Employee journey mapping is every bit as important as customer journey mapping, and needs to be focused on before we can get the customer journey right.
In the 21st century, it is important for employers to create great experiences for employees as well as customers. Indeed, if you don’t get the employee experience right, from day one, you are never going to create a great customer experience, whether your people are in contact centres or serving customers face-to-face.
Employee journey mapping is a discipline that can help you ensure that your employee’s have positive experiences with your organisation from their first impression onwards.
Annette Franz of CX Journey™ explains: “Just like the customer journey map is the backbone of customer experience management, the employee journey map is the same for the employee experience. How can you improve upon something if you have no clue what ‘it’ is.
“An employee journey map clearly outlines the employee experience for you from end-to-end, helps to identify areas for improvement, and brings awareness to the good and the bad parts of the employee experience. The journey map will facilitate a culture transformation.”
Employee journey mapping will encourage you to ask yourself – and investigate - important questions: What are the people who work for you saying about your company to their friends? What are they saying (or not saying) on social media? What is your employer brand? What are you doing to attract the right people? Who are the right people? What sort of recognition do you have as a workplace? How often do your employees introduce their friends to come and work for you?
So where does your employee journey map begin?
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Before someone ever applies for a job with you, they will want to know what it’s like to work for you. Consider whether you are honest about what sort of workplace you have.
For instance, Easyjet used to have a section on their careers website where their cabin crew told it as it really was. There were downsides to being in their front line, but the atmosphere within the company was, we were told, vibrant and supportive, and there were lots of opportunities for career progression. It made me want to go and work there, because it looked like a great place to work.
So, for example, if you are running an award-winning contact centre – make sure that is communicated not only within your team, but outside the company too. Also consider what your employees are saying about working for you when they are out on the town on a Friday night - that could be the first time a prospective new employee hears about your company!
Positive first impressions
A friend of mine’s grandson took a part time job with Waitrose when he was in sixth form. He was so impressed with the care that they took when hiring him, and the quality of the training, that he has decided that he wants to work for them when he graduates. They have offered him the opportunity to work for them while he is at university 200 miles from home, too.
This demonstrates the importance of positive first impressions, and why the next stages you must consider in the journey are the first steps that your prospective employee takes towards you.
If you are running an award-winning contact centre – make sure that is communicated not only within your team, but outside the company too.
Think about what you want that experience to be like for them. Do you have a recruitment website? How easy is it to navigate? Is it up-to-date? Does it tell prospective employees what it is really like to work for you? Are there stories on there about people who have joined your business and been successful in their career, and how they achieved that?
If there is an online application form, how long does it take to complete? Is it realistic to expect people to spend an hour on an application form in 2013? When was the last time someone ‘mystery shopped’ your recruitment process?
If you use an external provider as part of your recruitment process, are they clear about your expectations of them in terms of behaviour towards prospective employees? How often do you ask your candidates for feedback on your recruitment process?
You cannot underestimate the importance of a positive first impression.
The application and interview process
After considering areas for potential improvement with your first impressions, it is time to examine what the experience is like for a candidate applying for a position in your organisation.
Things to consider include: What happens when someone applies for a job with you? How quickly are the applications acknowledged? Do you have a ‘standard’ for dealing with prospective new members of your team? If so, who monitors the standard?
If you are a large company with a lot of customer service people, you might run selection events quite regularly. What is the experience like for your potential new recruits?
Hiring new people is one of the most important jobs that anyone in an organisation does, especially when those people are going to be serving your customers!
When I was working in recruitment and training for a large company we would invite around 12 people to a half-day event. We would start by giving them a presentation on what it was like working for the company, warts and all.
So, if you are a 24-hour operation and people have to work shifts and weekends, that must be made very clear. You should end the presentation by focussing on the positives, and, if possible, have some real employees or video clips that you can show to talk about what working for the company is really like.
It’s a good idea to do some sort of activity to see what a candidate’s ability to interact is like, and you should also have the hiring manager involved in the interview, which should be as pleasant an experience as possible for the interviewee.
You should make sure that when your prospective employee leaves the selection event, they are thinking ‘I would really like to work there’.
Hiring new people is one of the most important jobs that anyone in an organisation does, especially when those people are going to be serving your customers! If you want to know what this part of your employee journey is like, why not ask your employees what they enjoyed about their selection experience and what they would improve, and then act on their suggestions.
Finally, if you have decided that you want to offer someone a job, call them straightaway and tell them. Chances are someone else will get there first if you don’t!
Possibly the most critical part of an employee’s journey with your company is induction.
Everyone should attend induction, whether they be a new company director or a new member of the cleaning team, and everyone in between. Induction must start on the new employee’s first day with the company.
The purpose of induction is to make your new people feel welcomed and valued. If you want your new people to make their customers, internal or external, feel welcome and valued, you have to make sure your people feel that way too. There are no short cuts here.
So what does a great induction process look like?
Induction should consist of a welcome from someone senior in the company. Make sure the ‘someone senior’ has people skills, though, otherwise keep them in their c-suite and let someone else do the welcome! Your new people should also be told about the company’s strategic narrative (history of the company and plans for the future) and corporate values and mission statement.
If you want your new people to make their customers, internal or external, feel welcome and valued, you have to make sure your people feel that way too.
Make sure there is a lot of interaction involved, as no-one wants to spend their induction looking at an endless stream of Powerpoint presentations. Also, you cannot effectively deliver induction via e-learning – there has to be a human element involved.
During induction, your new people must be given a clear indication of what is expected of them, and what will happen if they deliver for you. One company I know has an induction every quarter and schedules their staff recognition awards ceremony so that the new team members attend it as part of their induction – I think that is a fantastic idea.
Ideally, induction should be delivered by people who have done the job themselves, or even are still doing it. Induction trainers have to live in the same world as the people they are working with.
Look out for ways of making your new people feel special, especially if you want them to make your customers feel special!
Graham Frost spent the first 20 years of his career in the front line, serving customers and leading teams of customer service professionals. In 2003 he was given the opportunity to go into training and people development and he still helps people to create happier and more productive teams. Graham was recently nominated in the Top 15 Customer Service commentators on social media and he is a member of the Engage for Success Guru Group on Employee Engagement