Elevating the employee experience

In my bluenotes article Does hybrid working really improve the employee experience? I talked about investing more in culture and wellbeing, inspiring our people through designing experiences and not just embracing but accelerating digital technologies.

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There is no better example of the power of these combined than our current move to Experience Level Agreements – or XLAs.

“This collaboration taps into the diverse perspectives, ideas and insights of the ANZ workforce, leading to enhanced problem-solving and innovation.”

An XL what?

It’s not a T-shirt size – XLAs are a commitment to a defined experience, tracked using experience indicators.

A joint white paper by ISG and HCL Tech Measuring User Experience with XLAs: A Modern approach for managing futuristic experience-centric workplace, shows how traditional Service Level Agreement (SLAs) typically measure service efficiency, while XLAs go a step further. 

“These XL parameters go beyond traditional approaches to measure factors that affect user experience through devices, applications and other workplace technologies. XL measurement also leverages best-fit latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to assess multiple user experience facets.”

At ANZ, XLAs are helping us understand the value we deliver and to focus on what matters for our staff. Previously the measurement focus for many of our technical teams was on SLA performance measures, like system up time being 99 per cent.

As that didn’t measure the user experience impact of that 1 per cent downtime, we are moving towards a more holistic approach that combines performance and experience metrics to measure the outcome and value of our products and services.

SLA- Service Level Agreement XLA- Experience Level Agreement

Measures the output of Tech.

Measures the outcome of Tech.

SLAs focus on high level objectives, that can easily be met.

However, they don't paint an in-depthpicture of what is really happening  within a service or product.

XLAs bring focus directly to end-users' experience and needs.


But while it is relatively easy to shift our mindset from tasks and response times to prioritising employee satisfaction, productivity and well-being, the execution of XLAs is a little more difficult.

In defining our XLAs we need to hear the voice of ANZ employees and directly involve them in the process. When they tell us what is important to them – through surveys, feedback and focus groups – we can define what needs to be important to us.

This collaboration taps into the diverse perspectives, ideas and insights of the ANZ workforce, leading to enhanced problem-solving and innovation.

For our Employee Experience teams, defining an XLA helps to align expectations, foster a positive work environment and deliver what really matters – inspiring our teams to go beyond.

A key measure of our XLAs at ANZ is a digital experience score which taps into data, machine learning and AI. This is calculated through three key pillars:

  1. Support, system and survey data which provides a predictive analysis of the experience
  2. Device and service monitoring data which contributes a technical score, and
  3. Employee sentiment data which provides an engagement (or frustration!) score. 

Put together, these provide an AI-generated Digital Experience Score which provides a key metric for our experience level agreements.

Our Digital Experience Scores are being measured through a Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) tool which provides continuous, real-time performance monitoring, predictive data and targeted questions on an individual employees’ experience.  

The scores are merged to provide a holistic Digital Experience score on which our XLAs are based. Our DEM tool allows us to measure the experience based on continuous feedback and quickly find areas for improvement.   

With proactive alerting and incident management for example, we can assess and improve digital experiences.

Where we identify opportunities, we can invest in change management, resources, training and support systems. We can engage with employees both on and off service and use machine learning to move towards a predictive support model. 

Digital Experience Monitoring is contributing to the measurement and achievement of XLAs and AI and machine learning technology is only just starting to be tapped.

What’s the catch?

While XLAs provide a framework, the execution, measurement and acting on insights can be challenging. User experiences are subjective and can vary greatly.

We know, for example, that employees based in some locations continuously record higher satisfaction with their technology than others. Are these teams getting a better product and service than our Australia-based teams or is cultural response bias at play?

It is important to baseline and segment audience groups to provide a more meaningful measure of how we are doing and the areas for improvement.

Gathering, analysing and acting on insights can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Digital Experience Monitoring systems help, but at the end of the day we need to overlay this with human intelligence to prioritise, problem-solve and react.

XLAs require continuous improvement. As employee needs and expectations evolve, so should our XLAs. Implementing a feedback loop and regularly reviewing and adjusting XLAs is necessary to make sure they remain relevant and useful.

So, in short, XLAs aren’t easy, but we think they are worth it. They can play a role in defining our expectations and experiences and elevating our performance. This approach ensures we stay competitive and adaptable.

The age of AI presents us with unique opportunities to use technology to understand and enhance productivity, efficiency and employee experiences. When we overlay these with our human critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving it can be enormously powerful.

Vinit Jha is Domain Lead, Employee Experience at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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