Despite the various strategies employed by organizations around the world to keep their talent pools intact, more and more employees are leaving their jobs and even shifting careers to find greener pastures.
Yes, employee engagement strategies and performance management processes do contribute to a positive and welcoming work environment. But what truly sets an organization apart and encourages talent tenure is its ability to integrate holistic, personalized, and diverse employee experience practices.
In this new era of human resource management, employee experience has been recognized as imperative. What’s more, the pandemic has further highlighted its importance. Because employee experience is becoming the threshold for outstanding human resource practices, we’ll delve deeper into what employee experience is, the pillars of employee experience, and what can you do to improve it within your organization.
An Overview: What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience refers to the totality of an employee’s journey throughout their work cycle, including the experiences they’ve had from recruitment and onboarding, through development, retention, and exit.
As businesses continue to research and develop strategies that will flourish and keep their talent engaged and committed, improving employee experience is being regarded as an emerging business function, allowing organizations to understand what their employees think and feel during various touchpoints of their work lifecycle.
The Pillars of Employee Experience
In closing the gap between employee expectations and outstanding employee experiences, organizations must assess and understand the pillars that uphold the overall employee experience, and what each pillar stands for. This is done so businesses can create comprehensive, innovative, and effective strategies to optimize the employee experience.
Let’s take a look at these pillars to better understand what principles they each embody.
A great organization understands that what happens at the top, happens at the bottom. Without effective leadership, an organization can easily go astray. A commitment to outstanding leadership must be made not only with top-level management, but across lower-level leadership as well.
The accountability lies in CEOs, HR officers, and team supervisors. These officers must understand that employees rely on them for communication, feedback, and performance assessment. If an employee’s experience when interacting with supervisor is unpleasant, or the employee lacks direction as a result of minimal or nonexistent feedback, that employee’s actions won’t be as driven and aligned as the organization may hope.
The solution is to align leadership strategies with effective feedback and communication practices, presenting feedback with recommended action plans to influence participation and engagement from employees.
Experience Feedback Systems
An organization that works without trust and transparency will have difficulty performing effectively. Trust is essential for building proactive communication, which in turn creates a high-performing culture.
When capturing feedback, organizations cannot solely rely on annual employee surveys or quarterly appraisals. Instead, integrating employee surveys at every stage of the employee journey will help to reinforce a positive employee experience, and allow for continuous growth in both the employee and the way they are managed.
By implementing feedback-capturing systems, an organization can have a clearer understanding of what truly influences employee action, participation, and engagement. In fact, organizations can implement a system that rewards honest feedback, constructive criticisms, and problem-solving recommendations from their employees. This approach ensures the employee feels as if their voice is heard, valued, and integral to the organization’s accomplishments.
Engagement and Accountability
If top leaders and people managers are going to exercise accountability, they must be equipped with an understanding of employees’ feedback and the tools available to build action plans. Therefore, managers and team supervisors who have trouble understanding feedback and accepting criticisms can be offered guidance to incorporate their direct reports’ feedback into company and process growth and development.
Expansion and Scale
One thing that business leaders, HR managers, and team supervisors should take note of is that employee experience is never a one-time implementation. It is a program that must be front and center throughout each employee’s tenure at the organization.
An effective employee experience is flexible and innovative in response to the evolving demands of employees. Much like human resources, employee experience strategies can always develop based on real-time feedback.
Improving Employee Experience
There are countless strategies that an organization can use to improve its employees’ experiences. After all, each business operates according to its culture and internal diversity. The following guiding principles are available for HR managers and business leaders to craft their employee experience methodologies.
Support Efforts toward a Healthier and More Holistic Being
Now more than ever, health is a priority among employees. Beyond mandatory healthcare benefits, organizations can send out surveys and otherwise make an effort to understand what they can do to improve employees’ wellbeing.
An employee’s wellbeing doesn’t only revolve around the physical aspect of their body. It also encompasses psychological wellness, financial health, and overall support.
For example, businesses can send COVID-19 care packages or food relief packs, or provide the private transportation of employees from their houses to the office to minimize the risk of virus exposure that comes with public transportation.
Businesses can also enroll employees in telemedicine benefits. This integration in healthcare services allows patients to gain access to medical providers without having to leave their homes.
Make Work Meaningful and Purposeful
Employees nowadays aren’t as driven by salary rates and mandatory benefits. Instead, they are increasingly motivated by how their actions impact society, and how their work contributes to the overall success of the business.
Organizations would do well to understand the values that employees prioritize and what makes work meaningful to them. Transparent corporate efforts and the integration of social responsibility initiatives is a sure way to increase employee engagement and improve the overall employee experience.
Establish and Encourage Harmonious Employee-Manager Relationships
When it comes to accomplishing goals, an employee relies on their immediate manager or supervisor for directions. At the same time, managers are responsible for keeping the morale and the performance of the employees at an optimized level.
If there is friction between a manager and employee, deliverables and expectations from both parties will likely fall short. Here are some general tips that your organization can replicate to improve employee experience regarding manager-employee relationships:
- Provide directions and SMART goals.
- Open lines of communication to connect as needed.
- Build trust through honesty and transparency.
- Provide on-the-spot feedback.
- Listen to employee recommendations and act accordingly.
Create a Sustainable and Inspiring Work Culture and Environment
No employee wants to stay at a company that doesn’t provide them with an environment that supports, recognizes, and helps grow their talents. Aside from keeping the physical office neat and clean, spaces and working conditions that allow flexibility is becoming a top priority for employees.
Moreover, employees value a culture that recognizes diversity, respects personal boundaries, and provides them with an avenue for growth and development. A culture that embodies employees’ values will result in an optimal level of performance in an organization’s human resources.
Integrating employee experience into current HR initiatives may be overwhelming. But, when done right, the benefits will be well worth it. Not only will this integration positively impact the working culture and environment, it will lead to financial gains as well.
Always bear in mind that improving employee experience strategies greatly depends on your employees. In short, their feedback, criticisms, and recommendations matter.