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Optimize Employee Experience to Attract and Retain Top Talent

March 14, 2022

employee experience

A good organization provides employment, but a great organization provides employee experience.

Employees are essential building blocks that shape an organization and help run it effectively. As a holistic experience of an employee with a company, right from the job candidacy until the exit, employee experience plays a pivotal role in attracting top talent

While offering an incredible employee experience to attract talent is one thing, retaining them is quite another. That’s why organizations are now shifting their experience framework from the typical “need to work” to the all-new “want to work” model.

When employers fail to meet their employees' expectations for the workplace experience, employees begin to disengage, slow down on productivity, and look for other employment opportunities. Unless employees keep up with innovation, high-growth firms create a void in productivity as they grow at blazing speeds. The solution is to make the job role more meaningful.

Optimizing the work experience is key to retaining top talent in a dynamic and competitive industry. The more experiential your approach is, the better it resonates with the workforce and allows everyone to excel tactically.

Let's look at some compelling ways to tweak employee experience strategies for best results.

What is employee experience?

Employee experience (EX) is everything an employee sees and encounters at work. It has a broad meaning and encompasses all employee and employer interactions. It's one of the most valuable and wise investments a company can ever make.

Focusing on employee experience has gained momentum in recent years. Interestingly, EX in the workplace enables a company to flourish. Employees want their organizations to deliver an experience that meets and sometimes exceeds their expectations, is personalized, more meaningful, digital, and user-friendly. 

A strong employee experience strategy, like any other business initiative, is designed to improve an organization’s overall performance. Employees no longer want to be viewed as corporate workhorses. And the sooner this reality sinks in, the greater their loyalty and positive volitional attitude toward motivational tendencies will be greater.

Today, valuing employee relationships is more important. Work inspires people, not the office, so it matters that they feel valued to impact the organization. To build a strong employer brand, the framework must be laid to reinforce employee experience so that people feel accomplished rather than just another cog in the system.

Why is employee experience important?

The past decade has been a turbulent one in the corporate environment, with many factors transforming business, the economy, and society in unimaginable ways.

The transition was more evident in terms of employee experience. While companies are still figuring out how to navigate a disruptive economic environment, few business owners believe the problem is solvable.

If you work in human resources management (HRM), employee experience is a litmus test, as each move you make to solve ongoing issues has a ripple effect throughout the organization. Most business leaders understand the value and impact that employee experience can have on their company. 

Investing in employee experience not only helps deliver better employee engagement but also increases productivity by 21%, business profitability by about 22%, and decreases absenteeism rates by 37%.

Source: Inc

Businesses need to address the following three concerns to improve the employee experience and give it the much-needed attention.

1. Employee engagement

The relationship between an employee and employer is as fragile as a violin string. Employee engagement measures the strength of this relationship to determine how taut it is. 

Many businesses spend a considerable portion of their revenue on managing employee relationships. They want their people to be elated and inspired to be productive – something that can happen if the employee experience is promising. It also indicates how committed employees are to their organization.

2. Recruitment

Potential employees visit job sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to research a company before applying for a specific position. If anything, this demonstrates how naturally inquisitive they are to learn if they can adjust to the culture and expectations of the new company. 

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and an organization is only as powerful as its engaged employees. The better the employee experience, the more probable it is that existing employees will advocate your brand positively. As a result, it’d be easier to attract more high-value candidates that appreciate employee experience.

3. Retention

The bulk of the younger workforce is resigning prematurely. Early indoctrination into the culture and practices is one method for keeping employees longer than usual. 

It relieves workers from the burden of determining the compatibility of job and organizational expectations. A well-informed employee is less likely to leave an employer.

The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan analyzed 250 organizations and found out that businesses that prioritized employee experience received 4X more ranking points, 2X greater revenues, and 40% lower churn. It's more than speculative to believe that employee experience has a favorable influence on revenue, productivity, and culture. 

 

Source: SHRM


Delivering employee experience: 7 key stages

Given the importance of employee experience today, thoughtfully designing each stage of the employee journey not only assists you in attracting talent but also in winning in competitive markets and meeting high customer experience standards.

Here are seven stages that make up the employee experience:

7 stages of employee experienceSource: Xoxoday

1. Attract

Hiring the brightest minds is a contest for companies. With more employees taking a stand about their job expectations, it's critical to have a positive workplace experience as your brand's value proposition

Develop a great employer brand that employees want to be a part of and tie together the purpose, vision, and values. Make your workplace a talent development powerhouse. The easiest way to accomplish this is to keep your ear to the ground and respond to feedback. 

A best practice would be to actively monitor your online reputation and maintain a constant presence throughout social media.

2. Hire

Forcing clients through a convoluted purchasing process is the simplest way to lose them. It's the same with your recruits. They may drop out if the onboarding process is demanding or doesn’t respect the candidate's time and sentiments.

Respond to the candidate, even if they’re unlikely to finish the race. This creates a positive influence. If a rejected candidate's experience was undented, they’re more inclined to reapply for future possibilities. They may occasionally wind up as consumers or referring clients.

3. Onboard

The employee onboarding process is equally important to onboarding recruits. You never know if you got it right until you ask for feedback. After the candidate becomes an employee, they’re more open to feedback and do what it takes to voice their concerns. 

To relay feedback anonymously, incorporate technology that automatically collects and documents the feedback at every stage in the employee journey. For example, employee surveys that collect feedback throughout training and orientation can provide substantial quantitative information and insights. New employees shed light on how they perceive your operating style. 

These viewpoints have the potential to open doors to fresh perspectives, as well as uncover flaws overlooked for years. 

Smaller concerns that might blossom into larger issues can be remedied with a fresh set of eyes, resulting in a long-term relationship. The problem is that firms often wait too long and lose the competitive advantage that would propel them to the best employer brand.

4. Engage

Make seeking feedback an ongoing process throughout an employee's tenure to beat the competition for talent retention. The goal is to keep the relationship alive and mutually beneficial at all times. 

Today's companies require continuous input rather than an annual employee survey. Regular pulse surveys provide insights into current issues and a holistic way to optimize the employee experience.

5. Develop

Any employee who has spent a significant amount of time at the company and in their current role yearns to learn new concepts to increase productivity and engagement, making everyone a winner.

When progress is limited, employees feel the walls closing in, causing them to seek fresh air. This affects the bottom line and creates a vacuum when employees switch brands.

Annual performance reviews will go the way of dinosaurs as they prove ineffective in addressing current concerns. Such reviews are less common than prompt surveys, and employers could never be sure if they provide a significant benefit. Instead, timely feedback at every stage of the employee lifecycle informs employees that their insights drive change.

6. Exit

If you don't listen to your departing employees' opinions, you miss out on important insights that could otherwise point to previously unnoticed problems. Using exit interviews to solicit feedback from departing employees gives you their open perspectives. It must be planned with curiosity and significance to assess the cause.

If the reasons are valid, prioritize areas that require immediate action to prevent the issue from affecting other employees. Simply put, listening to the opinions of departing employees shows your commitment to improving employee engagement quality.

7. Alumni

The business ecosystem is a reflection of the actual world. Even if you think of the exit interview as the last phase, it’s actually a penultimate phase in the employee lifecycle.

Ex-employees don’t just vanish off the face of the map and obliterate their previous connections. They migrate and occasionally reappear as blips linked to their previous employment. 

They may return, knocking for opportunities, join your customer's brand, or be questioned about their past employment. Therefore, staying in touch with your former employees, building an alumni community, and involving them in company events can be a positive experience.

Employee experience framework

Employee experience includes, but is not limited to, work culture, morale, and trust. It’s easier to miss the substance of actions when not done correctly.

The experience framework is not dependent on a single function but takes into account factors at the molecular level. HR managers need to be fully involved in the process to understand and manage the issues that workers' issues.

The employee experience framework is a three-part model:

employee experience frameworkSource: Xoxoday

1. Empowerment

Employees who believe their bosses trust them feel more powerful.

Employees check for the following empowerment signs:

  • Employer’s willingness to delegate key responsibilities
  • Communication of objectives and expectations
  • Openness to autonomous working conditions
  • High levels of Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, and Optimism (HERO)

2. Engagement

Exceptional dedication and voluntary action promote a high level of engagement.

Engagement is influenced by:

  • Incentives and rewards
  • Opportunities for self-development
  • Quality-driven mindset
  • Broad understanding of the purpose
  • Organizational culture
  • Leadership vision

3. Enablement

From an employee perspective, a corporate culture that encourages talent is more progressive.

Companies should focus on:

  • Training programs
  • Designing relevant jobs and streamlining the process
  • Performance management
  • Intelligence gathering through collaboration
  • Resource upskilling

How to optimize your employee experience strategy

Your organization, goals, and culture are unique. Undeniably, employee experience can set your company apart from the rest in the talent market. Nevertheless, here’s what employees expect from a company and some essential tips for meeting their expectations.

1. Communicate the organization’s vision and objectives 

When employees comprehend their company’s strategic direction and value its objectives, they align and contribute more to work. Keep your organizational goals clear and explain how an employee’s role can help accomplish the right goals.

2. Recognize and reward your employees for their efforts

A holistic employee rewards and recognition program should include recognizing your peoples’ career milestones (from onboarding to years of service to retirement), performance, and personal milestones. These factors can help promote both organizational values and desired behaviors. 

A good RnR tactic should also include training the managers in delivering more meaningful, memorable, and personalized experiences.

3. Create a workplace culture that encourages collaboration, not competition

Employees functioning in a team-focused, cooperative environment are more comfortable and happy with their job roles. Of course, office politics can’t be ignored, especially when there’s competition. This can lead to a lack of collaboration and can even lower performance. Here, leaders and managers play a key role, embracing and encouraging collaboration rather than competition within teams.

4. Embrace diversity

Diversity and inclusion are the most crucial factors that employees measure when accepting job offers. If they see your organization has people across different cultures and backgrounds, they likely accept the offer and feel welcomed. This helps companies hire the best candidates and reduces turnover rates.

5. Communicate your organization’s strategic direction and objectives from time to time

Consistently and clearly explain the current status of your business and the direction it is going. Make sure this information is accessible to everyone in your organization (through reinforcement across different media).

6. Focus on employee well-being

Physical well-being (PWB) has a significant impact on business, and an unbalanced approach to PWB can negatively impact worker synergy. A slump in absenteeism indicates that the workplace is empowering employees in a variety of ways. 

Emotional support, openness to address issues, and readiness to act on employee proposals are just a few examples. The focus is also tackling loneliness, which appears to directly influence employee performance and experience. 

While employers already consider raises and perks as motivators,  the impact is amplified when employees are recognized for their efforts and their comments are acted upon.

Employee well-being is the epicenter of HR priorities

Today’s leaders know the power of employee experience and how it can deliver a great customer experience too. 

To follow suit, you need to see the employee experience from your employees' eyes. Listen to what they say and understand the type of workplace they want. Conduct regular employee surveys to collect feedback on various factors like culture, training programs, and performance management.

Whatever decisions you make, don't forget to put your people at the heart of your business.

Reevaluate and reinvigorate employee relations to build and sustain better employee relationships.

employee engagement software
Promote workplace positivity

Capture employee feedback, recognize their achievements, and build a great work culture with employee engagement software.

employee engagement software
Promote workplace positivity

Capture employee feedback, recognize their achievements, and build a great work culture with employee engagement software.

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