What is the definition of employee experience?
Employee experience is defined as the journey an employee takes while working for an organization, from their first day to their last. It comprises every touchpoint an employee has with the organization, from the process through which they're onboarded, to how they're managed, to the way they're incentivized to do their best work. The employee experience also includes all the perceptions that the employee has about their employer in every interaction.
Therefore, employee experience entails the pragmatic, emotional, and motivational aspects of one's position in the workplace. If any of these aspects are unfulfilled or misaligned, the employee experience is less than ideal — and that can increase the likelihood of attrition or poor productivity.
Why does employee experience matter?
An organization's employee experience can make or break its ability to attract and retain top talent. Today, workers are more conscientious and discerning than ever before. And in an increasingly global workforce, competition is high. The best candidates can easily find a new job if their current experience is unsatisfying.
Plus, a good employee experience lays a strong foundation for continued growth and productivity. When workers feel integrated, appreciated, and knowledgeable, they're more likely to do their best work. Everything from the ease of onboarding to how great performance is assessed and rewarded can impact their morale and aptitude in their role.
How can HR build, create, and design the best employee experience?
While Human Resources has traditionally prioritized efficiency, the secret to creating an excellent employee experience is to focus on human experiences, over process. Workers are not machine parts. To help them mesh with the overall team and embrace your organization's values, you must nurture their passions, preferred work style, and strongest skillsets.
Generic onboarding, confusing payroll structures, and apathetic management all send clear signals to good workers that their efforts are not being accurately assessed or compensated — let alone appreciated. To perceive an opportunity for growth and fulfillment, they need to see that their position is well managed. That entails customized onboarding, mentorship from a workplace leader (as opposed to being micromanaged or arbitrarily judged), and a strong workplace culture that encourages all employees to embrace the organization's values and mission.
What is an employee experience strategy?
A great employee experience is not something that can be wished into existence. It requires a careful strategy encompassing cultural alignment, predictive analytics, behavioral economics, and more. To develop this strategy, organizations must first take inventory of their internal metrics and insights gleaned from both their employee data (e.g., retention and employee turnover rates), as well qualitative feedback from employee engagement surveys.
From the moment an employee signs their contract to the day they exit the organization, their experience should be seamless and supportive. They should be given the oppotunity to be heard through regular employee engagement and employee relations efforts from their managers and the organization's HR department.
In addition, your employee experience strategy must reduce gaps between talent and compensation, effort and assessment, motivation and opportunity, and specific needs and logistics.
How can HR leaders measure and improve the employee experience?
The simplest way to assess your employees' satisfaction is to ask them. Post-onboarding and exit surveys capture their attitudes at the start and end of their position. However, HR departments can also roll assessments into regular check-ins throughout employment. Too often, employees receive performance reviews with little to no chance to provide their own feedback. By regularly collecting employee opinions, HR leaders can create a two-way street that engenders trust and identifies opportunities for growth.
That also yields valuable data on how the employee experience can be improved. Do employees feel appreciated in their position? What are their goals for advancement? How productive do they feel with the available schedule and technology? All those factors and more affect each employee's likelihood for retention and satisfaction in their role.
If it proves challenging or resource-intensive to manually assess your workplace's efficiency and satisfaction, there are plenty of employee experience platforms to help save you time. For example, 15Five collects employee surveys, performance reviews, and goal management in one place. Using an empoloyee engagement tool like that will allow managers to assess organization's objectives and values alongside your team's motivation and productivity. When taken together, these qualitative data sets provide invaluable feedback that can help you improve the overall employee experience.
What is a Voice of Employee (VoE) program?
You cannot fix problems if you don't know what they are. That's where a Voice of Employee (VOE) program comes in. It requests and collects employees' opinions in a regular, structured, and transparent manner, allowing them to feel a sense of participation and acknowledgment. This, in turn, helps the overall employee experience as workers perceive that their feedback is going toward real change.
By contrast, simply collecting employee feedback in a dropbox or implementing an "open door" policy may be limiting. If employees are concerned about retaliation or feel that their comments will simply be ignored, they're less likely to give valuable insights into your workplace's productivity and morale. A VoE program not only reduces the barriers to employee feedback but also encourages it. And once those opinions are voiced, it's possible to create an employee experience that boosts retention and morale.
What can employees expect from employers?
Today's employees are resistant to anything that may be perceived as disingenuous or exploitative. To overcome this objection and ensure employee loyalty, you must demonstrate your commitment to employees' well-being and growth potential.
One of the top concerns for most employees is "work–life balance." No one wants to feel a division between their career and their home life. That's why flexible schedules, PTO, and parental leave have become so popular. However, the methods aren't as important as the perception that workers need not sacrifice their humanity for their employers. A little flexibility and compassion go a long way toward creating a sustainable employee experience.
Also, employees expect detailed feedback from their managers — and they incorporate that feedback into their career decisions. Even if your organization employs exceptional talent, never assume that they'll stick around if you're not honoring their progress and empowering their goals for professional growth. The easiest way to retain your top talent is to cultivate robust, consistent feedback that appreciates their work for your organization.
The benefits of a great employee experience
When done right, a great employee experience means that your team will fully embrace their role, perform with their greatest morale, and remain with your organization as they pursue opportunities for growth. Often, that means you'll save money in the long run. The more engaged and motivated employees feel, the more likely they are to pursue growth with your organization.
That not only spares you the cost of turnover but also helps you promote productivity. Imagine if your employees could work four-day workweeks — and still accomplish as many tasks and achieve enough revenue to grow your business. Moreover, they'd be able to deliver more, which would amplify your profits and allow you to pay your best workers more money for less work. If they're effectively leveraging their talents to generate revenue in less time, it's win–win for both of you: they are earning generous compensation for their talent while you're reducing your overhead costs.
That, in a nutshell, is the benefit of a streamlined, impactful employee experience.
Wrapping up why a great employee experience is so important
In summary, never underestimate the importance of nurturing and motivating your workforce. Employees who feel underappreciated, undermeasured, and undercompensated are more likely to leave — and that can cut into your revenue and brand success. Investing in your employees' efficiency, growth potential, and wellbeing has a tremendous ROI as those employees are more likely to perform efficiently, stay in their position, and go beyond — thereby improving your organization's bottom line and more than fulfilling your payroll and expenses.
It's always better to prioritize your team's humanity and nurture their growth. Be willing to hear their feedback and compensate them for their talents, and you'll often find that it's much easier to grow your revenue for less expenditure. That's because people are who grow your brand. And it all starts with an amazing employee experience.
More Employee Experience Content for Leaders
Explore this free, on-demand webinar 'Trends Shaping Employee Experience' to learn even more on how to create a great employee experience for your organization.