Just like the customer experience, the employee experience is key to attracting, retaining and delighting your team members. It is the sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organization—every employee interaction, from the first contact as a potential recruit to the last interaction after the end of employment.
As organizations look to put more time and money behind a stronger employee experience strategy, it’s easy to get distracted by “feel good” tactics like a gym membership or a foosball table. While these can make employment more fun and enjoyable, focusing on the critical touchpoints of the employee experience found below can have a profound impact for your employees and your culture.
Employment Brand Awareness
A great employment brand doesn’t just increase the potential applicant’s awareness of the organization. It goes one step further and informs them about the practices and strategy that make you a good place to work. Whether you’re able to get employees to tell their stories or making the latest great-place-to-work list, getting people to talk about your organization’s vision, values and culture has become an essential element in building a strong employment brand.
Employees spreading positive reviews about their work has a significantly higher impact than the organization spreading the word that it's a great place to work. The popularity of websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor make it easy for employees to share this information, and also makes it easier for prospective employees to assess the daily experiences at a company they’re considering. Ensuring that you have a strong—and authentic—employer brand in place will make your employees proud that they're a part of the organization and help create consistent feedback on these sites. The bonus for you? Decreased hiring and marketing costs while simultaneously drawing in stronger candidates.
Onboarding Early (and Thoroughly)
A survey by Korn Ferry found that 90% of executives said retention of new hires was a major issue with 10–25% leaving within the first six months. With looming deadlines and fast-paced changes, taking the time to make a new team member feel welcome—especially prior to their actual start date—can often be overlooked.
Your company’s most valuable asset is your people and they should feel that even prior to accepting the position.
Create a helpful and engaging onboarding experience that begins as soon as candidates accept your job offer. Prior to their first day, consider reaching out with welcoming messages such as videos of current employees, an introduction to some of the social benefits you offer or provide recommendations for somebody who is relocating on places to live, sites to see or restaurant recommendations.
When the new hire arrives for their first day, be sure they are personally introduced to their coworkers, provide them with any necessary training materials and designate a point of contact who will be readily available to answer questions. (Note: The guide shouldn’t be their boss, it can feel intimidating to ask simple questions like building navigation when also learning your new job functions.) Having people stop, recognize and celebrate each hire reminds everyone that it’s not only business milestones that are important, gaining a new teammate is an important achievement for the company, too.
A strong onboarding process introduces new employees to all aspects of your culture and at the same time encourages new hires to create cross functional relationships with each other which will help them become oriented and grow throughout their journey with the company.
Events & Gatherings
When culture teams think about employee experience and employee engagement, there is typically an eye toward allowing for some fun but not distracting too much from the needs of the business.
But, just think—what could you gain if you pull your team away from their desks and get them outside the office and out of their comfort zone? Would the additional creativity, energy and social connection you create compensate for time away from the desk?
Organizations can boost customer engagement by offering unique experiences. The same is true for employee experience. And an event is perfect for bringing team members together to innovate, relax (if that’s the purpose), socialize and get to know one another on a more personal level. But remember: know your purpose before you go so you can set appropriate expectations and tone.
Transparency makes employees feel valued, and encourages them to be creative and share their input. It also fosters a type of comfort that allows employees to communicate effectively and, in turn, progress. When an organization is more transparent with their employees they tend to be more successful.
Employees want to know what drives the company they are working for, what its long term goals are and how they will be involved in achieving these objectives. Communication and transparency across all levels of management are what foster this trust and determine the degree of discretionary effort that comes with a high level of engagement.
A growing body of research validates the need for this transparency in today’s workforce. SHRM’s 2017 Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey identified “Management’s communication of organization’s goals and strategies” as a key factor, with a 45% importance in the overall employee engagement strategy of a company, while “Trust between employees and senior management” registered 61% in importance.
Leaders need to make transparency about company goals, objectives and initiatives a priority. From the CEO down, transparency is a two-way communication street. By encouraging leaders to communicate effectively and make themselves available, employees will feel safer about being open and transparent with management.
Employee Resource Groups
When you create an environment where employees feel they can be themselves, it positions you as an organization that embraces diversity and inclusion. But it also drives business results—employees who feel engaged and supported are in a position to increase productivity.
Organizations have realized the business value and impact of employee resource groups (ERG) on organizational outcomes such as high employee engagement levels and customer experiences.
But ERGs have far reaching power in other ways, too; they empower diverse groups, develop leaders and can even create new business opportunities. As the scope and function of ERGs has grown, the opportunities for career development have grown along with it. Savvy, diverse candidates often seek out companies with ERGs.
No Time to Wait
Engaged employees work harder, contribute more to company culture and generally bring more enthusiasm to their roles. They also indirectly drive revenue. According to Gallup, highly engaged teams achieve, on average, a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales. On top of their direct contributions, happy employees also cut costs by sticking around longer. That’s huge, since it costs around 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them.
Employees impact your culture and your organization’s success, both directly and indirectly; whether they feel valued or invisible, motivated or discouraged, their attitudes will trickle down into their work, impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty. By proactively addressing your employee experience, you can take these concerns into account and offer peace of mind to new (and current) employees, thereby signaling your commitment both internally and externally.
Get ideas on how a holistic employee experience strategy can transform your bottom line.