Experience is essentially a series of moments that form positive, neutral or negative memories. Each moment leaves a lasting impression on our mind, dictating whether our overall experience is a good or bad one.
Of course, people don’t see life as a series of checks and balances. One horrible experience can wash away months of positive experiences, just like one terrible experience in a shop can make you take your custom elsewhere.
Employee experience refers to the day-to-day interactions that define an employee’s working life – it can also be positive, neutral or negative. It encompasses everything that an employee experiences from their first interaction with an organisation to their daily working life to their attitude when they finally leave the firm.
According to 86% of recruiters, we’re living in an employee-driven labour market so employee experience dictates whether you can attract and retain the star performers that your business needs to thrive.
That’s why HR is increasingly focused on managing and improving the employee experience, creating a pathway to employee satisfaction and fulfilment in the process. So what steps can you take to do the same thing in your organisation?
Treat employees as customers
Marketers use customer experience as a metric for a good reason. It tells them what a customer wants and helps them to introduce strategies that will attract and retain customers.
It makes sense for HR to apply similar tactics to gauge the employee experience in their organisation, to look for positive or negative patterns, and to make improvements where they can.
Unhappy workers are unproductive so an engaged workforce is a business priority.
A customer-centric approach to HR requires you to manage your employees’ interactions within the organisation to ensure employee satisfaction.
Focus on the bigger picture
Employees increasingly expect organisations to provide a seamless employee experience from hiring to retiring. The intensive efforts that go into interviews, onboarding, orientation and training can no longer be allowed to fizzle out once an employee becomes an established member of the team.
If anything, it becomes more important to support an employee once they establish themselves as an important asset.
Companies will need to provide ongoing investment in Millennials and future generations of workers to ensure they get the personal development that they regard as a minimum requirement in an employer.
Your workforce is your greatest brand asset so ensuring that they’re happy, engaged and content at all stages of the employee lifecycle is key to your future success.
Develop your employee brand
The strength of your corporate brand will dictate whether you can impress talented individuals before they even think about applying for a position. First impressions are as important for organisations as they are for individuals so cultivating your online brand is a necessity in a digital world.
A surprising 69% of survey respondents would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. So the reputation you present really matters.
Your recruitment process is also the first battlefield for the hearts and minds of great candidates – 47% of declined offers in 2015 were due to candidates accepting other jobs. This shows the importance of projecting yourself in the right way and focusing on how you interact with people before they even become employees.
Employee experience doesn’t start when an employee signs the contract. It needs to be an inherent part of how you engage with prospective employees.
Focus on the experience that you offer
Organisations that don’t offer a simple and pleasurable experience are going to struggle to engage and retain top talent. The power now lies in the hands of employees so it’s all about cultivating a culture and an experience that encourages employees to want to stay with an organisation.
Yet IDC’s 2015 Experiences survey found that over two in three companies do not measure their employee experience. These firms are operating in a vacuum in terms of their ability to influence their employee experience.
Giving your employees a great employee experience is the simplest way to give yourself a competitive advantage in terms of your ability to attract and retain top performers. An engaged workforce will give you increased productivity but the real benefit is the human capital you will gain if you establish yourself as a great place to work.
Build a workplace for the future
One of the challenges facing organisations is to adapt to disruptive technologies and to create an environment that will attract digital natives like Millennials and Generation Z. Using technology to give employees a better work-life balance is one way to improve this experience, whether it is through working remotely or through flexible hours.
Building an experiential workplace also requires a continuous loop of communication and a greater focus on individuals, including their goals and needs. Self-service HR software offers employees the means to give increased feedback and allows them to chart their personal development with ongoing managerial input.
It can empower employees, help them develop better peer relationships and make them feel more invested in an organisation.
Ultimately, an experiential workplace is about focusing on each person and how they are interacting with both the organisation and the people around them. Experiences have always shaped how we view people and whether we want to spend time with them. Employee experience is no different.
The challenge facing HR is to develop an environment that can offer a positive employee experience, a culture that will support it, and the strategies to provide it for existing and future employees.
Solutions Consultant Team Lead
Bruce has been working in the HR Software space for over 15 years.