The employee experience has received more scrutiny in the last two years. This includes all of an employee’s interactions throughout their employment lifecycle as well as their experiences with their job, workspace, manager and health.
Every brand designs a comprehensive customer experience as a priority. Yet, each organization prioritizes the employee experience in different ways. With the introduction of new technologies and changes in our society, we must pay more attention to how we operate in a fluid economy and why the experiences of employees have become more pertinent in today’s workforce.
This trend is so prevalent that job titles and divisions are being created to focus on the employee experience. We have long believed that it is critical to understand and prioritize the relationship between employee experience and engagement as well as performance.
Key Areas Affected by Employee Experience
Your HR team cannot develop and define the employee experience in a vacuum. It takes a village and requires collaboration and commitment from the C-suite down. The following are key areas influenced by employee experience.
Employee engagement is the degree to which employees feel connected to their organization. It is one of the priorities that emerges throughout the employee experience. Employee engagement is closely linked to turnover and how much effort people are likely to put into their jobs. Therefore, more organizations are recognizing the benefits of investing in employee engagement efforts. This includes many things and is closely connected to company culture. How emotionally connected an employee is to their job is directly related to their output and productivity.
The majority of job seekers now look for information about a firm on websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. However, they are looking beyond the job description and compensation package. The recruitment process has largely been flipped on its head. As a result, organizations must think more carefully about how to approach recruiting and the benefits that candidates expect. They often expect remote work options, paid time off, parental leave and a system of values that reflects their own. These elements are now foundational for understanding the employee experience today.
We are seeing more employees deciding to leave organizations early in their tenure. In fact, BambooHR discovered that in the first six months in a new job, 31% of individuals eventually depart. When it comes to retaining new employees, one needs a strong strategy that includes a formal onboarding procedure, which can have a significant impact on employee experience. To keep your new hires from feeling overwhelmed and confused, you can continue the onboarding process well into an employee’s first few months of employment, if not longer. Doing so allows workers to learn about the job, culture and expectations at their own speed, making it far easier for them to take in the information.
How to Improve Employee Experience
1. Focus on Company Culture
Maintaining positive social and professional interactions among employees and managers is essential for a positive employee experience. Employee experience is shaped by the relationships employees have with their boss, direct reports, co-workers and the company as a whole. Positive relationships result in a more productive and engaged workforce. On the other hand, negative relationships can lead to tension, conflict and, ultimately, disengagement.
There are a few key things that you can do to improve social and professional interactions among employees:
- Encourage open communication by promoting an environment where employees feel comfortable communicating with one another and with management. It is critical that they feel safe sharing information without fear of being reprimanded. Mutual trust is key.
- Foster a sense of community by helping employees feel like they are part of a larger team or family. This might include the use of employee resource groups or opportunities for employees to get involved in company-sponsored social causes. Also, it might include mentorship programs and, of course, initiatives that bring people together in ways that create more meaningful engagement and productive company culture.
- Recognize and reward success by showing employees that their hard work is appreciated. This could include public recognition, financial incentives or even a simple thank you (which is overlooked more than you think).
2. Refine the Onboarding Process
It is no secret that turnover can be costly for any organization. Not only does this involve the time and money invested in recruiting and training a new employee, but there may be disruptions in the daily function of the organization.
One way to help reduce the number of employees who leave within the first six months is to have a clear and concise onboarding process. You greatly reduce the risk of turnover when you are able to quickly orient a new hire and familiarize them with the company culture and expectations.
Here are a few things that you can do to refine your onboarding process:
- Be clear about what is to come and set realistic expectations for the role very early. This includes specifying what will be expected in terms of job duties and compensation—as well as overarching company values, policies and procedures.
- Ask new employees about their experiences with the onboarding process. This is a helpful strategy that will allow you to identify any areas that need improvement.
- Don’t get stuck. Many organizations are guilty of practicing “set it and forget it” when it comes to onboarding. Expectations and attention spans change as technology and communication channels change. Take time to audit your onboarding process to discover what is working and what needs improvement.
3. Embrace Flexible Working Ecosystems
The modern workplace has fundamentally changed. Employees want (and even demand) the flexibility to work where they are most productive. In order to meet the needs of your employees, you need to embrace flexible working conditions and arrangements. You should consider providing employees with opportunities to work remotely or use a hybrid work model. Also, you can offer mental health days, update your PTO strategy and set non-traditional hours of operations.
4. Offer Opportunities to Learn
Development is a key factor in the employee experience. When employees feel stagnant in their careers, they can quickly become disengaged. On the other hand, when employees are given opportunities to learn and advance their skills, they feel more engaged and valued. Encouraging professional development helps employees stay current in their field, learn new skills and feel like they are part of a larger team or family.
Here are a few things that you can do to provide opportunities for employee development:
- Host professional development workshops and bring in experts to lead workshops on topics relevant to your industry. Survey your employees to learn more about what they are looking for in a development program and what you should offer them.
- Encourage employees to pursue certifications and cover the cost of their pursuing relevant training. This will show them that you are invested in their development and career growth.
- Offer tuition reimbursement when employees take courses related to their job or field. This could be an online course, evening class or even a four-year degree program.
Online education and virtual training have exploded in popularity in recent years. Thanks to advancements in technology, employees can now receive training from anywhere in the world. This provides alternative pathways for employee development, helping employees stay updated on the latest trends in their field.
5. Be an Empathetic Leader
Empathetic leaders have a deep understanding of their employees and what they are experiencing. They are able to put themselves in their employees’ shoes and see things from
their perspective. This allows them to connect with employees on a deeper level and create a more positive employee experience.
Here are a few tips on how to be a more empathetic leader:
- Be authentic and don’t try to be someone you are not. Employees will appreciate your honesty and transparency.
- Be personable and get to know your employees through regular communication with them. This will help you understand them better and build mutual trust.
- Be approachable by making yourself available to employees. This could involve having an open-door policy and regular check-ins. Let employees know when you are available and when you are not.
- Respect boundaries. It’s important to respect an employee’s personal space and privacy. Only share information that is necessary and appropriate.
6. Supply Your Organization with Modern Tools
Employees need the right tools and resources to do their jobs effectively. In order for businesses to run smoothly, it is important to supply employees with the latest tools and resources. This could include anything from the latest software to state-of-the-art equipment. When employees have the tools they need, they can do their jobs better and be more productive.
Investing in the latest tools and resources shows that you are committed to employee success. It also shows that you are willing to invest in the growth of your business. This can have a positive impact on employee experience and help attract top talent.
7. Increase Sense of Belonging
When employees feel like they belong to a certain organization or team, they are more likely to feel connected to it. They are also more likely to be proud of their work and feel more invested in its success.
There are a few things that you can do to increase a sense of belonging in the workplace:
- Encourage employees to be themselves by letting them know that it’s okay to be personable at work. You should encourage them to bring their unique perspectives and backgrounds to the table.
- Create a sense of community. When there is regular social interaction in an organization, employees begin to feel like they are part of a community. This could involve organizing social events or starting employee resource groups.
- Recognize diversity by acknowledging and celebrating the different people and various cultures in your workforce. This includes race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation. However, it also recognizes the importance of appreciating different worldviews and alternative orientations and access to space for those who may need special accommodations.
8. Encourage Employee Feedback
Employee feedback is one of the most important components in any employee experience strategy. It is impossible to evaluate and improve your strategy if you don’t know or understand what your staff is thinking and feeling. It also provides employees with a voice and gives them a chance to be heard. Employee feedback should be encouraged at all levels of the organization, from frontline employees to senior leadership.
There are a few ways to encourage employee feedback:
- Make it easy to communicate. Employee feedback should be easy to give and receive. This could involve using an anonymous survey tool or setting up a dedicated email address for correspondence.
- Make it regular. Employees must be allowed to provide feedback on a regular basis. This could be monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Make it actionable. Employee feedback should be used to make changes in the workplace. This could involve anything from revising a policy to increasing communication.
Get More of the Tips You Need for Organizational Success
CPG Agency has been focused on helping organizations develop and advance their workforce for more than 35 years. We’re an experiential agency that produces engaging events and unique experiences for companies and employees around the world. Are you curious to know how we can support your priorities? Contact us to learn more about our Employee Experience Diagnostic.