In the advertising industry, it’s a well-known adage that you should always sell the experience, not the product. If you think about adverts or brands that you know and love and consider what you like about them, it will likely be emotive.
Advertising is all about customer experience. Advertisers make you feel good or offer something that you will improve the way you feel. This could be through enjoyment of an activity, such as a holiday, happiness through the luxury of a car, or the convenience of a coffee machine or appliance.
The same rules apply for employee experience. People will love to be a part of your organisation because of how it makes them feel.
That’s why it is so important to think about things such as processes and communication. Are you making them feel valued? Are you meeting their expectations and making life as easy as possible for them? Are you helping your workforce develop, and challenging them regularly?
As HR experts, you’ll be well-versed in these things and will know how to undertake each of these, but the challenge is, when doing so, to ask yourself two questions – why will they care, and how will it make them feel?
Complicating a process? It will make your people feel frustrated.
Forgetting to undertake performance reviews? They’ll likely feel undervalued.
Reduce learning opportunities or making them difficult to attend? They won’t feel challenged and able to grow.
So how can you improve the employee experience within your organisation? Here are some employee experience tips that all HR teams should know.
First, what exactly is employee experience (EX)?
Employee experience is all the interactions employees have with a company. It may seem obvious that employee experience is the experiences of employees in the workplace, but here's a refresher about the specific aspects that contribute to it.
EX begins before employees even join the company. It begins when they apply for a job, then covers recruitment, hiring, onboarding, training, development and career progression, retention, and finally offboarding when they leave the company - it's the entire employee life cycle.
Employee experience covers the how employees feel about:
- Company culture
- Their work itself
- Development and training
- The physical environment of the workplace
- Relationships with co-workers
- Relationships and trust in leadership and their employer
Although they sound similar, employee experience is different to employee engagement. While employee experience considers all the touchpoints that a worker goes through in the long-term employee lifecycle, employee engagement is a more short-term measure of how committed an employee is to their organisation and its goals. Employee engagement is an aspect of employee experience.
So why is employee experience important?
Employee experience has a direct bearing on productivity in the workplace. Glassdoor undertook a study that tracked the Best Places to Work and compared their performance with the S&P 500. The analysis showed that there was an obvious correlation between employee satisfaction and financial success, with all of the Best Place to Work outperforming the S&P by anywhere from 53 to 122%.
"Companies that invest in employee experience are 4x more profitable than those that do not," author Jacob Morgan writes in his book, The Employee Experience Advantage. Morgan argues that because employee experience motivates employees far more than money or other factors, focusing on employee experience can give employers a major advantage in the market.
It's also about employer branding. Being able to boast great employee experience makes companies far more attractive to an increasingly mobile workforce following the changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation. A good EX strategy can therefore also boost a company's image.
A good employee experience strategy benefits everyone. Focusing on employee experience is an investment that will pay off in productivity, profits, retention, and employee engagement.
So, as HR, how can you improve the employee experience within your organisation?
The onboarding process is an important part of employee experience. It's where they're getting to know a company and settling in, so first impressions matter.
It's important that employees have a positive experience of onboarding because this impacts the rest of their time within the company. For example, a good onboarding experience can improve a company's retention rate by up to 82%, according to Glassdoor.
So, HR should take steps to make sure that the onboarding process is as smooth as possible.
A buddy system for new hires can help them settle in and feel that they belong. Automating admin can mean that new employees can focus on the important things like training and getting to know their co-workers, line manager, or mentors.
Plus, frequent employee wellbeing check-ins from HR can make all the difference to a new employee's experience.
All these things will help employees quickly fit into the workplace culture.
Clear and open communications
Be sure to share company news, updates and announcements regularly so that all of your employees and volunteers are kept in the loop, regardless of where they are based or how often they work.
You may have different streams of communication for different people, or you may have a Company News page or intranet. Whichever way works best for your people, regularly update them on everything that’s happening.
Increase personal development and on-demand learning
If the Covid-19 lockdowns taught us anything it’s how quickly we can adapt to a change in working circumstances. Hopefully, you’ve seen the benefit of remote working and learning, and your people have been able to keep in touch easily throughout.
Not only is increasing personal development important for both employees and volunteers, but being able to offer on-demand, online learning will dramatically increase engagement. Upskilling is becoming increasingly necessary and regular learning helps us stay relevant and boost productivity in a quickly changing environment.
Your people might want to track their progress on training courses, log onto courses and look into how they can progress their career. They might want to see any internal vacancies that they could apply for or the skills that are required for certain roles they aspire to.
Providing this to them will aid them in developing themselves and will increase loyalty to your organisation for investing in them.
Develop Team Leaders and Managers
Many of employees' interactions at work will be with their team leaders and management. Employees are much more likely to be engaged at work when their managers are trustworthy and transparent.
Conversely, 57% of people leave a job because of their boss, according to new research.
Therefore, developing your team leaders and managers is crucial to improving your people's work experience. Try to identify any skills gaps, or performance trends and start there.
Digital employee experience is about the quality of employees' interactions with technology in the workplace.
If technology like your company's intranet helps employees in their day-to-day tasks, or mobile HR software makes it easier for them to do admin, this is great for workers' job satisfaction. On the other hand, using outdated technology or no tech at all for tasks that could be easily automated leads to a more frustrating worker experience.
Simplify and regulate processes
Employees' work feels more meaningful when they can focus on their objectives rather than getting bogged down in time-consuming admin.
Create a regular review process and automate as much activity as possible to ensure everything is delivered to a high standard, on time. Simplify processes such as timesheets, leave and expenses by introducing self-service wherever possible. This will make processes feel more employee-centric.
7 out of 10 employees from highly automated companies say automation improves job satisfaction and increases time available for creativity and opportunities for advancement according to a study from Service Now.
Our HR and Payroll software can streamline HR processes, making life easier for both HR professionals and other employees.
Focus on company culture
Company culture has taken a hit because of the pandemic so it's more important than ever to focus on company culture as a way to enhance employee experience.
Post-Covid, companies may look different to how they were before. People might be working remotely or hybrid, so employees might not all be in the workplace together like before.
Still, there are ways that HR can enhance company culture. Events, socials, and check-ins can improve employee engagement. HR leaders should listen to feedback from workers about what they think could help improve company culture.
For those working from home, or semi-regular volunteers, you may find that there are occasions where they feel isolated from their team members. Use tools such as online chat, or host regular virtual events to reduce isolation and maintain a regular line of communication.
Try holding in-person, on-site events if possible to promote bonding and collaboration.
Check out our guide to improving employee experience by keeping your people motivated remotely.
How can you measure employee experience?
One simple way to get employee feedback is through surveys.
It's important to get input from people at every point in the employee life cycle. Even if they have only recently joined the company, it's vital to listen to new hires' thoughts on the onboarding experience in onboarding surveys.
HR professionals can also use a sentiment analysis or pulse survey to find out whether workers would recommend their organisation to others, which gives clues about employee experience.
Employee engagement surveys are another type of survey that is useful for analysing employee experience. These are surveys that specifically look at the relationship between an employee and the organisation they work for.
Questions might involve asking employees if they feel enthusiastic and competent at their work, whether they find it meaningful, whether they feel supported by coworkers and leaders, and whether their values align with those of their company and team.
Exit interviews are another valuable opportunity to learn about employee engagement and experience. The feedback of an outgoing worker is useful for creating employee experience strategies that will encourage future employee retention.
Unsure what questions to ask in an exit interview? Check out our list of questions that can help you get the most out of exit interviews.
Interviews and surveys are useful, but some of the best insights are data-driven.
HR data can provide real-time insights about employee performance, attendance, absenteeism, employee turnover, and well-being - all things that can give HR professionals clues about employee experience.
An important aspect of performance management, performance reviews are also an opportunity to get one-on-one feedback from staff on their employee experience. Because employee experience is closely linked to performance, appraisals are useful for finding out more. Plus, having a good performance appraisal strategy can help employees feel valued by their employers.
At the end of the day, it's often employees who have the best insight about what would improve their employee experience. Consequently, if your HR department is serious about employee experience management, listening to people at all points in the employee journey is the place to start.
And while it's important to listen to the experiences of employees, it's even more vital for employers to act on their feedback.
Do you want to learn how XCD's HCM software can help your HR department improve employee experience?