What is employee experience?
Employee experience refers to the overall quality of the interactions, perceptions, and feelings of the employee about their workplace and their journey as a member of an organization. This includes absolutely all experiences and touchpoints that an employee has with their employer, from the initial recruitment process to onboarding, day-to-day work, career development, and eventually their departure from the company.
Engaged employees are more likely to have a positive experience at work, as they are emotionally connected to their roles and the organization. While businesses that engage their employees see an 18% decrease in employee turnover and companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that do not, only about 20% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. What are the contributing factors in employee experience and what can you do to improve it?
What makes employee experience?
> Recruitment and onboarding
The employee experience begins with the recruitment process, where candidates first interact with the organization. Make sure your recruitment process is clear, and structured, and communication with the candidate is smooth.
Successful onboarding can not only improve new hire retention by 82% but also play a crucial role in setting the tone and providing a positive introduction to the workplace. We have a whole blog post about the importance of onboarding – find more information here.
> Work environment
This includes the physical workspace, tools, technology, and resources provided to employees to perform their tasks effectively and comfortably.
> Company culture
The values, beliefs, and behaviour of the organization, as well as the sense of belonging and shared purpose among employees, play a significant role in employee experience. Do your employees know what your values are? 50% of surveyed employees consider a positive company culture important in determining job satisfaction.
Company culture includes support for work-life balance, flexible work arrangements, and employee well-being programs that can contribute to a positive employee experience.
> Leadership and management
Connected to company culture, the quality of leadership and the relationships between employees and their managers greatly influence the overall employee experience. Effective management is essential for providing support, feedback, and career development opportunities.
Employees appreciate recognition for their contributions and constructive feedback to help them improve their performance
> Career development
Even the best and most well-wishing managers cannot create opportunities to improve skills and grow if the company culture is not focused on providing employees with career development opportunities. Opportunities for growth, skill development, and advancement within the organization are key aspects of employee experience – in fact, Companies that invested in employee development saw a 58% increase in retention.
> Compensation and benefits
Fair and competitive compensation, along with a comprehensive benefits package, are important factors in employee satisfaction. While it seems like pretty obvious things to have, some companies are still hesitant to invest in employee benefits.
Clear and transparent communication from leadership and across the organization is crucial for a positive employee experience. Read our recent blog post about effective internal communication right here.
Just as important as the first impression, smooth off-boarding is not a step to miss. Even if the employee has decided to leave your company, the way you say goodbye contributes to their experience and even can become something that will bring them back to you in the future. We have a whole article on off-boarding – find it here.
What can you do to improve the employee experience?
Although employee experience is a broad term that includes loads of different aspects, you can make a plan to improve it. We’ve already linked our advice on creating effective onboarding and off-boarding processes as well as shared our take on smooth internal comms. What else to keep in mind?
> Listen to employee feedback & act on it
Regular surveys and feedback sessions (anonymous and public) help to understand what employees value and what challenges they face. Ensure that managers understand the importance of their role in shaping the employee experience.
> Foster a positive company culture
We know that this sentence encompasses a lot but start by defining and communicating the values, mission, and vision of your company to create a shared sense of purpose that is crucial for an engaged team. It is also a good idea to focus on inclusivity, diversity, equity, and transparent communication. Specific, timely, and meaningful recognition can also help a lot.
> Provide opportunities for growth and development
Offer training and development programs to help employees acquire new professional and interpersonal skills and advance their careers internally. Do not forget to constantly train and develop managers to be effective leaders who provide regular feedback, coaching, and mentorship.
> Support work-life balance and well-being
Flexibility in work arrangements and remote work options are highly celebrated. Other things to consider are encouraging employees to use their vacation days, offering wellness programs, mental health support, and access to resources that promote overall well-being.
How to measure employee experience?
How can you know that you’ve made sustainable positive change without measuring it? Yes, employee experience, just like many other HR metrics that can seem unmeasurable, can & should be quantified. In a way. While there isn’t a single formula to calculate employee experience, you can use a combination of surveys, feedback, and data to measure and evaluate different components of the employee experience. Here are steps to help you assess and calculate employee experience:
Start by identifying the key metrics and components that you want to assess. These can include factors such as employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and well-being.
Conduct employee surveys
Design surveys that target specific aspects of the employee experience, such as engagement, satisfaction, or work-life balance. Don’t forget to perform checks at regular intervals and use a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions to gather insights. Focus groups and one-on-one conversations with employees can help to understand the “why” behind the quantitative data.
Don’t just leave that collected data to itself. Compare your organization’s employee experience metrics to industry benchmarks or competitors to gain context and identify areas for improvement or celebration.
Remember that employee experience is multifaceted and can vary among individuals and departments within your organization – regularly measuring and assessing these components can help you make data-informed decisions to enhance the overall employee experience and foster a positive workplace culture.
Yes, a positive employee experience leads to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and better employee retention. Many organizations today focus on improving and enhancing the employee experience to attract and retain top talent and create a more productive and engaged workforce.
To conclude – improving employee experience is no easy task and it can rarely succeed with a reactive approach. Staying informed about industry best practices and evolving employee needs throughout their lifetime at your company is crucial. HR professionals are the ones to design, implement, and manage various programs and initiatives that directly impact how employees perceive their workplace. That being said, bigger companies are already hiring internal comms specialists or employee experience managers to help in this quest. A small HR team simply cannot do it all. If yours can, we hope you appreciate them very much!