Employee experience is ‘what people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employee journey at an organisation’ according to CultureAmp. The employee experience can be described differently to specific individuals. You could see the employee experience (EX for short), as the onboarding and induction process for a new hiree, and how that impacts their perception and first impression of the company.
With every company, whether it’s a large organisation or a startup; the heart of it all is its employees. The modern world is continuously revolutionising where Millennials and Generation Z are entering the workplace. As these individuals search for jobs and start their career many are not just looking for a job that offers adequate or exceptional pay, but they are looking for the employee experience that will, in turn, provide them with a stimulating work environment that will help them grow.
What exactly is EX?
The employee experience can refer to employees day-to-day interactions that build their working life. It incorporates everything from the employee’s first interaction with an organisation to their daily work and finally to their opinion when they leave. An employees impression of a company is significant to ensure a positive EX for future candidates.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all had pleasant, neutral and not so pleasant employee experiences. With these occurrences, it’s also helped us to identify what we want when it comes to the EX. With the average person (more specifically the younger generation) having more than 12 jobs in their lifetime, each new placement presents itself with different expectations of what the employee experience will consist of. The first step of the employee experience is the onboarding process.
The onboarding is the initial process where a new employee is given resources and guidance on working at their new workplace. As well as identifying the culture and set requirements. Onboarding is key to the employee experience as it lays out the expectations and the work environment that will eventually become the norm for the new hiree.
By starting with a poor onboarding process, it can hinder and affect the employee turnover rate, where 23% of new employees leave their job within the first year. This process of engaging and preparing new employees needs to start from the moment they have accepted the offer, signed the contract and every day after.
Onboarding needs to be maintained and engaged throughout the new hires first day, all the way past the 6-month and 12-month mark; in a way, onboarding should never stop. By implementing this process, it creates the opportunity for new hires to feel valued, respected, and appreciated – this all comes back to the overall employee experience.
By having an onboarding process that is paperless and mobile-based, it can significantly improve your candidate experience, in turn, raising the employee experience as they choose to continue with the process.
Paperless onboarding not only quickens the process but allows candidates to access their paperwork and forms, as well as digitally signing contracts and sending it over in a few moments. Instead of receiving paperwork through the mail or having to print, fill out, scan, fax over documents; candidates can do all this and more through their mobile device. By implementing digital signing and constant communication, it will lower candidates ghosting recruiters. This is due to them being kept in the loop and not feel disconnected.
Keep your candidates in the loop. And also, ensure everyone involved in the recruiting and hiring process is aware of the changes through internal communications.
Why is the EX so important?
Think of it like this; if you have unhappy employees, you will have an unhappy business. It’s incredible how much the employee experience can affect and unconsciously hinder the success and financial growth of a company.
The cost of turnover in Australia is estimated at $3.8 billion per year, as well as $385 million in avoidable recruitment cost, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC). The hours lost, the resources used, the costs wasted, it all adds up; therefore ensuring a positive EX will not only help engage and keep your employees committed and loyal to the company. But it will also further ensure the company maintains its finances and reputation at the forefront of its industry.
Organisations need to focus on what can help make their employees happy. This can be done by increasing their retention and concentrating on helping their employees become more engaged and find success ‘by building positive work relationships, making good on promises made during interviews, and providing a career road map’ said Sharlyn Lauby, president of the ITM Group, Inc.
More importantly, a positive EX is the one thing that helps get your employees out of bed. They won’t even consider calling in sick, let alone look for a new job. Companies that can motivate and better engage their employees not only help their new hires with their wellbeing and overall performance but consequently, it can positively impact the company as well.
How do we improve the EX?
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. Sir Richard Branson Founder of Virgin Group states that your employees should always be put first. This sentiment reflects the idea that if your employees are not happy, then your customers and stakeholders won’t be given the best service. Whether you agree on this or not, it makes sense how your company should put focus and attention on building and learning how to attain a successful employee experience.
When it comes to improving the EX, many could say to engage with your staff. Keep in contact, buy them a coffee, organise a team lunch and so on and so on. Sure that’s great, and it does help. But improving such a thing takes practice and an understanding of what each employee needs and requires.
Sure you could incorporate casual Fridays and Taco Tuesday. You could even renovate your office to be more open and stimulating. But remember that the way your employees feel about working at the company is MORE important than the little perks you include. As discussed before, the EX helps increase employee engagement, reduces employee turnover, increases customer satisfaction, attracts the best talent, improves productivity and teamwork and of course saves costs, time and resources. Now, how can we improve on it? Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to improve your companies Employee Experience.
Changes to consider
First, consider updating your onboarding process and how the recruitment journey may perhaps be broken. If the beginning of the process is going well, and then somewhere in the middle or at the end things don’t quite go as planned, look back and consider making some alterations. Enboarder says to ‘make managers accountable and involve them in the process. Socialise employees into the company’s culture, processes, and values’.
New hires need to feel a connection to their new employer. Not just learn how to use the photocopy machine. It needs to transcend over teaching the basics and where their desk is situated. If you have an onboarding system that needs improvement, consider the points discussed prior; digital signing, mobile-enabled and internal communication between the stakeholders
Be open communicating with your employees, and make them feel safe and comfortable to come to you with a problem. It’s better your employees tell you straight away if they’re struggling to make a deadline than leave you in the dark. More obstacles will arise this way. Managers and supervisors need to check in with their employees to see what they’re doing for the day. See if they’re facing any problems or restrictions. Keep them motivated and show them gratitude when they hit their KPIs and complete a task.
Seek Clarity and Feedback Early and Ongoing
Companies can even conduct morning meetings and discuss what’s on everyone’s agenda. Morning sessions can help start the morning with proper engagement and productivity. It will not only wake up your team to the busy day ahead but it will show them how you want to know and be a part of their journey.
Go deeper within your company and conduct quantitative research to uncover how your teams are dealing with their EX. Uncover what they feel the company needs to improve on. Then, statistically use this information to reflect on once you’ve made specific changes to improve the EX. With such statistic, your onboarding and employee experience can be altered, changed and improved. By conducting surveys and polls, it will further connect the company to its current employees and hopefully build a more open conversation on the improvements it needs to make.
Engaging with your employees can start with a simple Good morning and how are you today? Yes, it may seem like the essential thing to do and who wouldn’t do that from the beginning? But at the end of the day think of it like this. You won’t have employees let alone experience without a successful onboarding process.