Companies and brands spend endless hours on improving customer experience. But what about the employee experience? It was named as one of the emerging HR trends and we think it's here to stay.
In an effort to drive retention and increase performance, employers are focusing on making the office a place that more employees want to be instead of having to be. Today we'll cover the elements of how to improve the employee experience.
Why do people leave companies?
Improving employee experience is a multi-faceted approach to attract and retain top talent while driving engagement. The number one reason for people leaving companies is disengagement. Victor Lipman describes in a Forbes blog post why people leave companies -
"Vast numbers of employees are disengaged. By “disengaged,” I mean not emotionally committed to the organizations they work for, and therefore in all likelihood not highly motivated and fully productive."
Gallup found that globally 87% of employees are not engaged, yet it's been shown that highly engaged workforces surpass their peers by 147% in earnings per share!
Today, the old ways of running a workplace (annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies) don't bring the results companies really need. Leaders must gain clearer insights into employees' evolving wants and needs and constantly learn how to build an exceptional workplace.
Many companies are focusing on culture but it’s only one piece of the pie. As defined by industry expert Jacob Morgan there are 3 things that make up every employee experience.
What tools are being used to get the job done? Tech environment can include software, user interface, hardware, devices, apps. Technology will affect the future of work and the way job training will be done. Giving employees access to tools that allow them to easily get their job done can greatly impact performance and ultimately your bottom line.
Oftentimes employers think this needs to be a grandiose investment. However, with the right small changes or plans in place, you can make small investments packed with big results.
Having software or tools such as pathways allow employees to see their performance, know milestones, improvements, and accomplishments can increase transparency. It also creates a work environment where employees are self-motivated because they feel informed and empowered. These all contribute to higher engagement within the workplace. After all who doesn't want to get the job done in the most efficient and enjoyable way as possible?
Your physical environment at work is literally that. What is seen, smelled, and tasted. When you come into your office is it multiple rooms? Cubicles? Open space? The aesthetics of an office can have a big impact on the feel and productivity (or unproductivity) of employees in an office.
Depending on what your brand or organization stands for, you'll want to consider different seating arrangements and setups. Many employers are seeing great results with a mix of open areas for collaboration as well as more sectioned off areas where individuals can work independently.
Artwork, color choices, even the sound and smells of an office factor into the physical environment. Research and consider what elements of a physical environment will be best for your company.
Many times this is the variable that is concentrated on most often. This is described as the vibe or personality of a company. Is this a place where employees will be dressed formally or is a more laid back place where jeans or joggers are sported? What's the protocol for employees to speak with managers or for meetings to happen?
The Cultural environment is also is affected by the leadership style. There are many things that leaders need to take into account in order to create a company culture that raises employee engagement in the workplace:
1. Do not overload your employees.
Pay attention to how you split the work among your co-workers. Often times, managers are increasing the workload on some of their best team members because they are providing the best results. Avoid burning out high-performing employees because it will bring some huge disadvantages in the long-term. Employees will collapse under the strain, or they will become demotivated to continue performing at a high level.
Moreover, make sure to have a good backup/succession plan in place. Just because you don't have the budget to hire more people doesn't mean you are "allowed" to overload the existing ones. If needed, split the workload by cross-training other employees so that they can help with certain tasks and even be trained to take over the position if needed.
2. Offer competitive salary packages.
If you want to keep top talented people, then you’re going to have to pay them well! No matter how great your perks or company culture are, nothing beats a strong paycheck that is at or above the industry average.
Make sure to pay your employees what they're worth and be competitive with similar companies in your industry. Allow room for future promotions and pay raises as certain milestones are hit and the employee brings more value to your company.
3. Talk to your employees.
Make them feel they can share their honest opinions and the problems they're currently dealing with. Do your best to help them sort things out, or if you cannot, find ways or other people to help.
Having regular meetings that are not only focused on work-related topics and statistics, but also focuses on them as humans is crucial to building their trust in you. Make employees aware that your doors are always open if they need to speak with you.
Of course, take proper actions based on their feedback. Address their complaints and inform them once you've solved their issues and also tell them which issues cannot be resolved and why. Be as sincere as possible.
4. Review their work several times a year.
Provide positive and where applicable constructive feedback whenever necessary. Do not wait 1 year to inform them how well they are working or if they need to improve in some ways.
Share their good results with upper management and their peers, and don’t forget to reward them once in a while! Rewards can come in many ways - from monetary rewards to diplomas, company-branded gifts, extra vacation days, vouchers or team dinners.
Having regular one-to-ones is a win for both parties - employees appreciate when they are heard and having someone really interested in their opinions. Another benefit is that managers can learn about their problems and take proper action.
5. Hire selectively.
Hire only those individuals with whom you feel you can work with, not only those who have the best resume and work experience. The most qualified person is not always the one who will help your company in the long-term.
At ProSky, we believe that hiring the right candidate is also about finding the best cultural fit and a variety of behavioral skills. Try out candidates before you hire with performance-based challenges and projects where your team can interact and evaluate potential employees in real-time environments.
Having the possibility to select from a bunch of applicants is great, but there are times when searching for a very specific/narrowed role you receive just a few resumes. Even in these cases, ask as many questions as possible just to be sure you'll be able to work with the person.
By taking into account all the elements of the workplace, HR teams and employers can work together to create a positive employee experience. Just as companies map out customer experiences, they are also mapping out the employee journey. From hiring to training and promotion each step of your employee's journey will impact your bottom line. It's up to all departments and HR to work on improving the employee experience.
Approach the employee experience with the same level of dedication you do to the customer experience. If you can create an environment your employees want to go to instead of a place they feel forced to you will see results. When employees are engaged and happy you'll notice higher retention, improved internal relations as well as better service to your customers.
Customize and improve your employee's journey or see how you can better strategize for an elevated employee experience with our pathways feature today.