The Beginners Guide to Employee Experience

Discover how improving employee experience can increase customer satisfaction and drive growth.

What is Employee Experience (EX)? 

Simply put, EX is the end-sum impression your company makes during the entire lifecycle of each employee. Positive employee engagement results in a positive overall employee experience. In your employees’ journey, EX is defined by five pivotal stages:

1. Candidacy: Whether hired or not, prospective candidates must feel they were treated fairly during the recruitment and interview process. Candidates should leave interviews feeling positive about the people, place, values and technology available.

2. Onboarding: After hiring good talent, training them takes time. This is when your employee needs to be able to find support: resources for learning new tools or technology, guidance in understanding expectations, and being made to feel they’re part of a team. 

3. Performance: Once employees become adept at their job, at the performance stage employee satisfaction is affected by how they’re treated, supported or encouraged; whether they receive constructive feedback; and how often their managers or HR check in with them.  

4. Growth: The main reason good employees often choose to leave good companies is due to a perceived lack of opportunity for personal growth. At this stage, it’s important to focus on providing access: to opportunities for further career development, as well as the tools and technology needed for doing their job. Physical and mental well-being also needs to be supported, so burnout or apathy do not occur.

5. Exit: Even when companies do everything right, employees may still choose to leave for personal reasons. It happens. This is a critical stage to get right. Employees must leave a company feeling valued for the work they did. They must leave feeling they had a positive work experience, or EX. Exit interviews can provide vast insight for internal institutional improvement. 

Any stage in the lifecycle of each EX can result in a positive or negative effect on your brand. 

Check in with your employees during these five stages, as well as during times of major institutional change. When not overdone, soliciting employee feedback also makes them feel valuable. If they feel valued, they are more likely to value you enough to make an online recommendation to your company, thus improving your chances of finding more good talent.

Why is Employee Experience so Important? 

EX affects core aspects of institutional integrity: recruitment, productivity, retention, turnover, days absent, accidents, annual income, Net Promoter Scores, reputation and much more. 

During recruitment, job seekers can be turned off or on by a company’s reviews. Company review sites such as Glassdoor are on the rise, providing Yelp-like reviews from prior and current employees. Always assume that prospective candidates are doing their homework.  

In retention, getting EX right can make all the difference. Millennials especially expect a positive work culture and mobility, or they quit. Productivity is also greatly affected by EX.

Creating a holistic approach to the employee experience demands better tools and programs to capture employee feedback continuously. A new breed of pulse survey tools, performance management tools, and open survey tools is making this possible.

Deloitte, 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

Despite recent global investments in employee engagement, EX and productivity have both declined in recent years. Especially in the UK. Businesses that wish to improve EX need better employee engagement, better satisfaction measurement technology, and better data analysis.

The Business Impact of Good vs. Bad Employee Experiences

Successful companies are already aware of the costs, in money and talent, of poor employee experiences. Negative EX costs businesses financially: higher turnover often results in wasted recruitment efforts and lost training costs. It also scares away prospective talent. 

Positive EX, on the other hand, is a gift that keeps on giving.  Engage for Success, an organisation that analyses the overall impact of EX, reports that companies with a higher level of employee engagement result in: 40% lower employee turnover, 50% less days absent, 62% less accidents, twice as much annual net income, and a 24% higher Net Promoter Score. 

Just as marketing and product teams have moved beyond customer satisfaction to look at total customer experience, so is HR refocusing its efforts on building programs, strategies, and teams that understand and continuously improve the entire employee experience.

Deloitte, 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

What few businesses fail to realise is that a positive EX begins before your employees are even hired, at the recruitment stage. While the effects of positive or negative EX can last long after an employee leaves your company. In our competitive, digital world, it’s important to get this right.

How to Measure Employee Experience

EX is a visible barometer of how respected your business is, greatly affecting institutional reputation. Measuring EX is an even greater challenge for large to mid-size companies, which is why they’re increasingly turning to feedback platforms for professional help.

Move beyond annual or biannual engagement surveys to regular pulse surveys and open feedback systems. Use candidate interviews, stay interviews, ongoing performance conversations, and exit interviews as ways to build a complete, real-time understanding of the issues your employees face. Consider instituting an employee net promoter score.

Deloitte, 2017 Global Human Capital Trends

Checking in annually with employees is no longer an option. EX data-point collection should feature throughout an employee’s lifecycle and journey—beginning during recruitment, and ending at the exit point when employees leave. At any time, anonymous pulse surveys can be used to capture feedback in real time.

Instead of annual reviews, the new rules of EX demand “constant feedback, action and monitoring,” reports Deloitte. Data capture and management tools available today include:

  • Productivity and collaboration apps: Such as Facebook Workplace, Slack, and Google G-suite.
  • Engagement and feedback apps: New pulse survey tools, which are replacing traditional surveys.
  • Performance management apps: Feedback tools for managing employee performance.
  • Well-being apps: Wellness apps can improve employee fitness, group cohesion or competition.
  • Employee service platforms: Digital tools for case or content management, including issue resolution portals and chat boxes.

It is important to chose an EX platform that integrates with your existing systems and processes—between apps, traditional and pulse surveys, and employees—to best provide company executives and HR hard data and actionable analyses.

How to Improve Employee Experience 

The secret to a successful EX design strategy lies in making companies employee-centric.  

Among the most important factors for workplace satisfaction, Deloitte highlight the following five:

  1. Meaningful Work;
  2. Supportive Management;
  3. Positive Work Environment;
  4. Growth Opportunity; and
  5. Trust in Leadership.

To improve employee experience, we suggest focusing on the follow eight steps: 

  • Elevate EX and make it a priority
  • Designate a team or senior leader to oversee it
  • Embrace a strategic design rethink that puts employees at the centre
  • Consider the experiences of your entire workforce
  • Use company review sites such as Glassdoor to spot strengths and weaknesses 
  • Enlist leadership support and employ C-suite
  • Consider the geographical impact, for better understanding of cultural differences
  • Measure it.
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