Human resources have always been a critical aspect of any organization. Whether big or small, employees are a company’s bloodline. Without them, business goals cannot be achieved. And to nurture an organization’s human resources, various employee engagement strategies are put into place.
However, focusing on employee engagement is not enough to ensure a positive employee experience. Read on to understand what the employee experience is, how it benefits your business, and, ultimately, steps you can take to ensure positive employee experiences across your organization.
Defining Employee Experience
In the past, employees weren’t given much attention. Organizations would only provide pay and remuneration as required by law. After all, from a business perspective, a worker is only good for their talents, skills, and ability to get the job done. But due in large part to historic events, such as The Great Resignation, more and more organizations have begun to understand that it’s crucial to value, empower, and recognize their human resources.
Investments are now being made to cater to employees’ well-being. This may include additional healthcare packages, or allotting a budget for in-house clinics and medical practitioners. Alternately, organizations may plan and offer financial resources for team-building activities, training, and individual professional development. Lately, one of the most popular HR initiative that businesses are looking into is the integration of effective, diverse, and personalized employee experience strategies.
Employee experience is the totality of an employee’s experience with a particular employer. IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Workhuman Research Institute collectively define it as, “a set of perceptions that employees have about their experiences at work in response to their interactions with the organization.”
This culmination of experiences starts when an employee applies for a role, and continues through the selection process, onboarding, and tenure of employment. The employee experience officially comes to a close during the offboarding process – when the employee ends their contract with the company.
Because different cultures, processes, and business expectations have varying impacts on employee interactions, it is clear that employee experience differs not only from one organization to another, but between colleagues as well.
To be clear, an employee experience comes from more than a workplace bonus, or a remote working setup to accommodate an employee’s lifestyle changes. Rather, companies can impact the employee experience in many ways, like by investing in a new communication platform so internal messages get streamlined, or arranging private transportation due to pandemic-related travel and public transit restrictions.
The previously-mentioned employee engagement strategies only scratch the surface of improving an employee experience. While increased engagement can boost an employee’s morale and even positively influence workplace productivity, the employee experience goes beyond engagement, embedding memories and feelings that only an organization can provide.
In short, an employee experience is a legacy that is created through business leaders’ initiatives to nurture their organization’s greatest asset.
Benefits of a Positive Employee Experience
As stated, a successful employee experience goes beyond boosting employee morale, encouraging employee engagement, or increasing employee satisfaction. Here are some of the positive organizational impacts of a positive employee experience.
Battle Talent Shortages and Reduce Turnover
Nowadays, organizations have a hard time attracting talent to work with them. But by implementing effective employee experience strategies, attracting candidates for a job position becomes much smaller of an issue.
The first way to build a talent pool is to invite existing workers to share their positive employee experience. This not only encourages new talent to join the team, it actively reduces turnover – the number of employees who leave an organization, whether voluntary or involuntary, within a specific period.
The hiring process is a tedious and costly business undertaking, and a strong, positive employee experience can help keep workers engaged and productive in the work they do.
Build a Collaborative Environment for Employees
Organizations that value their employees and work to provide a positive employee experience will naturally responsive employees who are excited about work. With this natural inclination towards positivity, employees are more likely to see other colleagues as teammates, empowering a collaborative work environment. Such collaboration can lead to employees feeling more comfortable and satisfied with their work environments.
Communicate Faster and More Clearly
One of the domino effects of having employees who feel comfortable with their environment is better communication. Communication plays a critical role in achieving both short- and long-term goals, and enriches cultural diversity, professionalism, and mutual respect in the workplace. The importance of better communication has been consistently highlighted since the onset of the pandemic. This emphasis on communication can be prioritized not only through effective communication strategies and platforms, but the active participation and engagement of employees.
Improve the Relationship Between Employer and Employee
When people communicate better, greater relationships are forged. Employees often become unmotivated or overwhelmed with the technicalities of their involvement in an organization. For example, no employee wants to sit down for three hours in a meeting (which could have been an email) and then get bombarded with tasks that are due in a flash. With better communication, employees can better organize their time and efforts during their stay in the organization. And as a bonus, better communication allows employers to support their human resources in a manner that directly influences their success – and the overall employee experience.
Achieve Optimal Performance Management
Streamlined and sensible processes are crucial to ensuring efficiency and effectiveness around business operations, as well as a more positive employee experience. Improvements may include introducing avenues for skill development, thereby allowing employees to advance their own professional interests and improving their experience at work.
Empowering an Engaging and Long-Lasting Employee Experience
Employee experience matters, from start to finish. As such, empowering an engaging employee experience must keep the employee’s beginning and ending at the company in mind.
1. Establishing a clear, consistent, and caring recruiting process
In the first stage of the hiring process, communication is the key. Job postings must be accurate and understandable to swiftly weed out unqualified applicants. Be consistent when interacting with the candidates – after all, you never know which of them will end up working at your organization. This is where it is crucial to follow up with candidates and schedule responses to avoid disruptive communication. Last but not least, remember that each candidate is a human being with feelings, goals, and skills, and treat them as such. This can be the difference between a positive starting employee experience and a negative one.
2. Placing importance on onboarding
The onboarding timeline is the transition a newly-hired employee experiences before finally integrating themselves into the workforce. In these moments, the HR department both provides information and makes the employee feel welcomed. This is where company leadership and teams can contribute: by creating a welcoming and open environment in the first weeks, the organization guarantees a memorable, informative, and engaging onboarding experience that an employee will not soon forget.
3. Investing in Professional Development
In an organization, stagnation should never occur. Let’s face it: nobody wants to be stuck in the same place as where they started. As such, informing new hires about potential career progressions will allow them to see a future they can fit into. In addition, providing avenues for learning new skills, reinforcing knowledge, and even accessing resources for learning can give your employees a lasting impression of growth.
4. Embracing Honest and Objective Exit Interviews
No organization wants to see its talent leave. However, there might be certain factors – such as better working situations, greater pay, or fewer work hours – that can influence an employee to resign.
Unlike performance reviews, one-on-ones, or pulse surveys, exit interviews provide a better chance of obtaining accurate and significant information. Although these interviews can be emotional roller coasters for both employer and employee, they encourage employees to share previously-restrained thoughts about work, managers, and colleagues, and how the company might improve the overall employee experience.
Empowering a positive employee experience can be tedious, time-consuming, and downright difficult. However, it can be the difference between a disengaged and mediocre workforce, and a culture of high-performing, motivated, inclusive, and collaborative human resources.