For a very long time, customer experience was everything that mattered to organizations. This did make sense too. After all, it is the customers who decide whether they want to pay for a business’s product or service. The right customer experience can ensure better profits undoubtedly! However, even a few decades back, while customers were kept happy and satisfied, employees had to work with the bare minimum facilities and under stressful conditions.
Thankfully now, things are changing. Businesses are gradually revamping their thought processes, which means, employees are being treated better. Hence, ‘employee experience’ is now a legit, essential, and much-discussed term at all management level discussions.
Employee Experience is a term that talks about how employees perceive and interpret their engagement, communication, and relationship with the organization. This is a very powerful tool that acts as a foundation for a lot of other factors like employee productivity, engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
When employee experience is positive and holistic, an employee develops a better bond with the workplace, and this translates into the work that they do. Employee experience makes workplace relationships more relational and less mundane and transactional.
According to a survey done by Deloitte, 80% of employees considered employee experience important, but only 22% agreed that their employers were excellent at providing a differentiated employee experience.
There has been a drastic change in the way employees were treated and perceived by businesses in the last eight to ten decades. Jacob Morgan, a popular author and expert in leadership and employee experience, talks about four stages through which employee experience has evolved over the years.
Let’s talk about the early 1900s first. This was the time when employment opportunities were growing globally, and industries and organizations hired employees of all calibers to work with them. During that period, all that mattered to organizations was utility. Employees were given all the basic amenities and facilities needed to do their job and nothing beyond that. Employees went to their workplace, did the work allotted to them, came back home, and received their paychecks.
As the number of businesses and organizations increased, it was not enough to just get work done. Companies had to fight with each other to stay ahead. Productivity became a vital term for success. More productive industries were able to bring down operational costs, and hence, selling prices, which made them customer-favorites. As a result, other factories had to boost their productivity levels too.
Such organizations had to start spending time, money, and effort on training their employees to be more productive.
With time, HR teams started becoming a part of the workplace and terms like performance management, employee satisfaction, and retention percentage all became vital. An employee was no longer a tool to increase productivity. Companies realized that an engaged employee could work better and ensure better results through higher productivity.
As a result, organizations started introducing bonuses, perks, team outings, free food, family days, and other such incentives to boost employee engagement. Such practices were the starting point of treating employees as a valuable part of the organization. These practices are still in place. However, successful organizations have gone one step ahead.
It is all about Employee Experience now. This is not just about keeping your employee happy and engaged. It is about creating an overall experience that will help employees to stay focused, productive, satisfied, and curious.
Ensuring a good employee experience involves providing the right (read ‘best-in-class’) tools to get jobs done, creating a flexible and independent work culture, protecting an employee’s work-life balance, and using intelligent technology to eliminate monotony. It reflects in the way the onboarding team welcomes new employees when they join the organization, the ease with which people can communicate with peers across verticals, and even in the way feedback is given, heard and appreciated. Most critical, it also focuses on employee’s skills and hence career development.
As mentioned above, employee experience needs to be just right at all stages of a business to make a holistic difference. Let’s take a look at the four stages of any human business cycle and how employee experience fits here.
Onboarding – This is probably the first stage of any business cycle when it comes to human engagement. Using tools and software to make onboarding easy and hassle-free is something you can start with, to improve employee experience. Use analytical tools to match skills with the right profile and give employees ample opportunities to learn, train, and get help within the organization.
Progress – This is a very critical stage where employee experience matters a lot. The organization needs to offer enough opportunities, challenges, space for growth, and perks to an employee to ensure a positive experience. An employee’s progress needs to be backed by mentoring, training, continuous feedback, and healthy peer-to-peer relationships. Employee engagement strategies make a difference here.
Appraisal – Here is where you can use a lot of tools and analytical data to create amazing employee experiences. By including the right experiences, employees will know what is expected of them and have a clear idea of what they should be doing to expect positive appraisals. This also gives employees ample space to talk about their accomplishments and self-assess themselves.
Retention – Employee retention is the process of retaining valuable and skilled employees, so that they don’t leave or think of leaving the organization. When you take care of employee experience in the first three business cycles, then retention will take care of itself.
There are so many things a business can do to improve employee experience. Here are 10 strategies:
If you have not yet considered evaluating the employee experience at your workplace, then make it a priority now. You can do this by conducting surveys, looking at employee data, and analyzing employee experience practices that are followed at other top companies. You can also pick up ways to improve workplace experience by asking for suggestions from employees themselves.
Take small steps towards elevating employee experience, and with each step, keep your team posted about your efforts. Once you make sure your business is on the right track regarding employee experience, other things like productivity, profits, and growth will fall in place.