Why neuroscience is a game changer for employee experience

How neuroscience can be a game changer for employee experience
4 minutes read
  1. Measuring emotional response to workplace concepts
  2. Identifying biases and the strength of those biases
  3. Understanding perception and mental associations


Neuroscience and employee experience

In partnership with Shared Services Forum UK, Think Beyond presented to a packed audience of shared services professionals. As part of their annual Collaboration Week, we were invited to share knowledge and insights with member organisations and non-member shared services employers. As a people-centric industry, shared services is a perfect partner to discuss employee experience (EX). Furthermore, with large numbers of people working from home or hybrid working, EX is high on the agenda.

In a fully-booked webinar, Think Beyond shared why neuroscience is a game changer for employee experience. As part of our range of knowledge and insight services, we offer a range of research tools to answer business questions. Similarly, we offer neuroscientific and digital techniques and expertise to facilitate deeper understanding on key ‘human’ topics. As the great resignation pans out and Gen-Z reassess what they want from work, EX has never been so important.


Neuroscience can be a game changer

Typically, most senior leaders ‘outsource’ employee issues and mental health to EAPs. This ‘backstop’ benefit gives employees a place to go to raise their concerns. However, as a third-party service, EAPs are often not able to effect workplace change. Similarly, employee engagement surveys often suffer from poor completion rates, untruthful answers and biased questions. Finally, town hall events and roundtables suffer from high levels of bias, both from employees and the senior leaders. So, if today’s common methods of measuring EX are unreliable and EAPs can’t fix the root causes of poor EX, only treating the symptoms, how do we improve?

Enter neuroscience. Put simply, it enables us to measure emotional response, identify bias and understand mental associations. All of these are things that traditional approaches struggle with. This is because our emotional responses are largely unconscious and we are not consciously aware of them or able to explain them. EX also varies by industry, company, discipline, workplace, department, team and individual.


Testing a hypothesis on employee experience

We ran two short polls on employee experience during the webinar. The first asked what percentage of the global workforce report high daily stress levels at work? The majority, 46% believed the percentage was between 31-40%. Interestingly, nobody thought that the percentage was less than 20%, perhaps demonstrating broad acknowledgement of workplace stress as a norm. The truth is that 43% of global employees report high daily stress levels and this, of course, filters through to our personal lives. When you combine the mental health crisis that emerged during the pandemic and the great resignation, it is clear that there is an ‘employee experience crisis’ affecting all employers.

The second poll focused on the proportion of people who answer all employee survey questions truthfully. 80% of the audience, mostly managers of, or HR within shared services, said that they answered all questions truthfully. The parallel is that 1 in 5 do not answer all questions truthfully, which is slightly lower than our own research that found 1 in 3 do not answer all questions truthfully. So, can we rely on these answers to drive our EX?


Shared Services Forum UK Collaboration Week

Our first event in partnership with SSF UK was a great success! Fully-booked, well-attended and an in-depth presentation went down well with all concerned.

Lynsey Oakes, SSF UK Operation Manager, said “Thank you Think Beyond for sharing your knowledge and expertise of neuroscience with our members and wider networks during our Collaboration Week. Your support for our Forum ethos has been fantastic to see, and you generated so much interest and engagement amongst the attendees with your topic!”

Lisa Hooley, SSF UK Board Director, said “Evolving employee experience has fast become the global ‘go-to’ priority for businesses recognising the need to demonstrate purpose, attract and retain talent and become an employer of choice for the future. As people businesses, it’s a continuing priority for shared business services too. Linking neuroscience into human connections, emotions and belonging through the lens of employee experience is a potential game-changer for us all – thank you for sharing this with us, Think Beyond!”

Other comments include, “Thank you really interesting”, “Super, super-interesting discussion” and “Great webinar, lots to think about! Thank you”.


Employee experience insights

Steven presented the session and took the audience on a journey to better employee experience. He added, “Crucial to using neuroscience to measure EX, organisations must be prepared to hear the truth and act on findings to maintain confidence. Thank you so much to Shared Services Forum UK for asking us to take part in their action-packed Collaboration Week”.

Mercè, the host of the webinar, added that “Employee experience and the great resignation are such hot topics right now. We were blown away by the interest in this session from SSF UK members and other shared services employers. Steven and I offer a game changing experience to improving EX, with neuroscience insights that other techniques cannot offer. Thank you to Lynsey, Alexandra and Lisa at SSF UK for their support in delivering this webinar”.

A recording of the session is available to SSF UK via the member’s area of the website. For further information, please email hello@think-beyond.co.uk. Alternatively, you can pop a few details on our website for a call back.

Finally, for more content on EX, why not check out our article on going beyond surveys and quantifying where you are now.