Business owners have always recognised the importance of the customer experience (CX) and how this impacts the overall company, however how many leaders have stopped to consider the value of the employee experience (EX) and how this affects the organisation? Gone are the days where employees just came to work to earn a salary, there appears to be demand for a pleasant working environment, being part of the corporate culture and an overwhelming need for employee perks and wellbeing initiatives. Times are changing and the focus within companies are shifting from employee motivation and employee engagement, now the buzz is all about employee experience.
So what exactly is employee experience?
Back to basics - the employee experience refers to the sum total of everything an employee experiences with the organisation, right from the interview process to their interaction with management and teammates, the values and culture, the work / life balance, how issues are dealt with… the list is endless!
What employee experience is NOT
Commonly misunderstood, a lot of organisation’s think the EX is about a drinks trolley on a Friday, the ping-pong table in the staff room and ice-creams in the hot weather. An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) contains what companies offer over and above remuneration to attract and retain its employees, therefore this being an important element of the employee experience but not the sum total.
How to cultivate and improve the employee experience
Companies need to remember that their employees are in actual fact their first and most important customers – they can make and break a company. Organisations need to put in time, budget and resources into hearing what makes their employees tick, what employees want and need and how to improve the working environment in order to enhance the employee experience. The “employee” part in employee experience is key. Companies need their input and should never make assumptions what employees are truly after. There needs to be an ear to the ground and two effective methods are through frequent engagement meetings where employees can voice their opinions, as well as through anonymous internal surveys. Give your employees the autonomy and let them be the decision makers as it is them who own and shape the employee experience.
Research by The Employee Experience Advantage’s author Jacob Morgan revealed that companies who invested heavily in their employee experience are included 11.5x more often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work and 28x more often listed among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. Therefore, organisations need to optimize every touchpoint that employees come into contact with and create a holistic, integrated experience at every opportunity of the employee journey for overall business success. Here are some tips how:
• Encourage honest communication
There needs to be open communication channels for an effective dialogue to happen. Employees to be feel comfortable and safe if they are to be open and share the information companies need to hear for improve the EX. Companies need to reassure employees that there will be no negative repercussions and nobody will be at jeopardy if they provide authentic feedback. For this, there needs to be a trust and respect across all levels in a company.
• Embrace technology
Powerful, user-friendly technology is an integral part of a positive employee experience and has the potential to streamline communication and processes in your company as well as will improve culture and engagement. An Intranet is one piece of technology which allows companies to interact with the employees on multiple levels and visa versa. Here employees can explore and partake in the fabric and culture of a business. Companies can use these networks for peer-peer recognition, leadership articles and two way communication.
• Make every moment count
The employee experience needs to be holistic so companies need to be aware of every interaction point, be in mundane weekly status meetings, to performance reviews and feedback sessions. Employee interaction needs to be empathetic, reassuring and genuine – a simple opportunity to make an excellent experience.
• Consider work / life balance
If a company truly wants to enhance the experience of all their employees, it is their duty of care to encourage a healthy work / life balance, where employees are not constantly squeezed and have the opportunity to have a vigorous balance where they’re not expected to be available 24/7. Offering flexi-working hours, giving employee perks with lifestyle benefits like discounted gym memberships and cheap cinema tickets, are some ways to ensure employees are stimulated outside the work in a holistic manner.
If you would like to find out how Staff Treats can contribute to part of your company’s overall employee experience, one of our Engagement consultants will be happy to discuss this.