Like much HR jargon, Employee Experience is not a term that is easily understood; it’s not simple nor straightforward. Recently it’s become increasingly important, emerging as a top priority for HR and Business Leaders in the face of fierce talent competition. But what do we mean by “Employee Experience”? And, more importantly, how do we improve it?
Traditionally, the employee experience is the way a person perceives everything in their employee journey at an organisation. This spans across process, technology, social and physical landscapes.
It’s the way a person feels as a result of how they are treated in their job: the first day on the job to the last, access to technology, culture, mentorship, onboarding process, training, reviews, social activities… you get the point. Everything that occurs in the lifestyle of an employee, viewed from the Employee’s experiential lens.
Improving Employee Experience does not need to be a mammoth task, in fact, it can simply start with many small process changes that add up to an overall great experience for employees.
“Employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your company”
e.g. The way a new hire feels after their onboarding process would be an indicator of their employee experience up to that point.
The employee experience is essentially about all the little details.
Getting these details right, consistently and with input from employees, is the best strategy to improving their experience. Being able to systemise and codify processes, iterate and then receive feedback on changes allows you to continually improve.
As an ongoing journey the experience is not static, it’s subject to daily variation. This is a good thing, as it means there is always an opportunity to improve this pivotal aspect of an organisation.
The importance of Employee Experience: Why?
A good Employee Experience is good for business.
“companies that invest in EX outperform the ones that don’t by 4.2x”
Employee experience drives both a company’s culture and individual performance. Improvements in the Employee’s experience can drive engagement, reduce performance ramp up time, lower attrition and contribute to organisational effectiveness.
Studies show well designed employee experiences lead to greater levels of engagement, involvement, enthusiasm and employer brand commitment. In fact, Gallup released research proving a correlation between higher employee engagement and profitability.
Understanding before improving: hacking E.X. with feedback
For HR and Business leaders, the first step towards improving the Employee Experience (E.X.) is using feedback to hack into the employee’s perspective. Rather than designing an experience without comprehending the end user’s perception, HR can avoid guesswork by using employee feedback as a navigating tool to continually optimise and improve E.X.
Gathering and analysing feedback is critical to an employee experience strategy, in designing your feedback approach you can start with these three touchpoints:
- Onboarding: collecting feedback from first impressions on day 1, and then again at the end of the first week, with targeted questions around expectations during recruitment compared to experience, areas of assistance and hypothetical changes
- Check-ins: gathering feedback during check-ins throughout the year, in a continuous feedback fashion, can provide great insights into the E.X. picture
- Offboarding/Exit: Asking for feedback from employees who voluntarily leave the organisation can provide valuable insights into the employee experience causes behind attrition
The important thing is to start collecting the data, to enrich the employee experience story. By collecting data at every stage, you can understand the impact of your improvements and continue to optimise.
The focus should be on gathering feedback around the problems you are trying to solve, for example is there a long ramp up time for new team members? Maybe onboarding and post-onboarding collection points would be useful. Disengaged long-tenure employees an issue? Regular check in’s could be a good starting point, following up with some strategic alignment through goal setting.
Importantly, feedback loops are most useful when used to identify the underlying roots of much larger symptoms, such as high attrition. To do this, a framework to analyse the feedback is imperative. Whether you use digital tools, like sentiment analysis, or other data aggregation and transformation methods, HR has a responsibility to present feedback data in a way that provides insight and drives strategy.
Once feedback data has been collected and analysed, trends highlighted around different processes and E.X. factors within the business can be used to formulate strategy. At this stage, it’s imperative for HR to look for the quick wins, whilst still addressing underlying deeper challenges through a longer term lens.
Onboarding feedback: “I didn’t know who to ask for technical help with certain systems, and was nervous to ask the busy IT team.”
Example Solution 1
- Quick win – Ask managers pre-onboarding to write a list for IT system assistance that is given to starters.
- Long term – create a digital directory of system responsibility that can be searched and updated by employees.
Engagement feedback: “I would like more training, but it doesn’t seem as if this is a priority of my manager and I’m not sure where to go.”
Example Solution 2
- Quick win – Make requests for training as easy and visible as possible by asking for them in manager check-ins.
- Long term – automate reminders that prompt managers and employees about training needs, build a self service training request portal.
The real how of making these changes lies in being able to systemise them and record feedback to continually adjust your improvements. Without processes that are systemised, you are exposed to human error and half-completed tasks. It also becomes difficult to attribute feedback to improvements.
Importantly, after implementing a change that will impact the employee experience HR should collect feedback around the changes. This allows you to measure improvements and provide leadership with concrete evidence that your new strategy is working.
- Employee experience is a person’s journey throughout an organisation, and is a focus for HR strategy in 2019.
- Use feedback to understand and identify areas of the employee experience that could be improved.
- Design a ‘quick-win’ and long term strategy, then ensure to measure the impact.
Improving your employee experience is about doing a whole lot of little things right, consistently. This is where a system can help you drive your strategy. Find out more here.