The Employee Experience (EX) has been catapulted to prominence over the past two years by the global pandemic, changing the way that organisations attract and retain employees whilst creating tailored, authentic experiences that strengthen purpose, ignite energy and elevate overall performance. Many organisations had lost their heart and soul. Somewhere along the way, they forgot how much they need people to provide their services, to make things… to keep their wheels turning. EX considers engagement at all touchpoints throughout the employee lifecycle.
Moments that matter
EX is an employee-centric way of thinking about the organisation. It takes into consideration how employees see, hear, believe and feel about all aspects of their employment.
The EX can be described as the entire journey that an employee takes with an employer, starting at the research and recruitment phase, and progressing all the way to their exit interview, with key touchpoints throughout. It incorporates how employees perceive their work environment and relationships, how employees are made to feel by the organisation, whether the employees and the organisation’s goals are supported, and how work life is aligned to personal life.
The importance of employee experience
The experience employees have at work is becoming a vital part of an organisation’s ability to thrive. Employees want their organisation to provide a workplace experience that matches what they’ve come to expect as customers and in other areas of their life: meaningful, personalised, user-friendly, and digital. And just as customers can be swayed by their experience with a company, so can employees.
A well thought-through employee experience:
= better business outcomes.
= employees that are enabled to do their best work
= sustainable organisational performance.
The difference between employee engagement and employee experience
The terms ‘Employee Engagement’ and ‘Employee Experience’ sound very similar on the surface, but they need to be viewed as two very different philosophies. Employee engagement can be seen as the end goal, while improving the employee experience is the means to that end.
Here are some key differences between the two:
= The goal
= Top-down: the company decides what its employees need to perform their jobs (employer-centric).
= Focuses on how engaged employees are at a fixed point in time.
= The means of achieving the goal.
= Bottom-up: the work environment is designed around the employees, with input from them
= Covers an employee’s entire work lifecycle, from the job interview to the exit interview.
8 steps to creating the employee experience
1. Change the mindset: For an EX-programme to be successful, a company needs to change its mindset to be more employee-centric. This is the basis of the EX-strategy and must become a core company value and not just a convenient buzzword.
2. Be honest: To create an effective EX strategy, an honest appraisal of the existing working environment of an organisation is needed, made collectively by both leadership and employees. It is important to understand what motivates and inspires employees as well as what demotivates them. Be empathetic – put yourself in your employees’ position so that you can understand their daily work experience as well as their entire work journey. Create dialogue and listen to their needs and requests. Current employee needs must be evaluated and a clear path forward formulated.
3. Create the right environment: We’re not just talking about a nice office – the three most important EX areas, as defined by author Jacob Morgan, are Cultural environment (the feeling of working there), Technological environment (the tools provided for employees to get the job done) and Physical environment (the physical space where the employees work).
4. Open communication: The foundation of a good EX-programme is ongoing communication that is transparent and non-judgmental. Two-way evaluation is essential, both digitally and in person. Internal communication has a critical role to play – creating an emotional connection to both the people and the organisation. Effective communication can: influence the employee experience; create a space for cultures to develop; provide a platform from which leaders can lead; and provide a mouthpiece through which employees can hold their leaders to account.
5. Develop: People who don’t develop, leave. Be committed to developing, coaching and growing individuals in your workforce. Provide them with opportunities and incentives to do develop, and support them with regular coaching and ongoing tools and programmes.
6. Make great managers: People don’t leave companies, they leave people. Once a strategy is in place, managers need to be given the tools and skills they require to implement it.
7. You are not alone: Make sure that employees feel part of a workplace community, where they are valued and supported by their peers. Encourage communication between colleagues, teams and departments to allow them to work effectively together.
8. Reinforce consistently: The employee experience must be reinforced by a consistent message, across all touch points in an employee’s journey. The development of a clear EVP and employer brand will help keep messages clear, relevant and compelling.
Get expert advice
Statistics suggest that only 13% of employees say they are satisfied with their employee experience, despite many HR departments putting a lot of resources into their EX-strategy. It is evident that designing and implementing an effective EX is not easy to do, and there is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied across the board.
If your company needs a bespoke EX strategy designed by professionals, as the region’s leading employee communication and experience experts, the Engage Group can help. Say firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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