Employee Experience: Whose job is it anyway?
— February 6th, 2018
This time of year, publications and websites are clamoring to share their predictions for the year ahead. "2018 will be the year of [fill in the blank]” and you’ve got yourself a winning headline.
Personally, I start to tune out these predictions and proclamations, but when Forbes declared 2018 the year of Employee Experience, I sat up and listened!
At Brilliant Ink, we’ve been talking about the importance of Employee Experience for years. In 2014, we undertook a major study to examine which elements of the Employee Experience had the strongest impact on engagement, and identified six key areas for organizations to focus their efforts.
At the time, we had to explain what we meant by “Employee Experience” and why it was important for ALL leaders – whether in Communications, HR or senior management – to focus on creating a cohesive Employee Experience consistent with the organization’s mission, vision and values.
Today, it’s a different story. Nearly everyone in our industry seems to understand and value the concept of Employee Experience. Heck, we work with multiple clients who have those words in their title! And it’s not just the hip companies like Casper, SquareSpace and Airbnb – there are Employee Experience roles at legacy corporations like McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon.
But what does all of this mean for those of us with “Internal Communications" in our titles?
Now more than never, we as internal communications leaders must view our role through a more holistic lens. Gone are the days when we can think only about the day-to-day communications channels we own and the messages we need to convey. Instead, we must think about the COMPLETE Employee Experience and work collaboratively and cross-functionally to use Internal Communications to affect it.
- Partnering with the Talent Acquisition team to ensure that the messages and experiences shared in recruiting materials are an accurate (and exciting!) reflection of your organization.
- Get started: Can you provide insights to recruiters to help them clearly and consistently describe what it’s like to work at your organization?
- Reviewing the candidate experience, from the communications candidates receive during the application process, to the questions asked during interviews, to the follow-up messages during the decision-making process.
- Get started: Can you help the company make sure these touchpoints are consistent with the culture you’re trying to convey?
- Influencing the format, content and tone of company onboarding. As communicators, we know better than anyone how to translate the company culture and ensure the orientation experience is consistent with the overall experience we’re striving for.
- Get started: Can you think of two or three ways to help rethink and refresh orientation?
- Ensuring leaders and managers are aligned on organization values and desired behaviors – and reflect them daily.
- Get started: Can you partner with the teams responsible for employee training and leadership development to include communications resources and support? How can you help senior leadership articulate and align on their expectations of other leaders and managers?
- Considering how the company is using Reward and Recognition programs to reinforce desired behaviors. After all, strategic recognition has been found to have a clear and significant link to employee engagement.
- Get started: Take a closer look BOTH at your organization’s recognition programs and how they are communicated to employees. Start at the top – make sure senior leaders and managers are aware of your recognition programs and using them regularly to celebrate success.
- Examining how well managers are equipped to have performance discussions with their direct reports. Our research found that a whopping 40% of employees are NOT discussing their career path during performance reviews. If they’re not talking about it during formal performance reviews, chances are, they’re not talking about it in their day-to-day discussions either.
- Get started: Can you help managers understand how to lead career pathing discussions with their teams? And importantly, can you support them in having REGULAR performance discussions – not just once a year?
The bottom line? Employees are not thinking about which function is responsible for each element of their experience at work. They don’t differentiate between what’s coming from HR, Internal Communications, IT, Facilities, etc. – it’s all part of their experience. If they’re not differentiating – why should we?