Building your internal employee experience strategy
The employee experience starts the moment a potential candidate becomes aware of your organization and ends well after retirement age. Every interaction and observation of the company forms part of an individual’s employee experience, building a picture of your company which they not only experience themselves but will share with many others over the years. In the past, creating a positive experience was a purpose aimed solely at the customer or end user. More recently, organizations are coming round to the virtues of creating a positive employee experience too.
The benefits of creating a positive employee experience
Offering a great employee experience has far reaching benefits not only for employees, but for managers, leaders, and the organization as an entity.
According to an in-depth 2021 employee experience study by Josh Bersin, companies leveraging the right employee experience strategies are:
- 2 x more likely to exceed financial targets
- 4 x more likely to delight customers
- 7 x more likely to adapt well to change
- 3 x more likely to innovate effectively
- 1 x more likely to create a sense of belonging
- 1 x more likely to engage and retain employees
- 2 x more likely to be a great place to work
Creating an effective employee experience strategy means getting the best for your business, increasing profit, reducing churn and waste, and giving your organization a great reputation as an employer, meaning you’ll attract the best talent.
Designing employee experience
Paul Seda is joined by returning star Senior Consultant Alex Gabelli, and two newcomers – Product Manager Katie Johnson and Senior UI Developer Lewis Munt – to share their thoughts about designing the best employee experience.
Designing an effective employee experience strategy
Start creating a framework for your employee experience by asking yourself some base questions about how you can utilize your employee experience strategy to leverage positive change and help achieve your business objectives. Here are a few offered by IBM as a starting point:
- How does your current employee experience affect the attraction and retention of critical job roles within your organization?
- How could improving your employee experience increase productivity within your organization?
- To what extent does your employee experience influence your customer experience?
- Who has primary responsibility for designing employee experience within your organization?
- How does a person or team bring others together to address employee experience issues?
- What types of analytics are you using to evaluate the effectiveness of your employee experience?
The type of internal analytics platform you are using will have a significant impact on the data available to you to answer these questions. Use existing data and formulate a new data capture plan to fill in the gaps and answer outstanding questions.
The type of data you wish to collect is likely to fall into the following categories. You may wish to keep things organized and flowing by asking your employee experience questions under these topic groupings:
- Employee engagement surveys - How engaged do employees feel with their place of work?
- Employee culture surveys - How healthy is the culture in their department?
There are a number of ways to survey employees to answer questions about the current employee experience and what they would like to see. Think about anonymity and honesty when looking to collect data from your staff. You may find you get more in-depth and honest answers when the person communicating with you cannot be identified. Options for data collection include, but are not limited to:
- In-person or online interviews
- Focus groups
- Pulse surveys
- Long form surveys
- Telephone interviews
Consider all facets of the organization when thinking about your employee experience strategy. No single department is responsible for employee experience and no single aspect of your plan will make or break the employee experience. Your plan should be holistic and carefully considered, building on the strengths of the company and taking steps to improve areas which require attention.
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Key elements of an employee experience strategy
Use these key elements to create an employee experience framework customized to the needs of your organization.
The candidate experience
The candidate experience is the first key interaction with your business. It is a large part of how the candidate initially perceives your company, and its people. The tone set in this first chain of interactions will go a long way to defining their view of your company, and the opinion they share with others.
Take a test run of your recruitment process and speak to recent hires about their thoughts on the candidate process, including how they discovered the role, the application process, communications with HR, their interview, and subsequent communications.
Is your HR strategy still cutting the mustard?
HR leaders are at the forefront of shaping the new workplace. The rules are being rewritten, and old frames of reference no longer stand. In the face of so much change, what key principles can HR leaders look to to attract, retain, and nurture employees in the new world of work?
The onboarding experience
The next important step in the employee experience is your onboarding process. While a great onboarding experience is linked to an 82% improvement in retention, only 12% of employees believe their employer excels in this area.
Consider pre-boarding as part of your employee experience strategy. Preboarding your staff by giving them access to your work universe helps new hires get a feel for the systems and people they will be working with.
Here at Unily, Product Manager Kaz Hassan describes his own positive experience with pre-boarding and what he gained from getting a sneak preview of the work he would be doing.
"Before I technically joined, I was invited into Universe, Unily’s customer platform. I remember scrolling through the conversations and seeing suggestions people had. That was super insightful for me because there’s only so much you can be directly trained on, but I could start soaking in the challenges people were having before I even started."
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Clarifying roles and responsibilities
An important factor of employee experience and retention is how clear an understanding they have of their role and responsibilities and what is expected of them.
Employee clarity on all issues, including roles and responsibilities, should come from the top down. Your employees should have a clear and concise understanding of what is expected of them, what their role involves, and what their responsibilities are. They should be fully aware of how their performance is measured and what their goals and aims are. They should also have a clear understanding of company rules regarding responsibilities outside of their role, such as social and behavioral expectations within the business.
Knowing what you are meant to be doing at work is a powerful motivator for staff regardless of their role or industry. A lack of understanding in this area can cause stress and under-performance, reducing not only efficiency and productivity but employee happiness and retention.
This information should all be given as part of the employee onboarding experience, but also available to them in a written medium at any time. The employee should also know who to approach to ask questions or gain further clarity on any of these issues. Lastly, maintaining regular catch-ups and appraisals with employees helps to keep them engaged and up to date with any changes to their role, and gives managers the opportunity to nip any issues in the bud and praise outstanding performance at work.
Planning your communications
Internal communications should be regular, well thought out, and delivered by the most appropriate channel. Ensure your messages are tailored to their audience and reach the right people at the right time. Blanket communications and hastily produced messages fail to engage and can contribute to overwhelming and alienating your employees.
Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Ensure employees get to hear from leaders and managers, as well as each other
- Communicate any changes to the business, your products/services range, and internal changes well in advance
- Make sure you have a plan for crisis announcements
- Use employee recognition in your announcements
- Highlight good news and happy occasions and share positive news
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Building a positive work culture
At the start of this piece, we mentioned employee experience and its impact on your company culture. This is a fundamental element to the happiness of your staff and a key feature of the employee experience. Creating a positive, inclusive culture is at the heart of employee happiness, a metric which can be directly measured against productivity, efficiency and staff turnover.
Set clear, concise goals for your workplace from a cultural perspective and be clear on what is and is not acceptable. Promote a healthy, diverse culture within the workplace and give your staff the tools, access, and confidence to report any issues.
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Think back to your favorite job; beyond cushy work perks or a generous vacation allotment, it was likely the culture of the workplace that earned top honors. The right culture keeps engagement high and turnover low, yet nearly 70% of leaders don't know how to create an effective environment, according to Gartner.
Creating an open atmosphere
Use technology to bring your employees together and promote open communication. There are many different ways for employees to communicate with staff at all levels of the business, the use of which should be actively encouraged.
Utilize tools such as social intranet features, and reward and recognition programs to give your employees a voice in the online workplace which can be heard throughout the company.
Ensure your staff feel appreciated and respected by their peers and by the leadership structure, and that open communication is encouraged. Give employees the means to give feedback and ensure it gets a response and is actioned where necessary.
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The offboarding experience
It is an inevitable fact of business that employees will leave. Whatever their reason for leaving, providing a respectful and comfortable offboarding experience will have a marked impact on how they view your organization and how they will speak of it to others.
They may have moved to a new role at a new company, or for a range of other reasons including retiring, moving away from the area, or leaving due to ill health.
Ask for honest feedback and utilize their thoughts to improve or modify existing processes which could be improved. Frame your questions to meet your end goal of creating a great employee experience.
For example, you may wish to ask questions such as:
- What did you like best about your role?
- What did you like least about your role?
- Do you feel you were well managed in your role?
- Why did you choose to leave?
- What could we have done to ask you to stay?
- What did X offer you that we could not?
- How would you describe your experience working for us?
- Would you recommend us as an employer to friends and family?
Use responses to help improve your existing employee experience strategy and improve staff happiness.
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Create an Effective Internal Employee Experience Strategy with Unily
Discover how Unily’s employee experience platform has been designed to create a complete communications solution for your business to benefit your employees and help your HR department excel. Unily easily integrates with existing software for a smooth transition and plug-and-play installation.
Get started. Get your free demo.
Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.