What is employee experience, and how can you improve it at your business?

What is employee experience, and how can you improve it at your business?

It may have taken a pandemic and a likely recession, but companies are finally starting to realize that providing a positive working environment isn't just good for employees but also for their bottom line. Creating a good employee experience involves gathering feedback from all employees and building a system that allows them to thrive, motivating them to outdo themselves. This is why employee experience can be as important for a business as customer experience. 

What is employee experience?

As the name suggests, employee experience represents everything an employee experiences from the moment they notice your job ad to the time they leave your company. Creating an effective employee experience strategy can do wonders for the effectiveness, consistency, and motivation of your staff. As with customer experience, you can continually review and update employee experience based on collected feedback.

There are five main stages of the employee experience, as follows:

The recruitment phase

An employee's recruitment experience includes every aspect involved in finding and hiring an appropriate employee for an open position. Some of the elements you can analyze to improve this part of an employee's experience with your organization are:

  • How long it takes from the moment you identify a potentially suitable job candidate to the moment they start working for you
  • What percentage of candidates accept your company's job proposal and salary
  • How effective your job advertising methods are in attracting quality candidates to your open positions
  • Your recruitment system's ability to identify a top-quality candidate and fast-track the employment process to ensure you hire them
  • How successful or unsuccessful candidates consider your recruitment system to be

The onboarding phase

The onboarding process is the second stage of an employee's experience with an organization. Employees usually require an adaptive period in which they get up to speed on their typical work tasks, how they're supposed to perform them, the systems and tools in place to help them succeed, and the performance standards for their position. 

Having an effective employee onboarding system ensures that a new hire can start being productive as quickly as possible. Discovering that everything is already in place to help them thrive in their new role will also give them a positive experience, motivating them to succeed and helping to develop a sense of loyalty toward their employer.

The development phase

Although business owners generally want employees with a solid set of skills, an ideal employee experience system allows every member of staff to develop both professionally and personally throughout their time with the company. This doesn't always happen by chance, however, and business owners must usually take active measures to ensure that each employee has the chance to develop their skills

This typically starts with building an objective system for quantifying each employee's productivity level. Besides helping them understand how they can improve, this system also helps the employer decide whom to promote from within if and when they decide to do so.

The retention rate

Having hired the right employee, guided them through your onboarding process, and developed their skills, the last thing you want as a business owner or manager is for that employee to leave for another professional opportunity. Having an effective employee retention strategy is essential for an organization's performance and profit, as it helps maintain consistent productivity and save money on finding and onboarding new employees.

An effective employee retention strategy depends on many factors. Generally, you should make sure that your employees:

  • Fit within the company culture 
  • Have a salary level that allows them to have fulfilling personal lives
  • See the positive impact your company has on your industry and the wider society
  • Aspire to higher positions and have a clear path to promotion within your organization's ranks

The exit procedures

Regardless of how well you manage your business and its employees, it's inevitable that some of them will leave at some point. Common reasons include being offered another role, retiring, or moving to a different location. It's important to know each employee's reasons for leaving your organization to minimize the number of situations when a valuable employee's exit was avoidable. You can do that by asking appropriate questions during exit interviews. You can usually be as specific as you want, as employees who no longer work for you tend to give honest answers.

"Creating an effective employee experience strategy can do wonders for the effectiveness, consistency, and motivation of your staff."

How to improve your organization's employee experience

Consider using these methods to create a positive employee experience for your organization:

Make a conscious effort to improve

The first step in improving your company's employee experience is recognizing this need and taking active steps to do it. Find ways to assess your employees' experiences, either through surveys or by engaging directly with them. Ask specific questions about how they think they could do their jobs more efficiently and how their working environment could be improved. Besides helping you understand what you need to change or update, this also shows your employees that you genuinely care about their professional satisfaction.

Create a collaborative working environment

A successful workforce is more than the sum of its parts. Encourage employees to provide feedback regarding the company's operations and communicate with each other as openly as possible. This can help your staff feel better connected to each other and loyal to their team. It can also help the organization improve its operations, as managers can use their feedback to improve. Creating a collaborative working environment can only start from the top, so make sure that the company's management team openly encourages feedback and discussion.

Offer employee benefits

While a positive employee experience often includes a good salary, there are other non-monetary ways to keep your staff loyal, motivated, and engaged. They include offering a flexible work schedule, allowing employees to work from home a few days each week if their role allows it, and giving them paid time off when needed. Although these things cost money and may result in some lost productivity, they're usually worth it in the long run, as they help employees feel valued and respected by their managers.

Hire a Chief Experience Officer to be responsible for employee experience

If your company is large enough to allow it, consider hiring a Chief Experience Officer to handle all matters related to employee experience. They can then work with each department to assess current employee experience and find ways to improve. They can also interact directly with employees on your behalf and gather valuable feedback regarding what they think could be done to boost their experience. Have them report directly to you and be responsible for implementing any changes you think may positively affect employee experience.

Help employees find meaning in their work

Ensuring that employees feel like they're more than just another cog in the machine can help improve their overall experience with your organization. To achieve this, seek to create a working environment that gives employees autonomy to make decisions and the means to reach their professional goals. Praising effective decisions and having a constructive attitude can help employees gain the confidence they need to perform at their best.

Employees are a company's lifeblood and treating them that way is crucial to your organization's success. Regardless of the size of your business or the field in which it operates, creating a system that assesses each employee's experience at work can help you improve efficiency and effectiveness. This often leads to a win-win situation wherein the company becomes more profitable, and the staff enjoys a positive and motivating work environment.

Learn more about effective staff management:

Looking for loyal employees? Discover why they prioritize stability and how to give it to them.

Discover the best practices for finding and developing top talent from internships.

Boost employee engagement with these 10 ideas to support employees' mental health at work and during interviews.

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