Employee Experience: Components, Importance & Strategies to Improve
The success of a business depends on many factors. And one of the most important factors is its workforce. But to tap into an employee's potential, it's vital that they are happy and motivated. This is where employee experience comes into play.
Companies nowadays claim to be doing a great job at employee experience. They provide cakes on birthdays or put up quirky banners with fun words. And that's pretty much it.
Jacob Morgan points out a fundamental flaw in this perspective. Businesses have assumed that people need to work with them to pay bills.
But the world is changing fast.
With technology, options like freelancing and content creation are becoming popular. Some people are becoming Uber drivers, while others are making food blogs. On top of it, companies are continuously competing for skilled employees.
In short, there are many alternatives for people to earn money to pay their bills.
So it is not about whether employees are good enough to work at your company. It is about whether your company is good enough for them.
This is the underlying perspective you need while designing a seamless employee experience.
So let's understand some basics.
- What is Meant by Employee Experience?
- Why Do HRs Need to Focus on Employee Experience?
- Core Components of Employee Experience
- Employee Experience Vs. Employee Engagement
- Employee Experience and Customer Experience
- Importance of Employee Experience
- Strategies to Improve Employee Experience
- Bonus Content
- In Conclusion
What is Meant by Employee Experience?
Employee experience is the combination of all that occurs in an employee's lifecycle. It starts from the day an employee applies for the job and joins until their last working day.
It includes everything that an employee learns, feels, and goes through at work. Also, as most businesses think, it isn't about giving out a handsome paycheck. It is more than that.
Employees want to contribute to their organization's success. At the same time, they want something meaningful in return.
Here, it is upon HR leaders to act as the guiding light, and this article is all about preparing you for the same.
Why Do HRs Need to Focus on Employee Experience?
Changing Demographics and Their Expectations
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
New-age employees or millennials want to do meaningful work. It has to align with their values and beliefs.
Employees nowadays expect a personalized experience. They want companies to appreciate their uniqueness and provide ample scope for development. You need to provide an experience that drives people to do purposeful work.
Rise of Social Media
With social media, employee advocacy is going viral and impacting brand image. Companies are focusing more on their people and their experiences. If done right, it can be a massive competitive advantage.
Pandemics, global disruptions, and increasing digitalization are changing the world of work. Regardless of these shifts, your most valuable asset remains your workforce.
Companies are taking a people-centric approach to HR that correlates with business goals. This helps enterprises sustain even in the toughest times.
These are a few things that can impact the work-lives of your people.
Here is our take on the vital factors that shape your employees' experience:
Core Components of Employee Experience
Day-to-day interactions of a worker shape their experiences in the workplace. Yet, there are more components that managers need to focus on to attract and keep the top performers.
The components include:
Company culture is something that connects everyone associated with a company.
It defines what it is like to work for a company. It impacts not only your employees' performance but also their level of engagement.
Developing company culture is a pivotal part of creating a great employee experience. It influences how people feel about their jobs and their organization. It also forms a vital aspect behind employee satisfaction, motivation, and engagement.
Physical Work Environment
The second component is the workplace environment. It has a tremendous influence on an employee's workplace experience.
If an employee feels discomfort or struggles at their workplace, then it's not a positive sign. Leaders must pay ample attention to improve the work environment.
A quick suggestion would be to host frequent employee surveys. Surveys will help identify their issues and register your wins.
The aspect of the work environment is no longer limited to office spaces. Millions of professionals are now working from home. You can plan to assist them to elevate their work experience.
From typewriters to touchscreen, the world of technology has come a long way. This is especially true in the business world, with the internet being the prime catalyst.
The internet has changed the ways businesses communicate. Employees can now work remotely. It has transformed the work culture to become more efficient.
Modern-day employees cannot imagine a workplace without the touch of technology. It is imperative for their productivity. If they lack access to the necessary tools required for the job, they will contribute less. This impacts their overall experience working for you.
To know more about the influence of technology, you can listen to Ashish Mediratta. He shared his views on "How AI is shaping HR and Employee Experience?" in our Vantage HR Influencers Podcast series.
Employee Experience Vs. Employee Engagement
If you think Employee Experience (EX) and Employee Engagement are the same, then it's time to revise.
Here are the differences between both:
As a whole, EX is a more comprehensive concept compared to employee engagement.
Employee Experience and Customer Experience
If you run a business, you understand the importance of customer experience. Your customers drive your business. But who brings these customers towards your business?
They are your most important asset. They are the ones who interact and deal with your customers. Without these hard-working professionals, your enterprise won't stand a chance.
As Sir Richard Branson said,
Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.
So, a satisfying customer experience begins with providing a meaningful employee experience. In other words, the first step to customer satisfaction is employee satisfaction.
Importance of Employee Experience
The definition of work has evolved over the years. Employees are nowadays looking for purposeful work. They don't seek employment just for the sake of earning.
Purposeful work not only contributes to individual growth but also to the community.
Your company culture reflects your sense of purpose. Thus, it can tremendously influence your employee's experience.
Source: Deloitte's 2017 Human Capital Trends Survey
Good employee experience has a direct positive correlation with employee productivity. It simplifies everyday operations, making it easier for employees to work.
When employees have an engaging experience at work each day, it will reflect on their work. They'll feel genuinely motivated to work and go the extra mile to achieve their goals.
Strategies to Improve Employee Experience
By now, I'm sure you've realized the need for a good EX. It's time that we discuss some strategies to boost the EX.
Traditional human resources focus on treating wellness, productivity, and technology as separate issues. But for employees, these are integrated experiences.
Here are 11 Strategies For HRs to Provide a Meaningful Experience to Employees:
1. Easy Application Process
Employee experience begins before an employee even joins your company. It starts as early as when they are applying for a position.
Have a hassle-free application process to make hiring easier. Employees, when searching for a job, are already juggling between various job portals. You need to design an application process that's easy to understand and navigate. This will put you in their good books.
Also, ensure diversity in your application process to avoid biases.
Source: The Undercover Recruiter
Make the interface friendly for mobile use. Clear messaging can work wonders for your employer's brand and image. It will show that you want to help the candidates and ease out their operation of filling forms.
2. Interviewing Tools and Processes
In modern workplaces, gears are shifting. Workplaces are increasingly relying on technology for enhanced efficiency and better communication.
The best operation which can leverage technology is recruitment. HR teams now use new-age management tools like NLPs, VR assessment during interviews. These tools assess employees' soft skills and temperaments.
Use video interviews for potential candidates living in any part of the world.
The right recruitment tools can help you keep up with the needs of a post-pandemic workforce.
3. Effective Onboarding Programs
A great onboarding program helps the employees get acquainted with the company culture. It is the first official interaction a new hire has with the company.
Employees can connect with seniors and collaborate. It will not only help them in their day-to-day tasks but also strengthen relationships.
But a poor onboarding program can affect your employer branding. So try to make it more seamless.
Zappos gives their new hires $2000 to leave if they want to after the onboarding process. If employees feel they can't fit in with the culture, they are free to leave.
4. Physical Environment
Employees spend more than 8-9 hours every day at their workplace. It only makes sense that employers provide a clean and safe working environment for them.
Provide your workers with a clean, well-lit, safe, and comfortable workstation. It influences an employee's motivation to work and capacity to improve performance. It is also a significant contributor to the health and well-being of an employee.
5. Assign Mentors
Employees might feel a little lost and out of place in the first few days of joining. They might be unsure how to ask questions and communicate with their leaders.
As HR professionals, you can take effective measures against this.
Assign mentors and buddies to new hires. Mentors will help new hires understand their work and adapt better. It will lead to better communication and the free exchange of ideas.
It can help them connect and create new bonds.
6. Employee Surveys & Feedback
Conduct employee surveys frequently. Surveys help you analyze areas in your workplace that are doing well and where you need to improve. You can use surveys as feedback tools to show your employees that you care about their opinion.
You can run various types of surveys to uncover the attributes of your company. These can be
Tools like Vantage Pulse can help you get employee feedback for better decision-making. Click to know more.
7. Performance Reviews
Performance reviews help employees improve their skills and advance their careers. It is an integral part of a positive employee experience.
But, conducting annual performance reviews isn't enough anymore.
Employees want feedback that is continuous and contributes to their short-term achievements too. They now look for monthly or even weekly reviews to improve their skills.
A sound performance management system is helpful for both the employer and employee. The employer can track the employees' performance and guide him/her on how to improve. The employee can get the opportunity to gain new talent and enhance their skill set.
8. Robust Internal Communication
This is the most critical aspect of providing an engaging employee experience.
Focus on clear communication. It helps reduce and resolve conflicts among peers. Employees become more engaged and loyal to the organization.
9. Acknowledgment & Appreciation
To feel appreciated for hard work is a fundamental human need. When you recognize employees for their work, they feel good about themselves. It makes them think that they're making a difference to the business.
This, in turn, makes them want to contribute more. They feel motivated to achieve their goals and stay with the organization.
The way to enable this is through social recognition.
It's a faster and continuous exchange of recognition between peers and their leaders. This makes the employee journey for an individual meaningful and memorable.
10. Team Building Activities
It encourages teamwork and strengthens relationships between peers and leaders. Employees can bond with people from different departments and create new memories.
11. Exit Interviews
But sometimes, it does happen that an employee has to leave. You can't help it. But you can always find out why they left.
By conducting exit interviews, you can gain more insight into employee's experiences. You will get to know about the work culture, behavior of employees, and other issues.
A company should maintain a good relationship with employees throughout their work lifecycle. If/when such employees leave, they'll tell you a lot more than "it's not you, it's me." They might provide you constructive criticism about why they are leaving.
How to Enhance Employee Experience During Covid-19?
Global disruptions like Covid-19 have brought much uncertainty to business and employment. But it has compromised employee experience the most.
With remote work and increasing digitalization, the world of work is changing. Try to be extra mindful to keep your digital employees feel connected, happy, and secure.
Some things for HRs to keep in mind:
- Boost your feedback mechanism.
- Use technology as much as possible for constant communication.
- Support your employees with the tools and training needed for communication and collaboration.
- Focus on employee wellbeing.
Let your employee know that you are listening. The best way to address issues is to first learn about them.
So ask your employees directly. They'll tell you if they connect with the work. They'll let you know about any gap they feel with their peers.
Employees during the pandemic miss having the opportunity to connect. People are now working from home unless there is a reason to go to the office. Video calls, chats, and regular emails will help overcome physical distance.
Provide ample opportunities so that your employees can deliver, develop, connect and thrive.
Above all, organize wellness programs and forums for them to share their experiences. It will boost their job satisfaction.
A good and positive employee experience will eventually impact your retention rates.
Employee experience goes far beyond the list of benefits you provide to employees. Instead, it is an integration of perks, environment, values, and the company culture. It is the factors that will make your employees want to come to work every day.