Employees spend a good part of their day in the workplace, making it a significant aspect of their lives. In the past, the workplace was a place to earn money to make a living and nothing more. In recent times, employee experience has become pivotal.
One of the primary reasons is that the labor market landscape is changing. Employees want more than decent pay at the workplace. They expect to see growth in their careers, learn more, and find meaning in what they do.
This article will define employee experience and look at why organizations should focus on them. We will also look at some of their benefits and tips to improve the employee experience.
What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience is how an employee perceives all that happens to them in an organization during their lifecycle. The lifecycle of an employee begins with their first interaction with the company to the day they exit the company. The life cycle comprises four primary spheres.
The first interaction with any company is at the recruitment stage. It is the stage where the candidate/future employee can have their first glimpse of an organization’s culture, work environment, and values. Therefore is an essential part of an employee experience.
The onboarding process is a vital part of the employees’ experience. Here, they undergo their induction into the organization. Different employers have their unique methods of carrying out this procedure, but the primary aim is to make sure the candidate, now turned employee, can settle down well into their new workplace.
Retention and Growth
The growth and retention part of the cycle is when the employee is already in the organization. It’s about the employer maintaining the employee satisfaction levels to stay as long as possible and assist their growth within the organization.
This stage is the last aspect of the employee cycle and the last point of interaction between the employer and employee.
At the exit interview, it’s important to note their feedback – especially the employees who were unhappy during their time in the company. Doing this will help to improve the employee experience of the organization.
The four stages will define the employee’s experience while working for an employer.
Components of Employee Experience
According to a 2017 study by Jacob Morgan, there are three major components of an employee’s experience. These components are:
Technology at the Workplace
Technology is a part of most businesses today, with the internet providing a framework for the 21st-century workplace. Modern workplaces need to be equipped with the latest tech to improve productivity. Today, employees want features like a good user experience, up-to-date applications, and accessibility to the technology.
The Workplace Environment
The workplace environment deals with the office workplace arrangements, the design of the workplace, and infrastructure. How conducive the office is and the facilities will affect employee experience. We cannot limit the environment to only the physical workplace, as the pandemic has caused the rise of remote workers. This means employers are also in charge of maximizing the experience of remote workers.
Company culture tells of the business values, work-life balance, interactions among colleagues and managers. It is the most important of the three cores, as it dictates the working atmosphere of the organization.
Why Focus On Employee Experience?
It is necessary to focus on employee experience because it has become a key component for success in the current market. We will briefly look at three reasons to focus on employee experience.
A New Generation of Workers
As the era of baby boomers ends and the millennials form most of the labor force, the change in mindset is clear. Millennials don’t just want higher salaries, but want growth, progress, and meaning in their work. While the previous generations had few avenues to make money to survive, this generation has many options of earning money.
The invention of the internet has made it easy to make money through various means, like being a content creator, a freelancer, a freelance web developer, or starting an online business. Because of this, millennials need to know they are a part of the company. It isn’t just about earnings, but also about being fulfilled where they are working.
The best talents in the market today want to know what the companies can offer them. The move to an employee-centric market is a way for organizations to appeal to this new generation. Employee experience helps create an atmosphere of learning, improvement, and the well-being of employees. Factors they actively seek in employment.
Social media has become another pair of eyes looking at the activities of companies. A survey by Sprout Social revealed 78% of customers that had a positive experience on social media buy from them. This means the way the public perceives businesses matters.
A positive employee experience is a great way to show the public that your company is a great place to work, leading to more people patronizing you. Using social media to capture moments of a company culture that supports employee experience puts the company in the public’s good books and attracts talents.
Industry and Economic Volatility
Another reason you should concentrate on employee experience is in the end – these individuals are a company’s greatest asset. Focusing and investing in positive experiences will reinforce their stand for the company in times of uncertainty. Take, for example, the pandemic that occurred. If a company invested in their employees’ experience, it is easier to ask for their corporation. Taking a people-centric approach to achieve business goals sustains the company in the long run.
ROI Of Employee Experience
The ROI or returns on investments of employee experience are the benefits of investing in your employee. In this section, we discuss a few of them.
Increases Employee Engagement and Productivity
The same Gallup research also showed a 17% increase in employee productivity. Engaged employees are employees who feel like they are part of the organization. They invest their resources in achieving the organizational goals because they have the bigger picture of what it entails and therefore are productive.
Reduces Employee Absenteeism and Turnover
A report by Gallup showed engaged employees (employees who have a positive experience working in the company.) show a 41% reduction in absenteeism and have 59% less employee turnover. The report supports the notion that employees with positive experiences prefer to stay in an organization and are unlikely to fake an illness to call in sick.
Attracting talents is becoming difficult because of steeper competition for them. Investing in the experience of employees is an attractive feature most candidates want. The average candidate wants to work in a company where their employees are valued.
Improves The Company’s Profits
A study by Willis Towers Watson revealed a company with a high EX (Employee experience) saw a 4% growth in revenue, 3% growth in gross profit margin in a year, and 4% increase in 3-years gross profit margin compared to companies that had low EX. In simple terms, a high correlation exists between employee experience and a company’s profit.
Another study by IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and the WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute also came to the same conclusion. It found companies with high EX reports had almost three times the ROA (Return on assets) and twice the ROS (Return on sales) compared to companies with low EX.
Translate To Better Customer Service
Employee experience translating into customer experience isn’t a surprising one. Happy and fulfilled employees will work harder and be more productive, meaning customers will benefit from a positive employee experience.
A study review by IDU on their Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Employee Experience Management Strategies, 2021 showed that 85% of those surveyed agreed that an improved employee experience translated to improved customer experience.
Reduces Stress and Burnouts
Stress and burnouts are two of the most common occurrences at the workplace. Companies can mitigate this by investing in the well-being of the employees, which is a part of a positive employee experience. A CareerBuilder survey showed that 33% of employees reported they had high-stress levels, and a staggering 61% reported they feel burnout from their job. High-stress levels and burnouts cause employees to make mistakes, become unproductive, and harm the bottom line.
Tips To Improve Employee Experience Today
Since we have explained employee experience, why we should focus on it, and the ROI on employee experience, let’s look at some tips on improving your employees’ experience in your organization. In this section, we highlight six ways to improve your employee experience.
Create a Memorable Job Application and Onboarding Process
It is said that first impressions count. As such, the company’s first contact with a prospective employee marks the beginning of their employee experience journey. You should optimize the job application process for candidate experience as most candidates want timely information on their application progress and prefer a shorter interview process.
Onboarding is a delicate stage in an employee circle. It can easily dictate how the employee will perceive the company for the next few months. Focusing on a detailed and wholesome onboarding will help the employee experience. You can assign a mentor to learn from and direct their questions.
Take Regular Surveys and Be Open to Employee Feedback
Improving employee experience can only be done if both parties are open to suggestions. Anonymous surveys allow employees to open up about issues in the workplace. Surveys should not be the only place where an employee can give feedback, but also a suggestion box or a similar idea that allows employees to walk and give feedback.
Listening to feedback is one of two steps leaders should take. The next and most crucial step is acting on the feedback or communicating why you may not act on it at a point. The aim is to show your employees you are listening to them.
Be Open to Improving Existing Company Culture
Company culture consists of the values, norms, rules, and traditions enforced by management. The thing with culture is it can evolve for the better, and who better to see that it matures than the employees who experience it daily? Company culture can’t be stagnant and should change for the better. This will lead to an improved employee experience and overall synergy in the organization.
Create a Career and Development Plan for Them
Your employees want to know you care about them. A good way to show this is by developing a structured career plan. Let them know where they will be in the next 5-10 years with the company and help guide them. You can enroll them into the right training programs, workshops, or a mentor program to improve their performance.
Equip Them with the Right Technological Tools
In our technology-driven world, having the right tools improves workforce productivity. Equipping your employees with the market standard tools sends the message of supporting them to do their best. It empowers them and the company to compete in the market or industry.
It may sound a bit cliche to say, but it works. Organizing activities that help employees unwind and blow off some steam outside work is good for the company. Organizing game nights, panics, or dinners with employees of other departments can help break the ice between workers and improve the harmony of workers.
Appreciate and Acknowledge Employees
A study by Achievers showed 36% of employees felt a powerful reason to switch jobs was a lack of recognition. Appreciating those who deserve it by giving them credit allows the company to score some points on the employees. It can make for a pleasant experience to get recognized in front of others.
Employees prefer to be given credit on the spot as the buzz and filling of excitement dies off with time. Creating a recognition program that works will go a long way in improving your employee experience.
In conclusion, building and improving employee experience will require the full support of the management. It is not uncommon for management to look at it as a waste of investment. But it has many merits and proven research to show it is a worthwhile investment to make for a company.
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