Employee Experience Strategy - 5 Step Plan
— November 3rd, 2018
Companies spend a lot of money on recruiting and retaining talent. Yet, all too often these businesses may go on to hemorrhage staff because the employee experience simply didn’t live up to the recruit’s expectations.
Companies which want to hire the best talent and retain their skills within the organization for the long-term must look to develop an employee experience framework which ensures staff value their workplace for reasons other than how much they are paid or sundry benefits. So what does this mean in practice?
Before we talk about how to improve employee experience let’s first define what it means. Employee experience was developed by Human Resources as a means of gauging the lifetime encounters, actions and activities a member of staff goes through from the day they are interviewed for a position, to the time they leave. Jeanne Meister calls this the ‘Consumerization of HR’.
It encompasses the entire journey, from its start to the finish, and all the factors in between which will affect how that employee views his employer and his role in the success of the company. It goes beyond the notion of company culture to look at other factors which will affect staff, such as the technology being utilized in achieving objectives and the physical environment in which they are asked to operate during their work.
Many factors affect business performance but, it’s only in relatively recent times that HR has begun to look at just how much employees affect the bottom line. A 2017 Genesys Research Brief states, "Employees who are engaged and see the value on their jobs are more likely to deliver better services and drive the agency's mission more efficiently and effectively".
But the key here is recognizing that engagement is a subset, albeit an important one, of the much wider scope that Employee Experience brings to the party.
Employee Experience Strategy - How to Improve Experience
1. Recognize performance and incentivize results
If you ask why is employee experience important, it’s because a member of staff’s ability to feel like an important part in the larger whole will be directly affected by how she perceives her part in the company’s success. If we take the example of an employee who works in the back-office of a customer-facing business, it will be imperative that the company effectively demonstrates how such a role is just as important to long-term success as someone on the front line.
2. Communicate goals clearly and often
In a dynamic market, where goals are constantly evolving the last thing you want is for employees to feel they don’t know what the business’s objectives are. Staff at all levels should be kept informed of leadership thinking on a constant basis with opportunities for feedback to management.
3. Make employee collaboration simple
Staff need to be given the tools to do the job asked of them. To do so will significantly improve engagement and commitment to the task whilst fostering team cohesiveness. While many cloud-based tools now make this task easier than at any time in the past, the value of face-to-face discussion should not be overlooked.
4. Emphasize career development and plan for succession from within
Staff who feel they have reached an impasse in their career development will rapidly lose commitment to the wider business goals. To avoid this, employee experience can be readily enhanced if staff feel there are well-defined career paths through the organization. Doing so also allows staff to feel that the business believes that its staff is important to the company’s future.
5. Incentivize and recognize staff commitment
Employee recognition needs to be earned. Yet, where staff deliver it’s important that this achievement is recognized. This will be in the form of not only remuneration but in other intangibles, via verbal recognition from line managers, perks for meeting goals, rewards for teams that work well together. All these techniques will ultimately ensure that staff show a greater commitment to the company goals.
Today, more so than at any time, HR departments are faced with major challenges in finding, recruiting and retaining the right talent. An Employee Experience Strategy recognizes that finding and recruiting staff is just the beginning of a journey for every single employee. Where there is now wide recognition that customer experience is vital to long-term business success, equally, management has come to realize that the same tools and methodologies can be utilized to develop a coherent employee experience strategy which retains the best talent over the long term.
An employee experience strategy needs to allow staff to appreciate the importance of their role to the company’s overall success, whether they are an office junior just starting out on their career, top-tier management or anywhere in between.