Last month, over 1,700 experience professionals travelled from around the UK to attend X4 London — the annual experience management event from Qualtrics

With talks from some of the UK’s biggest brands, the event provided a unique insight into how today’s business leaders are combining the different elements of experience, not only to create memorable customer interactions but to ensure that their employees are receiving the best possible experiences as well.

With this in mind, here are three key lessons from X4 London that businesses can use to boost their own employee engagement levels, and to craft their own unique Employee Experience (EX) approach:

1. Confidence is king

According to the latest employee pulse data from Qualtrics, 65% of UK workers are ‘engaged’ with their jobs. But as Sarah Marrs, Head of Employee Experience EMEA points out, brands need to remember that engagement isn’t everything. As Sarah put it in her X4 keynote ‘the engagement scores are not the point… the point is why.’

Rather than worrying about whether or not employees are engaged, Sarah argues that companies must dig deeper, understanding the root cause for why people are/aren’t engaged. According to Sarah’s research the key driver behind engagement is confidence — in particular confidence in the company’s future and in the decisions of the leadership team.

If HR teams, brands and business leaders can instil confidence in their workers, employee engagement will naturally follow. This small insight provides major implications for how brands can, and should, develop their employee engagement initiatives in future.

2. Treat employees as customers

One of the key takeaways from X4 London was the close connection between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Frontline employees who feel engaged and motivated in their jobs will be far more likely to deliver a high quality customer experience, making employee engagement a key priority for customer-centric brands.

As one example, Simon Daly, Head of Engagement at Three — a Qualtrics customer — described at X4 how Three’s engagement team combines both customer-facing NPS scores and employee-facing eNPS scores to better understand the relationship between both groups. This allows Three to develop a far more rounded overview of the company’s entire experience approach and the resulting actions that can be taken.

As Simon Daly puts it, “There are some nice natural connections between NSP and eNPS to correlate. But there’s a huge amount of data. We have to ask, what are the key things we’re going to get behind, but also at what points are we going to turn this insight into really clear actions? …This not only means talking to the C-suite about what customer survey results tell you, but also connecting that story to the employees.”

3. Centralise your data and strategy

One of the big problems raised at X4 was the disjointed communication and systems that currently exist throughout many of today’s organisations. In order to truly develop an understanding of employees’ needs, Laura Farrelly, Head of Culture & Engagement at Barclays, argued at X4 that brands need a single platform and a single strategy to manage all of their different experience data sets.

As the first step in this journey, Laura argued that brands need to crack down on different departments all running their own employee engagement surveys. While these ad hoc surveys can prove useful, the resulting data typically ends up existing in isolation, meaning that much of the long-term business value is lost. The second step is transitioning the existing census surveys, pulse surveys and ad hoc surveys over to a single centralised platform. From here brands can combine the available data and start to see which surveys are providing genuinely useful insights.

As Laura Farrelly summarises: “Single platform. Single strategy. Start transitioning. — From there, you can start to see where you’re going and where to focus.”

When it comes to building a great employee experience, these lessons represent just the tip of the iceberg for brands. What they do teach us however, is the vital role that data is playing in informing today’s employee-centric businesses. Whether it’s knowing the key drivers for engagement, tracking eNPS scores, or running effective employee surveys, data must sit at the heart of your employee experience strategy, informing your decisions and helping to shape your approach.