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How to build a great employee experience

2020-12-18

By: Amelia Wallace

You’ve probably heard of the term “employee engagement” by now, but have you heard of employee experience? As more and more companies shift towards customer-centric goals and healthy work environments, we’re seeing an overall prioritization of the employee experience. And for a good reason too. 

A great employee experience can lead to some pretty stellar success for your company. But what’s the point in building a great employee experience? 

What is employee experience?

First off, just what is employee experience? 

Well, employee experience is everything an employee experiences at work, which can be anything from software to interactions with you or their teams. It’s a general term that encapsulates the full spectrum of an employee’s experience throughout their time with your organization.

But don’t confuse employee experience with employee engagement. Employee engagement is a focus on rewards and perks. It’s a booster shot businesses use to jump-start their beating heart. It can include recognition programs, a different floor layout, monetary rewards, etc. 

Employee engagement is more of a stepping-off point. It’s good when you first initiate it, but you need to have something more concrete to continue the momentum forward — which is where employee experience comes into play. 

As the name suggests, the employee experience is a movement all about creating workspace practices that fit your people. So, instead of trying to make square pegs fit into round holes, you change the holes to fit the pegs, which we’re aware sounds likely overwhelming and heady. 

Let’s keep moving.

Why employee experience matters

Cool, cool, cool. So what, why does it matter? 

Your employees want to be valued as human beings — not just valued for what they offer the company. If you've received employee feedback along the lines of 'I don't know how my work impacts ROI' or 'I don't feel heard or appreciated,' then your org could stand to benefit from a revamped employee experience.

In a study by Deloitte University Press, researchers found nearly 80% of execs worldwide rated employee experience as necessary or very important. On top of that, experiential organizations have seen four times higher average profits with 40% lower turnover. This isn’t surprising when you think about how a great employee experience lends happier, more engaged and efficient workers.

Additionally, organizations that invest in employee experience can be found almost four and a half times as often on LinkedIn’s list of North America’s Most In-Demand Employers and are 11.5 times more likely to be found in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work.

If that doesn’t convince you, consider these employee engagement stats:

  • Organizations with great employee experiences achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings

  • Businesses see far fewer safety incidents (70%)

  • Happy employees are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work

Stages of the employee experience

The employee experience begins when someone steps in the door, all the way to when they leave your company. 

In total, there are five stages of the employee experience:

Recruitment

This includes every step involved in identifying, attracting, screening, interviewing and hiring a new employee. As you work toward improving the recruitment process, consider:  how long does it take to hire, how much does it cost (to hire), what is the rate of offer acceptance and the hire’s quality? Is the interview process engaging? Do your job ads attract the best talent? Evaluate current effectiveness and unpack what you could do better.

Onboarding

The onboarding, or training stage, is where your new hires get up to speed with your tools, processes and systems. The quicker a new employee can get up to speed, the sooner they can get the ball rolling. You’ll know if your onboarding process is effective by whether or not a new hire’s initial enthusiasm translates into a more meaningful, long-term connection to the company.

Development

Development is the ongoing stage in your employees’ journeys. Everyone will develop at different rates, but you need to quantify their productivity, promotion aspirations, and ability to be a team player as they grow. Offer them a chance to expand their skillset.

Retention

At this point in the journey, your employees are fully integrated into your organization. Now, the challenge is how to keep them performing and contributing to the organization’s success. It can often cost upwards of $35k to replace an employee, so finding ways to ensure yours are inspired and connected can save you a lot of cash.

Exit

Whether your employees leave due to retirement, move to a new employer, or have a life change, you need to understand what drives the transition. Doing so can help you improve and develop the employee experience.

How to improve the employee experience

Make it count

Changing the employee experience requires a holistic approach — it’s a change that has to happen at the core. You need to be empathetic and thoughtful in your interactions with your employees. Treat them like customers. It’s easy to look at the customer experience and see what you do there and mirror it to what you want to do for your employee experiences.

Co-create solutions

Affecting change in the workplace requires help from HR. It’s a chance for HR to bring both employees and leaders to the table to improve the employee experience. Sit downs like this help streamline testing needs and socialization efforts, allowing for things to move from concept to execution quicker when both leaders and employees are involved in finding a solution.

Refine the creative process

Find pain points in the creative process and eliminate them. By making these changes, teams can prioritize time for the most meaningful work. For example, we recommend creating a system of checks and balances using content creation software. By doing so, you empower employees to make personalized adjustments to creative content while ensuring your creative team can continue to focus on meaningful projects instead of making small edits all day. Templates can come in handy to keep things on-brand, so you don’t have to worry about significant changes (or typos) happening to content before it gets shipped out to clients.

Use the right tools and technology

Good tech helps streamline otherwise complicated (or dysfunctional) processes and improve employee engagement. With the right tools, your employees can effectively get their job done — minus a lot of frustration.

Ways to measure the employee experience

As with any changes you make to your work processes, it’s important to measure employee experience to ensure these changes work. You can do this in several ways, such as:

  • Pulse surveys

  • Exit interviews

  • Open feedback platforms

  • Candidate interviews

  • Engagement surveys

  • Performance conversations

Knowing what your employees feel at various stages of their growth and employment with your company can help you improve not just their experience but your org’s overall success. Disgruntled or unhappy employees could cause some significant setbacks. 

As you begin to turn your focus inward and find ways to understand your employees’ needs better, you’ll start to see a unity within your company that you may not have seen before. 

If you want to find out more about the impact of employee experience on customer experience, check our ebook on CX failure.

Free eBook download

How to avoid CX failure

Your employees power the customer experience. They’re the driving force behind everything from sales calls to content creation. Learn how to transform employees from potential points of failure in the customer experience to the driving force behind personalized customer experiences.

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Amelia Wallace

Amelia Wallace has been writing content for far too long. Her expertise ranges from home decor to insurance to marketing and beyond. She is an avid movie-goer, retains only the best kinds of useless information, and is the worst to go hiking with since she’s constantly stopping to take photos.

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