If you have a business, you understand the importance of customer experience. But companies often forget about their most important asset- their employees. Fortunately, they are now shifting the focus to employee experience. Companies now understand that in order to provide a good customer experience, they first need to provide a better employee experience.
Or in the words of the great Sir Richard Branson,
Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.
Employee experience or EX is not a linear process. It begins as early as when an employee applies to your organisation and continues until they have become alumni. It comprises of the entire journey an employee undergoes when they are associated with an organisation. EX encompasses everything that an individual feels, observes and goes through while working.
An individual’s employee experience is affected by their physical environment, relationship with peers and managers, work-life balance, the tools they have to work and more. It involves recruiting, onboarding, skill development, feedback, exiting and becoming alumnis. And everything in between these different stages.
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 individual’s values and beliefs. Therefore, it is important to provide your employees with a wholesome experience.
80 percent of HR and business leaders in Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends survey said that employee experience was “important” or “very important” to them.
A 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 wouldn’t mind going the extra mile to achieve their goals.
Organisations 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 organisations in attracting and retaining top talent.
9 Strategies For A Great Employee Experience
When you create a product for your customers, you don’t just assume what they want and create it, do you? You do the necessary research to understand their needs. So, when you’re trying to deliver a great employee experience, asking them what they want can help. Your organisation might have different needs, but here are some of the timeless and proven strategies to provide a great employee experience-
Easy Application Process
Since employee experience begins before an employee even joins your organisation, it’s important to provide a good experience early on. You can start with having a hassle-free application process which makes the initial interaction with your company easier. It shows 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.
Effective Onboarding Programs
An employee joins your organisations with aspirations and expectations. So, it’s a disappointment if you can’t keep up with what you promised during recruitment. Great onboarding programs help the employee familiarize with the company’s culture and values. These enable employees with their day-to-day responsibilities, improve communication among peers and build relationships with their leaders.
It is important that you provide a clean and safe environment to 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.
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 free exchange of suggestions and ideas.
Robust Internal Communication
This can be the most important aspect of providing an engaging employee experience. As the old adage goes, communication is key. Clear communication helps reduce misunderstandings and resolve conflicts among peers. It also makes employees engaged and loyal to the organisation.
Feedback is an integral part of providing a positive employee experience. 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 percent of HR leaders say that annual performance reviews aren’t an accurate description of employee performance.
Acknowledge & Appreciate
To feel appreciated is a fundamental human need. When you recognize employees, they feel good about themselves. It makes them feel that they’re actually making a difference in the organisation and you notice that. This, in turn, makes them want to contribute more, achieve their goals and stay with the organisation.
Social recognition allows a faster and continuous exchange of recognition between peers and their leaders. This makes the employee journey for an individual meaningful and memorable.
In fact, 80 percent of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews.
Team Building Activities
Another way to improve the employee experience is by organizing team building activities. And its need is paramount in high-pressure jobs like real-estate and finance jobs. Team building activities like outdoor games, ice-breaking sessions help to take the pressure off and reduce stress among employees.
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.
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. If you have a good relationship with employees from the beginning, they’ll be far more likely to provide constructive criticism when and if they leave.
By doing so, you’ll create a good impression on your employee telling that you want to be on good terms with them. In turn, they will associate your company culture with positive employee experience.
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 accumulation of benefits, physical environment, values and your company’s culture that makes them want to come to work everyday.