In recent years, the job market has been in a state of flux. Not just in terms of unemployment and job openings, but also in a softer area that is a little more difficult to express in numbers. Words like “experience,” “meaningfulness” and “happiness” probably used to be heard mostly in personal spheres, but today are what it’s all about in the workplace. These so-called employee experience is becoming increasingly important, and many consider it a key metric that successful organizations should focus on. What has changed?
It may be almost unimaginable already, but for a very long time, it did not matter to an employer what his employees thought of the organization or of the work. The employee provided labor without nagging in exchange for a salary, and all this had to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. After all, that made money immediately. Nowadays, that is different. As Richard Branson once said:
“If you take care of your employees they will take care of the clients.”
This thinking saw the employees themselves as a primary source of income.
So for the first time, the employee is the focus. But how can we manage the wants and needs of that employee? This is where employee experience comes in. This is defined as the sum of experiences the employee goes through during employment with an organization.
A study by the IBM Institute for Business Value characterizes three interacting components of employee experience. A social environment that includes all interactions among employees. A work environment for employee interactions and tasks. And finally, a physical environment that includes interactions with the tangible components in the organization. The combined interactions of these three components make up the overall employee experience. So as an organization, you have to respond to this. Sounds simple right?
Tip 1. Map all employee touchpoints
Anyone with a little experience in marketing and sales is familiar with customer touchpoints and the customer journey. Now we turn the tables and look at all employee touchpoints. That is, from job applications to exit interviews and everything in between. How a new employee is received, trained and supervised during employment are all facets over which the employer has influence. All of these facets affect the employee experience. This is where onboarding and performance management come into play. Research by HR Tech guru Josh Bersin (2016) describes a shift within performance management from standardized processes to individual people management. This means that the entire performance management cycle should no longer be a series of administrative tasks, but that an organization should look at the individual employee at all employee touchpoints. He therefore describes this in the final stage of his model as Empowerment. Thus, more emphasis on the interests of the employee within the various facets of employment improves the employee experience. Want to know how you as an organization can respond to this? Then read tips 2 and 3!
Tip 2. Ownership for the employee
We have already established that happy employees make for happy customers and therefore good business results. This process can be accelerated by giving employees an understanding of the organization’s goals and what their personal part in that goal is. However, an article by MT (2017) shows that over 25% of employees are not aware of organizational goals. In terms of employee experience, you can argue here that there is no good interaction between employees and their tasks. To counter this, more and more companies are working with so-called OKRs. In doing so, they break down organizational goals and make the employee owners of their own piece of results. By making this understandable to everyone, you start working as one team toward the collective goal called: success.
Tip 3. Employee experience as corporate culture
Once you have identified where within the organization employee experience matters, you can take the next step. Integrating employee experience into your corporate culture. The perception of your employee should be grafted into the why of your organization. The key here is making sure you have an open dialogue with your employees. Have them give input on all three components of employee experience. Something as simple as office décor is a good example. After all, this is where most employees spend most of their time. Always keep the social, work and physical environment in mind and allow as much input from employees as possible. When they feel they are being heard, words like “experience,” “meaning,” and “happiness” will start to mean a lot more to you.