? By empowering employees.

Empowering employees and providing better employee experiences can create a competitive advantage for your organisation. Many organisations are focusing on digitisation to empower employees and increase productivity in the workplace. A recent study by Forrester, commissioned by DocuSign, found that digital disruptors more frequently experience substantial business benefits in comparison to their low digital maturity counterparts. 32%  of respondents said that one of the benefits of implementing digital agreement processes was better employee experiences and 26% of respondents said that improving employee experiences and productivity was a key driver for digitally modernising their systems of agreement.

There is definitely a need for company leaders to invest in and adapt to modern technology to improve the employee experience as a whole. In this digital world, employees expect a productive and enjoyable work experience. And, with the help of this technology, leaders can also take back time to focus on what matters: their people.

Joan Burke, Chief People Officer for DocuSign, believes that once you have the technology in place, the key to a positive employee experience is creating a culture of employee empowerment.

“We don’t just want to be the best place to work, and we want to be the place where people feel empowered to do the work of their lives.”

Employee Empowerment

Burke says that investing in management training, learning to embrace failure, and empowering employee decision making have been crucial to creating a culture where employees take ownership of their careers. What’s more, in this environment, employees feel comfortable making decisions that push themselves and move the company forward.

Better employee experiences - invest in your managers

Employees value growth and learning opportunities at work. In fact, the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that learning is seen as the key to a successful career for 76% of Gen Z respondents, 56% of Gen X and 61% of Millenials. For Burke, a huge part of helping employees learn and grow is giving them the chance to fail and learn from their mistakes. “At DocuSign, we train managers to focus on empowering their employees to take risks (as long as it isn’t catastrophic to the business) and to tackle tough problems,” she says

Empower employee decision making

“We’ve found that when employees trust their managers to support them—even when they fail—they are more likely to innovate and take ownership over their work without waiting to be told what to do,” says Burke.

Additionally, research shows that trust and space between employees and managers leads to higher job satisfaction and increased commitment to the work. 

Find out what matters to your employees and prioritise it

Many HR departments are now focusing on understanding and improving employee experience using online tools to measure employee satisfaction. You can use these tools to find out whether or not your initiatives are actually working by asking your employees for their opinion.

At DocuSign, every employee self-review form asks the questions, “Are you doing the work of your life?” and “What can we do to help you do the work of your life?”. 

“You can’t define what empowerment will mean for every employee, but you can use the information from your surveys to ensure employees have the support and tools to define it for themselves,” says Burke.

Burke believes that while everyone is competing for similar talent, companies that encourage empowerment and enable employees to do the work of their lives will rise above the competition. It is also possible to enhance employee experiences further through hr automation and rethinking digital HR

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