Employee experience - what does it mean?
The term ‘employee experience’ has become one of the key buzzwords of the past year, but it’s by no means a new term or idea. There’s a growing correlation between employee experience and employee engagement, and companies with high engagement are really seeing the benefits that investing in their employees is having on their business performance. So much so that 92% of HR leaders have now confirmed employee experience as one of their top priorities in 2021.
Employee experience (EX) is the journey an employee takes with an employer. The employee experience will vary from company to company, but typically describes all the interactions that happens along the employee life cycle: from the start of the journey at the recruitment stage, through to the employee departing the business, and every stage and experience in between.
The benefits of prioritising well-being, engagement and a positive company culture are multifold. In improving the employee experience, companies have seen knock-on effects on their HR and sales metrics, such as reduced staff turnover and an increase in employee productivity and satisfaction: consequently, leading to an increase in customer acquisition, satisfaction, retention. All of which culminates in a healthy return on investment, greater overall profit and a glowing company reputation.
How to create an effective employee experience strategy
Before you start the search for the ideal employees to join your team, it’s essential that you get your house in order first to help you stand out from other businesses also competing to recruit the same talent. There are 3 basic environments that make up the employee experience:
- Company culture - This refers to your corporate culture, mission, values, leadership style and organisational structure. Combined together, this creates the feeling or impression your employees have about your company when they come to work every day – it can inspire, empower and motivate your team, or stifle, drain and discourage them.
- Technology – These are the tools your employees use to get their work done. With the range of technology now available at our disposal, it has become much easier to digitise and future-proof your employee experience. Give your employees the tools they need to maximise their efficiency and encourage confidence and empowerment within their role.
- Physical workspace – A physical workspace can be set up in the office or at home, but regardless of location, employees who have a comfortable and better-quality workspace with access to both privacy and meeting areas when needed are generally happier and more productive.
Make these environments the best they can be and you’re already differentiating yourself as an employer.
Identify your employee experience touchpoints
As we previously mentioned, the employee experience is the journey an employee takes with you as their employer. Like any journey, it’s helpful to map out the route and plan for each of the different stages – or touchpoints – that those on the journey will typically encounter.
- Recruitment – The recruitment stage is a great opportunity to get your employees excited about your company from the get-go, so make the application process as clear and straightforward as possible.
- Onboarding – Have you established an efficient and welcoming onboarding process that will set your new employee up for long-term success?
- Development – Offer regular performance reviews and 1:1 sessions. Ask them what they need in terms of support and training. Work with them to set goals and plans to further develop their skills.
- Retention –. People want to know they are making a difference and that their work is feeding into their company’s bigger picture. So, make sure they know how their role contributes to higher-level business objectives and ties in with the company’s vision.
- Offboarding – Nobody ever wants to lose a valuable employee, but sadly it’s often unavoidable and can happen for any number of reasons that are not always under employer’s control.Take time to understand their reasons for leaving and give them the opportunity to give feedback. And remember to thank them for all their efforts and contribution to your company.
Measure the impact by listening to your employees
Employees want to know that their voices are being heard, so keep lines of communication open and make feedback an ongoing part of your employee experience strategy, using regular surveys to get in-depth insights into employee satisfaction and well-being, and identify areas for improvement. Always remember to keep the focus on improving the employee experience and resulting business outcomes.
Use insights to improve your employee experience
The feedback you get from the surveys is invaluable, but only if you actually use it to create implement change. The final step is to take action by using the survey insights to create a better employee experience that make your workforce want to come into work.
Don’t try to fix everything at once – make small, manageable changes to begin with and over time these changes will compound into a better overall experience. Improving the employee experience is a never-ending process and it will require time, commitment and financial investment, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term costs and you’ll be rewarded with happier employees, greater productivity and a healthier bottom line.