Let’s start by looking at what employee experience isn’t:
- It isn’t new and improved HR. Rightfully, HR owns a big part of the employee experience. However, the total employee experience involves many other aspects of the organisational life - important interactions within the domains of IT, corporate facilities and internal communication.
- It isn’t employee engagement. Putting the employee’s total experience at the centre of HR efforts implies a very different and much more employee-centric approach than traditional employee engagement. Employee engagement is typically a once-a-year survey, checking “How do THEY (employees, red.) feel about what WE (top management, red.) are doing”, ie. a very top-down way of looking at employees. Sadly an approach that often ends with a report in HR’s drawer, delivering only a few actionable initiatives. And that’s how the circle continues year after year - to the great frustration of many employees.
- It is not about perks. Paid gym memberships or organic food in the canteen might very well be a part of well-designed employee experience, but those initiatives cannot stand alone. Employee experience is a much more strategic initiative, not just aiming at making a workday fun, but aligning and deliberately designing culture and work environments that provide the employees with the best prerequisites for performance.
What is employee experience in its essence then? Simply stated, according to John Plaskoff, the employee experience is the employee’s holistic perception of their workplace derived from all the encounters and touchpoints along the entire employee lifecycle.
3 easy ways start working with employee experience
1. Marketing departments have been designing customer journeys for quite a few years by now. Although a different relationship and value proposition exists between employers and employees than between a brand and its customers, marketing will still be able to provide you with a model for understanding, defining and designing such journeys. One that can be used as a strong starting point for working actively and strategically with the employee experience.
2. To consider a full life cycle for all of your employee-types can be a daunting task. Start with the moments that matter the most - the first day in a new job will most likely matter more than the second. Coming back from maternity and paternity leave is a vulnerable period for any employee. Changing manager can be stressful. Retiring and leaving the job market might be a bigger milestone for many than changing to a new company. Mapping these moments will give you an indication of where you need to put your initial efforts.
3. It’s tempting to view the employee journey as something only starting after a contract is signed. That’s not the case though. If employees have a negative impression dealing with the company even long before a contract is signed, it will have a detrimental impact on the entire employee lifecycle hereafter. Make sure to treat prospective employees to a world-class experience as this is really where the journey begins.
Customers won’t really love your company until your employees do
A well-designed employee experience leads to increased employee satisfaction, higher retention rate, a stronger brand image and ultimately to better customer experiences. Data shows the same; companies that invest in employee experience are four times as profitable as those who don’t (source: The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan, Wiley).
Can your company afford not to put employee experience on the strategic agenda?
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