The pandemic challenged employees to navigate new working conditions along with increased personal demands — and challenged employers to respond appropriately to the changing needs of their workforce. The result is a greater emphasis on employee experience, including, among other things, workplace flexibility, mental health support and creating a sense of community. Employees are now seeking work environments that support their overall well-being, provide opportunities for growth, and allow them to feel valued and engaged.
Employee experience is important, but it doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all recipe for improvement. It’s a strategy, not a process, that calls for ongoing investment and attention, and it will be different for every company. In this post, we’ll touch on some of the highlights to show why it’s significant and how you can begin improving your own organization’s employee experience.
Why employee experience is important
Thanks to the pandemic and to changes in the social climate, workers are no longer motivated by salary and benefits alone. Employees are looking for authentic engagement and meaningful work, and they’re also looking for a company that supports their overall well-being and takes action on critical social issues, such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In short, they want a voice, and many are willing to move to other jobs — and even take a pay cut — to get it.
A better employee experience is good for staff, of course, but it’s good for employers, too. Companies benefit from increased productivity, lower turnover, a better reputation (and, consequently, higher quality candidates), and improved communication and collaboration. Workplace flexibility, for example, leads to higher job performance; transparency and trust lead to lower turnover rates, and good onboarding has a direct effect on the length of tenure.
What shapes employee experience?
Employee experience is based on company culture, and as such, it’s vital to support it at the executive level. While it includes employee work experience, it encompasses much more.
Josh Bersin has identified the following six pillars of employee experience:
- Strong management
- A positive workplace, including digital, physical and cultural aspects
- Meaningful work
- Health and well-being
- Opportunity for growth
- Trust in the organization
Improving employee experience
The needs, goals and desires of employees vary, sometimes drastically, depending on the company, the industry, the region and other factors; they may also change over time. It’s important, therefore, to create an ongoing dialogue with your workforce about their needs and values.
Every department has a part to play in improving experience, but HR plays a crucial role in creating this dialogue and designing services tailored to their employees’ needs. Middle managers are also crucial as they have access to the majority of the workforce. However, many are so busy with day-to-day responsibilities that they don’t have the bandwidth to support experience initiatives and often need to be empowered to embrace them.
Once a dialogue is established, follow-through is crucial — a sure way to destroy worker trust is to promise or imply changes that don’t materialize. Make sure you’re able to invest in experience based on the feedback you receive. Flexibility and a willingness to pivot as necessary are crucial.
And finally, don’t stop. Employee experience is an ongoing, iterative process that never ends. The point isn’t to finish, but to continuously improve.
It’s vital to measure employee experience with ongoing data so you can understand what is working and what isn’t. You should survey your team before and after creating new initiatives, and also look at turnover rates, productivity, participation in benefit programs and more. Advanced people analytics software can give you valuable data about trends in your organization.
There’s so much more…
There’s a lot to cover with employee experience — understanding it, improving it and measuring it. We can’t do justice to all the interconnecting facets in a single blog post, but if you would like to learn how a better employee experience can benefit both your workforce and your bottom line, please fill out the form below to find out how BPM can help.