What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience is the sum of all experiences that employees gather within a company. Therefore, all interactions and impressions from the hiring process to the exit interview impact the employee experience.
Paychecks can not buy passion. Motivation and enthusiasm for a job come from a positive Employee Experience. What is needed to motivate your employees doesn’t require huge efforts: “Research indicates that employees have three basic needs: interesting work, recognition for their commitment, and information about what is happening in the company,” states author Zig Ziglar.
The Connection Between Employee Experience and Customer Experience
The employee experience indirectly affects the company’s success. After all, satisfied employees make customers satisfied. Companies that invest in enhancing their employees’ experience are more successful than companies that are indifferent to their internal working conditions.
A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that the profit of companies who care for their employee workplace is on average four times higher. The revenue is twice as high. Companies that invest in Employee Experience even beat the performance of the companies listed on the S&P 500, the NASDAQ and Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Companies should therefore focus on how employees perceive the organization on a day-to-day basis. It starts with taking care of the workplace and continues through the working environment to the daily working routine. Communication is an essential element: a positive company culture based on transparent communication enables employees to address issues openly and honestly.
Often, the easy to solve issues are those that lead to demotivation or dissatisfaction. Managers showing a genuine interest in improving the everyday working environment make the crucial step towards making the employee experience pleasant.
Why Is Employee Experience Necessary?
A good employee experience improves the customer experience remarkably: investing in employee experience increases productivity and customer satisfaction. This is the finding of a study published by Citrix.
Citrix surveyed 160 managers on this topic. More than a third (38.8 %) were convinced that engaged employees increase customers’ satisfaction. Furthermore, 37.5% of respondents noticed an increase in productivity. About 28% of them noticed that engaged employees are more creative.
A good employee experience presents the advantages even in recruiting: the better the employee experience, the easier for companies to recruit highly talented specialists. Having a high-skilled staff ensures competitiveness in the long term. Moreover, with a good employee experience, the employees stay with the company longer. That significantly reduces your turnover rate.
The following hard facts can also prove that satisfied employees are more creative: companies with a good employee experience are twice as likely to result in the Forbes Most Innovative Companies. They are also 28 times more likely to appear on the list of the most innovative companies. Investing in employee experience, therefore, ensures the company’s success in the long term. The bottom line is that this investment leads to an increase in:
- Customer satisfaction
- Employee retention, which starts with the onboarding process.
How Do Companies Create a Positive Employee Experience?
Although most executives are aware of the importance of providing the employees with a good employee experience, companies often do not take all the necessary measures to achieve it. Only about 20% of CEOs believe they are investing enough in the employee experience. This is the result of a study carried out by Deloitte. Even though enhancing employee experience does not require a big effort, companies are not moving in this direction.
It is of utmost importance to create an open company culture. This regards a good management style, positive working atmosphere and transparent communication. It also includes the appreciation of employees and friendly interaction between colleagues.
Furthermore, the employees should be able to communicate what they would like to improve openly. For example, “What bothers you about your daily work routine?” is a good opening question for an employee interview. This is one way for HR managers to detect the root cause of job dissatisfaction quickly.
The option of providing anonymous feedback can also help companies move forward. In this way, employees dare to make grievances public without fearing to deteriorate their working conditions.
The interaction between colleagues also says a lot about the working atmosphere in the company. For example, do employees see each other as a team or as competitors? Team-building measures, company dinners, excursions or other events can help here to strengthen team cohesion.
Showing appreciation to your employee is another essential measure to adopt. That means that when employees carry out the task in an excellent way, their work should be acknowledged. Nonetheless, the company should always show appreciation to its employees by considering their opinions and listening to their advice.
An excellent way to value employees’ opinions is through employee referrals. Employees can refer friends and acquaintances for an open position within the company. Whether the referral is successful, the employee should receive a bonus. Rewarding for referrals expresses appreciation by saying: We trust you and your referrals.
At the same time, referrals provide the company with candidates who share the company’s vision and values. It is also proven that referred candidates stay longer with the company.
Ideally, the workplace fits the company image and the company brand. In a small start-up, employees can turn a blind eye to imperfect corners or improvised workstations. In a large company, employees’ expectations are greater. Anyhow, all companies should enable the employees to feel comfortable in their workplaces.
The work atmosphere should be positive and friendly in order to support the employees in doing their job well. A pleasant workplace can have ergonomic office furniture, warm colours or a common room with a table football. Ideally, it could also have a rooftop terrace for coffee breaks in the sunlight. Nevertheless, what is necessary for a positive workplace and what employees want or need depends entirely on the company.
Unlike the workplace, technical equipment is not a matter of design. If employees do not have access to the tools they need, this will negatively affect their work motivation.
Especially in times of home office and digitalization, companies need to bring their technology up to date. Companies that are not able to hold video conferences or use time-tracking software will soon be left behind.
That is why companies should openly communicate with their employees. What tools do employees need in their work routine that enable them to perform properly? In the best case, companies will receive good feedback from employees. To double-check if something is missing, companies can always conduct a survey on their internal working conditions. And afterwards, they should react accordingly to the findings.
Four Stages of the Employee Experience
Companies should keep in mind that the technical equipment, workplace design and company culture go hand in hand. All three aspects are essential for providing employees with a good work experience.
The employee life cycle runs in four stages. At each stage, employees should be provided with technical equipment, a suitable workplace and information about the company culture.
Recruiting: How does the employee feel about the application process? How quickly do they receive feedback on their application? How long does it take for the company to make a final decision? Digital employee referral programs, such as the Firstbird platform, can help speed up the hiring process and thus improve the employee experience.
Onboarding: Does the employee have all the important information on the onboarding procedure? Are they provided with a contact person from day one? How welcome does the new employee feel? How does the onboarding work?
Developing: How does a company handle the career advancement of its employees? What is further training employees can take advantage of? What career opportunities does the company offer?
Offboarding: How strongly do companies express their appreciation to their employees? How much understanding do they show for their decision?
Some companies are committed to improving their workplace design. At the same time, they neglect the company culture and technical equipment. Employees then sit in the most modern offices with beautifully designed common areas. At the same time, the technical equipment is missing, and the company culture is not well defined.
Likewise, other companies focus entirely on enhancing the company culture. The company’s mission and direction are clear to all employees, thereby they identify with the company’s values and goals. Although, what employees are missing are the technical tools to implement them.
And finally, there is also the case of those companies that consider themselves technology-driven and are always up-to-date when it comes to technical equipment. However, their workplace design might be outdated, and the company culture might have fallen by the wayside.
A solution for providing a suitable workplace can be found in conducting regular employee surveys used to measure the employee mood. In the same way, one-on-one meetings with employees should take place at least every six months so that managers can receive and provide feedback to the employees.
An Example of a Positive Employee Experience
The most successful companies manage to cover all three aspects equally. Google is one of them. The pictures of beautiful offices, relaxation rooms and common areas with table football went viral on social media. Google is therefore widely known for its unique workplace designs.
What Google shows us is that the workplaces are not only functional but also reflect the corporate culture. Every employee can bring out the best in such a working atmosphere. Since Google is a tech company, all the necessary technical equipment is, of course, also provided.
Google does even more: if a technological device is not available on the market, an employee will simply invent it. This is what the Google Cloud Platform is used for. Furthermore, the company’s slogan “Don’t be evil” – or “Do the right thing” – sets the basis for the company culture.
Checklist for a Positive Employee Experience
Anyone who tries to copy the global corporation fails. After all, HR managers always have to adapt the strategy to their own company.
A checklist can help here.
Status quo: Is there any problem in any of the stages? In which of the four stages does the problem occur? What needs to be changed?
Goals: What is the final result the company expects? What is the target?
Target group: Having a well-defined target group is the key factor for success. What do employees expect? What are their needs? What stage are they in? A full-time employee may have different needs from employees working part-time. For instance, employees working in home offices have different needs from employees working in the office.
Measures: What measures must companies adopt in order to move from the status quo to the achievement of the goal? These can be, for example, implementing tech innovations but also introducing some more structural changes.
For example, companies can establish internal promotion programs to support employees if they complain about a lack of career advancement or promotion opportunities. If, on the other hand, there is a lack of appreciation and transparent communication, employee referral programs can be beneficial.
By providing referrals, employees can have a say in recruiting and receive a monetary reward when a referred candidate is hired. Additionally, employee referral programs make onboarding easier for new employees. Implementing an employee referral recruiting strategy improves the employee experience at any level.
Performance reporting: When companies introduce the new measures, they should constantly monitor if they are on the right path to achieving the desired results. This can only be done through appropriate reporting.
How many employees know about the new initiative? How many are using the new tool? Ideally, companies obtain direct feedback from employees in one-on-one meetings or through surveys.
Of course, when it comes to deciding on new tools to implement, the main actors are the executive directors, the HR department and HR managers. However, when open and transparent communication is employed within the company, each employee can also participate in the decision-making process. This is the only way to generate honest feedback and involve employees in important decisions.
Digital Employee Experience
The term digital employee experience refers to the use of digital content and media. The younger generation, in particular, use the Google engine to search for information and access the content they are looking for within just a few seconds.
Employees who have to dig through catalogues, or can only find the answers in a long meeting, can quickly get frustrated. The goal of a company should be to provide employees with the information they need quickly and easily.
The personal experience should not differ too much from the work experience. It is not about digitizing every process. It is all about providing information as quickly as possible so that employees can do their jobs efficiently.
Companies can solve the discrepancy between personal and work experience by, for example:
- Providing services that enable employees to complete their tasks quickly and efficiently. Examples of good knowledge management are internal wiki and FAQs pages
- Reducing IT response time to a minimum so that the employees can resolve their technical issues quickly
- Establishing a direct line from IT to employees, through which employees and IT can communicate quickly in both directions
The Future of Employee Experience: Employees Are Satisfied When They Love Their Jobs
“The only way to do a great job is to love what you do,” Steve Jobs once said. Of course, that’s an ideal working condition. Anyhow, not every job is a dream job. Even though every job has the potential for employees to enjoy it.
If your employees enjoy coming into the office in the morning and look forward to work, you have already achieved a lot as a company. A good company culture, well-designed workplace and up-to-date technological equipment can build a pleasant work environment and create a productive work routine.
Every action and step in this direction is a piece of the puzzle that contributes to the company’s overall success. When employees share the company’s mission and values, they work efficiently towards achieving its overall goal.
For employees to feel important members of the company, they need to experience a strong team spirit. And, of course, they must receive fair feedback and appreciation for their work. Offering a positive employee experience to the employees is the key to having a successful company.