If you have a business, you understand the importance of customer experience. Sure, your customers drive your business. But who drives these customers towards your business?
Companies often forget about their most important asset- their employees. As Sir Richard Branson rightly said,
Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.
Therefore, a satisfying customer experience begins with providing a meaningful employee experience. In other words, the first step to customer satisfaction is employee satisfaction.
Employee experience (EX) is the accumulation of every event and stage of an employee’s journey in a company. It begins as early as when an employee applies to your company and continues until their exit interview. It comprises of the entire journey an employee undertakes when they are associated with an organisation.
EX encompasses everything that an employee feels, observes and goes through while working. And human resources acts as the guiding light on this journey. Their contribution can either pave the way for a fulfilling experience or derail the whole thing.
Importance of Employee Experience
The definition of work has evolved over the years. It’s no longer the traditional, desk-bound, 9-5 jobs. People no longer work just for the sake of working or earning.
New-age employees or the infamous millennials will only do work that is meaningful. Work now has to serve a purpose. It has to align with an employee’s values and beliefs. Therefore, it is important to provide your employees with a wholesome experience.
80 per cent of HR and business leaders in Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends survey said that employee experience was “important” or “very important” to them.
Good employee experience has a direct and positive impact on an employee’s productivity and level of engagement.
When employees will have an engaging experience at work each day, it will reflect on their work. They’ll feel intrinsically motivated to work and going the extra mile to achieve their goals.
Similarly, an employee’s experience can turn sour if the conditions they have to work in are not feasible. Some factors that contribute to this heavily are physical environment, relationships with coworkers, work-life balance, etc.
Therefore, workplaces that strive towards making everyday special for their employees are sure to strike an emotional chord among their workforce. It will make employees loyal to their organisation. As a result, it will help workplaces in attracting and retaining top talent.
11 Strategies HR Can Use to Improve Employee Experience
In his book ‘Employee Experience Advantage,’ Jacob Morgan says that an employee’s experience is affected by three kinds of environments-
- Cultural environment
- Technological environment
- Physical environment
These three environments constitute most of our professional life. This makes it all the more important for companies to focus on providing a wholesome professional experience to their employees.
HR can drive the future of employee experience in the right direction. They need to be thoughtful of the processes and tools that go into every stage of the employee lifecycle.
Here are 11 timeless and proven strategies that HR teams can undertake to provide a rewarding experience to their employees-
1. Easy Application Process
Employee experience begins before an employee even joins your company. Their impression of your company starts to be made as early as when they are applying for a position.
Start with having a hassle-free application process which makes the initial interaction with your company easier. Employees, when searching for a job, are already juggling between various job portals. So, designing an application process that’s easy to understand and navigate can put you in their good books.
94 per cent of job seekers first check out the job listing on their phone.
So, making the interface mobile-friendly and the messaging clear can work wonders for your employer brand and image.
It will show that you want to help the candidates and ease out their operation of filling forms. Such small adjustments can speak volumes about your company’s culture.
2. Interviewing Tools and Processes
In modern workplaces, gears are shifting. Traditional ways of operations are being quickly dominated by artificial intelligence and machine learning. In one word, workplaces are becoming ‘automated’.
The best operation where the power of automation can be leveraged is recruitment. You can deliver a great employee experience when a candidate comes in for an interview.
A lot of companies now use new-age tools like NLPs, VR assessment during their interviews. These tools can assess candidates’ soft skills, predict temperament according to voice and language, etc.
Video interviews can also be used to interview potential candidates living in any part of the world.
There’s no denying that the workplace is starting to be filled with millennials and Gen Z employees. To keep up with this modern, fast-paced and tech-advanced generation, workplaces need to design their workplaces accordingly.
3. Effective Onboarding Programs
According to a report by Digitate in 2018,
“1 in 5 new hires is unlikely to recommend the employer to a friend or family member after the onboarding process.”
As the above statistic shows, a poor onboarding program can affect your employer branding. The onboarding time is the first official interaction your new hire will have with the company. Thus, it becomes all the more important to make the experience smooth and unforgettable.
In fact, Zappos gives their new hires $2000 to leave if they want to after the onboarding process. During the program, emphasis is put on the company’s cultural identity and employees are trained for the same. If after a month, employees feel they can’t fit in with the company’s culture, they are free to leave.
An employee joins your organisation with aspirations and expectations. So, it’s disappointing if you can’t keep up with what you were promised during recruitment.
Great onboarding programs help the employees familiarise with the company’s culture and values. New hires want opportunities to get to know their peers and managers. Your onboarding experience can involve enabling employees to connect with seniors, work in teams, etc.
These enable employees with their day-to-day tasks, improve conversation among peers and build relationships with their leaders.
4. Physical Environment
The physical environment comprises of 30 per cent of an employee’s experience. It’s no wonder that companies have begun to focus so much on workplace aesthetics.
Employees spend more than 8-9 hours every day at their workplace. It only makes sense that employers should provide a clean and safe environment for your employees.
A workstation that is clean, well-lit and properly kept influences an employee’s motivation to work, performance and productivity. It is also a major contributor to the health and well-being of an employee.
For example, if cable wires are not stacked properly, employees might trip over and fall which can cause injuries. Thus, an untidy environment can also harm an employee’s safety.
5. Assign Mentors
Employees might feel a little lost and out of place in the first few days of joining. They might feel intimidated to ask questions and communicate with their leaders.
As HR professionals, you can take effective measures against this. Assigning mentors can help new hires understand their work and come out of their shell quickly. This will eventually lead to clearer communication and the free exchange of suggestions and ideas. It can also help them connect and create new bonds.
6. Employee Surveys
Surveys help you analyse areas in your workplace which are doing well and where you need to improve. It shows employees that you care about their opinion and will work towards bringing the necessary changes.
You can run various types of surveys around the year to uncover various attributes of your organisation. These can be onboarding surveys, engagement surveys, pulse surveys, 360-degree feedback and so on.
Conducting these surveys frequently can enable employers to identify areas where they are lacking. It will help them analyse why the employee experience is dipping in their workplace.
7. Performance Reviews
The essence of conducting performance reviews is to help employees understand how they can advance their career.
Reviewing is an integral part of providing a positive employee experience. Conducting annual performance reviews isn’t enough anymore.
Employees want feedback that is continuous and contributes to their short-term achievements too. They want leaders to look into their progress monthly or even weekly and help them in advancing their skills.
In fact, 77 per cent of HR leaders say that annual performance reviews aren’t an accurate description of employee performance.
So, holding regular appraisal programs can be beneficial for both the employer and employees. The employer can track the employees’ performance and guide him/her on how to improve. The employee can get the opportunity to acquire new talent and enhance their skill set.
8. Robust Internal Communication
This can be the most important aspect of providing an engaging employee experience.
Clear communication helps reduce misunderstandings and resolve conflicts among peers. It also makes employees engaged and loyal to the organisation.
9. Acknowledge & Appreciation
To feel appreciated is a fundamental human need. When you recognise employees, they feel good about themselves. It makes them feel that they’re actually making a difference to the business and you notice that. This, in turn, makes them want to contribute more, achieve their goals and stay with the organisation.
80 per cent of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews.
The way to enable this is through social recognition.
Social recognition allows for 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
Another way to improve the employee experience is by organising team building activities. Team building activities like outdoor games, ice-breaking sessions help to take the pressure off and reduce stress among employees. And its need is paramount in high-pressure jobs like real-estate and finance jobs.
It encourages teamwork, strengthens the relationship between peers and even with leaders. It also allows employees to communicate and 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 insight into the work culture, behaviour of employees, management issues and so on.
It is important to maintain a good relationship with your 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’ll provide you constructive criticism for why they are really leaving your company.
A good and positive employee experience will eventually impact your retention rates.
Employee experience goes far beyond the list of benefits you can provide to your employees. Rather, it is an integration of benefits, physical environment, values and your company’s culture. It is the factors that will make your employees want to come to work every day.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement