How to Engage Throughout the Employee Journey

By: ITA Group
Group of employees writing on a whiteboard in a meeting

To successfully recruit, retain and foster advocacy among your top talent, it’s increasingly important to engage people throughout each stage of their journey with your organization—from attraction to retention to exit. When you create a consistent employee experience that fosters engagement, job satisfaction and productivity, you create a culture talented people want to be a part of.

Here’s a closer look at key considerations to account for when optimizing and reinforcing consistency throughout your organization’s employee experience:

  • It starts with attraction: A company’s employer brand sets the tone across the organization and communicates why the company is an attractive place to work. It also sets you apart from other companies competing for the same talent. Ensure your organization has a positive, defined brand image that is clearly articulated to your existing employees so that you can leverage their advocacy to help you attract the kind of talent you want.
    • Ways to show support:
      • Formalize your employee advocacy program by giving guidelines for how you want your brand to be socialized by employees and, ideally, providing them tools and resources to create alignment with external branding efforts.
      • Encourage, recognize and reward employee referrals for potential new hires to ensure they’re advocating on your brand’s behalf.
  • Next is recruiting talent: It’s important that your future employees have great candidate experiences and first impressions of your organization. To help them have a great experience (and want to begin their experience in the first place), pay close attention to your organization’s recruiting practices and application process. A complicated hiring process can drive applicant drop-out rates up by introducing complications like an unnecessary length of time to complete their application, a poor interview experience or a lack of timely responsiveness.
    • Ways to show support:
      • Make sure your recruiter is accountable to agreed timelines and attentive to your candidates.
      • Tout value-added benefits during the recruitment process.
      • Collect candidate feedback to identity areas of strength and opportunity.
  • Once talent is hired, it’s about providing an optimal onboarding experience. Often, companies start off strong on day one but support drops off rapidly from there. To increase consistency during the critical first year for a new hire, have a plan in place for how you will engage, support and demonstrate the credibility of the employer brand image that drew them to your organization in the first place. One study found that 77% of new hires met or exceeded their first performance milestones when they had a formal onboarding process while only 49% of employees did so in companies without formal onboarding.
    • Ways to show support:
      • Arm new hires with a comprehensive employee packet and onboarding curriculum, as well as access to information portals that will help simplify getting answers to their lingering questions.
      • Offer opportunities for social networking and consider a new-hire welcome ambassador program to foster immediate connection between new hires and peers.
      • Adopt a formal mentorship program to reinforce a culture of ongoing development, coaching and support.
  • After onboarding, focus on enabling people to become their best work versions of themselves by connecting with each other—and your organizational goals, purpose and vision—in a variety of ways.
    • Ways to show support:
      • Leverage ongoing communications to create unity across messages shared and initiatives offered and also bring visibility to everything your organization has to offer employees. 
      • Foster an environment where people are involved (or encouraged to participate) in cross-functional teams, volunteerism, enterprise-wide events, informal department ceremonies, creative think tanks, annual and quarterly celebrations of success … the possibilities are endless. The types of activities you offer should be strategically linked to brand message to create alignment and consistency.
      • Create alignment across your organization regarding the behaviors you feel are critical for employees to demonstrate and create ways to recognize, reward and reinforce these desired behaviors to support ongoing engagement.
  • While enablement happens (or should happen) on an ongoing basis, development should too, whether that’s through training, coaching, job shadowing, temporary job reassignment, mentorship, individual development plans, performance reviews and more. Given the disruptive state of business today, employee’s most valued development programs offer opportunities for upskilling and reskilling in addition to the standbys of career advancement or promotion within the company.
    • Ways to show support:
      • Train the trainers, first; too often, front line leaders don’t know how to develop their teams. Explain to them coaching best practices, creative ways to leverage their talent and ideas for how they can develop their own emotional intelligence so that they can cater to individual team member personalities and motivations.
      • Offer opportunities for employees to set and reach development goals and provide them with training to help them stay fulfilled in their role (and stay with your organization).To create added motivation, consider using rewards and incentives  for employees of all tenure levels that are tied to finding creative solutions, streamlining operations and performing at the highest levels.

Develop a Strategy That Supports the Employee Journey

To compete in today’s increasingly complex world of talent management, an organization’s ability to develop a holistic employee experience that is compelling and consistently experienced throughout an employee’s journey is critical to driving retention and employee advocacy.
If you only take away three things, remember these tips when evaluating how you can enhance the journey for your employees: 
  1. Communicating effectively—Like many organizations, you likely have multiple employee engagement programs running at your organization, but do your employees know about them and do they understand why they are valuable to them? Your organization should be able to tie your employee programs to business value, results and your overall brand message. To consider really differentiating your message and ensuring it connects with all employees, consider add sensory elements to the way you communicate to your people. .
  2. Reinforcing positive behaviors—Many employees are motivated by receiving timely, positive feedback about their work. Organizations tend to do this well at the start with a new hire but may drop off over time. If employees are consistently being recognized for a job well done and receive rewards to further enhance the drive to succeed in their roles, they will likely continue to behave in ways that benefit the organization as well as their own professional growth.
  3. Measuring resultsDevelop a measurement plan that aligns your employee experience strategy with your larger organizational objectives. Map out your employee journey and evaluate the touchpoints where satisfaction is high and accomplishing goals and where it isn’t, too. Then act on what you learn. If your efforts are working, great—but if not, identify actions to take based on what the data (and your people) tell you.

Focus on the Journey and the Rest Will Follow

Ultimately, if your employees are living and breathing your brand, they pass that advocacy on to your customers. By mapping your employees’ journeys and focusing on communication, reinforcement and measurement, you’ll see a domino effect on improving the customer experience, reaching business goals—and increasing the bottom line. For more tips on ensuring a seamless employee experience every time, check out our post on the critical touchpoints you don’t want to skip.

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ITA Group

ITA Group custom-crafts engagement solutions that motivate and inspire your people. ITA Group infuses strategies that fuel advocacy and drive business results for some of the world’s biggest brands.