Your most valuable resources are your employees, not only because they operate your business, but they ultimately impact how your customers view your business. If your employees have a negative experience in your workplace, their dissatisfaction will poison every interaction they have with your customers. These employees are likely to leave your organization altogether, on the hunt for better opportunities and work conditions. And those employee losses can cause a huge impact on your bottom line.If your employees have a negative experience in your workplace, their dissatisfaction will poison every interaction they have with your customers. Here's how to improve it: Click To Tweet
According to this study by Gallup, replacing a voluntarily exiting employee can conservatively cost up to two times that employee’s annual salary. But of course, money isn’t the only reason to retain your employees. When an employee voluntarily leaves your company, they take their talent and experience with them. It can also cause ripple effects amongst the rest of the team as they struggle to find a new sense of equilibrium. So it’s important to avoid turnover as much as possible, and that starts by evaluating your employees’ workplace experience. Do you know what type of experience your employees have while working for your organization? Let’s talk about it, and focus on what you can do to deliver the best employee experience possible.
What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience is the summary of everything that occurs during an employee’s lifecycle with an organization. It actually begins before the employee accepts your job offer, and it ends after they’ve parted ways with your organization.
The employee experience starts during the recruitment stage when the hopeful candidate is first introduced to your organization. During this stage, they’re not only learning about your organization and the responsibilities of the job they’re applying for, but they’re also becoming familiar with the often-unspoken traits of your organization, such as how respectful you are of their time.
If you’re able to impress the candidate during this stage, they’ll decide to join your team. The recruitment stage sets the tone for what type of experience your employee will likely have during the rest of their professional relationship with your organization. Many job seekers have become especially sensitive to the initial recruitment experience and are likely to pass on an organization if they identify red flags during the interview process.
The next stage is onboarding where the new employee gets introduced to the organization. During this initial 60-120 day timeline, new hires get a feel for what day-to-day life will be like at their new job. Unfortunately, many organizations fell to make this a smooth process. They either rely on outdated training resources or they overburden other members of the team to work as trainers for the new hire. While many organizations don’t have the resources to invest in a lengthy training period, every organization can improve its onboarding, and it’s necessary to do so. It’s during the onboarding phase when a new hire’s initial excitement can either lead to lasting connections with the rest of the team or fizzle.
The next stage is (hopefully) the longest part of the employee’s cycle. It tracks their ongoing retention with your organization, including their day-to-day routine and their opportunities to grow. During this stage, the employee contributes not just to your product, but also to your company’s culture. They’ll impact how customers, your own employees, and potential candidates view your organization. While the employee invests in your organization, your organization should likewise invest in the employee, in terms of ongoing training, job opportunities, and remuneration.
The final stage occurs when the employee parts ways with the organization, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. How you treat an employee who has come to the end of their work cycle with your organization matters. Some employees may decide to return. And even if they don’t, they’ll still share their experience with others (and sometimes on review platforms like Glassdoor). Their final sentiment can affect your ability to attract top talent to your organization.
The employee experience covers all stages of the employee’s relationship with your organization. However, beyond stages, the employee experience covers interactions with fellow team members, management, and human resources. For this reason, your workplace culture matters a great deal. What is the atmosphere of your workplace? Is there a sense of accountability and open communication? Do you recognize employees for their hard work and success, and how often? All of this impacts an employee’s experience at your organization.
5 Ways to Improve Your Employee Experience
So now that we’ve defined what the employee experience is, let’s discuss how to create and then impart a favorable experience to everyone who works for your organization.
1. Define the Ideal Employee Experience
Before you create the type of employee experience you’d like for your employees to have at your organization, it’s important for you to set the vision first. Create SMART goals for each stage of the employee cycle, from recruitment to onboarding to development to exit. SMART goals are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-based.
It’s easy enough to come up with SMART goals for recruitment, onboarding, and exiting because these are typically the shortest stages of the employee lifecycle. However, the most difficult stage for goal setting is also the most important—the employee development stage.
During this stage, you can work with the employee to uncover what they’re hoping to gain from their time with your organization. This answer is different for each employee. Some may use their employment to improve their skills. Others may use it as an opportunity to get their foot in the door of your organization. Understanding the employee’s goals can help you craft a unique experience that will lead to a more productive work relationship for both of you.
2. Improve Your Onboarding Process
Your onboarding process will set your employee’s expectations of what it will be like to work with your organization. But they don’t just learn about your organization and their job responsibilities from your training videos. They also learn how organized you are and how much you invest into ensuring the success of your new employees.
Take time to evaluate your onboarding process. After going through the process, will a new hire be prepared to do his or her job or will he or she still be lacking in confidence? The last thing you want is to churn out employees who feel insecure about their job because this self-doubt will suppress innovation and collaboration in your workplace. If you haven’t already, revamp your onboarding process so that it will create confident new employees.
3. Prioritize Communication
Does your organization need to improve internal communication? You’re not alone. Many employees leave organizations due to frustrations with communication. They may feel like no one’s listening or that they’re in a constant state of being the last one to know about important factors that affect their job.
Lack of communication can negatively impact collaboration and employee confidence. It can ultimately lead to your employees feeling like they’re never able to do their jobs correctly.
Improve communication by ensuring that you’re properly communicating all news, from accomplishments to changes. Seek to over-communicate to ensure that the news reaches every employee and that they don’t have to find out from the rumor mill or water cooler.
Use multiple communication tools to share the same information. This includes email and team chat.
4. Ask for Feedback
Actively seek out employee feedback. And do it frequently. Gathering feedback is crucial for multiple reasons. First, it shows your employees that you care about their experience. Second, it gives you a list of action items that you can use to improve your employee’s experience.
Acting upon employee feedback is crucial for creating a positive employee experience. If you continuously collect feedback (especially the anonymous kind), you’ll gain incredible insight into how your employees feel and think. Use this insight to improve your work culture and provide a high-quality employee experience.
5. Prioritize Diversity in Your Workplace
One of the best things you can do in your organization is to actively look for and hire a diverse range of individuals. Diversity improves your workplace in terms of innovation and creativity and fosters a greater sense of belonging. Organizations that invest in diversity and inclusion strategies benefit in multiple ways, such as better employee engagement and performance, and longer employee cycles.
How do you improve your diversity recruiting strategy? Use inclusive language in your job ads, source your candidates from different recruitment channels, and consider using interviews to avoid introducing any bias into the hiring process.
Money isn’t everything. Organizations can’t just throw money at their employees in an effort to keep them from leaving. And that’s also true for gags and gimmicks (masqueraded as job benefits) such as in-office ping pong tables and Casual Fridays. Instead, organizations must focus on providing high-quality experiences if they want to keep and continue to motivate their employees.
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