The global labour market has witnessed a radical shift in the way organisations treat their employees. Forward-thinking companies are acutely aware of how a positive employee experience paves the way for unparalleled customer experience. It is not only the paying customers who are treated with priority and a customer-first mentality, but the people responsible for acquiring and retaining these customers are also given equal importance.
The days of attracting talents with free lunch and a fantastic health plan are gone. To engage and retain a skilled employee, the management team must work on and personalise all interactions - from pre-hire dialogues to the exit interview (in short, touchpoints), journey milestones, and employee expectations.
Candidates assess future employers from the very start of the talent acquisition experience and make quick judgments about what life will be like for them in the organization, based on how they interact with the enterprise during the recruiting cycle.
Ensure that your employees enjoy an integrated experience with professional, emotional, and financial support. The ideal employee experience should incorporate every element that can have an impact on the staff's physical and mental health, starting from a sense of belonging, security, confidence that they can influence their own work condition, trust and autonomy to workplace hygiene, opportunities to grow and contribute to the success of the organisation.
As Mark Levy, the former head of Employee Experience at Airbnb, puts it eloquently, "Anything that sets employees up for success or improves our culture should be a part of Employee Experience.
"It is unwise to assume this can be implemented in a day; employee experience is a long-term plan that should be adopted and developed over time. The end goal is to have a community of engaged, committed employees who are eager to work towards a common goal, to deliver exceptional service, and to (eventually) act as advocates for the organisation. The end result is reduced stress and in-house politics, enriched customer experience, increased productivity and profit per employee."
It is the management team's responsibility to get rid of siloed departments, take accountability of the entire employee journey, and view it from a holistic perspective. If done right, you can visualise five major areas where you can focus on improving the employee experience for the entire organisation.
PwC's 2017 Employee Engagement Landscape Study shows that the primary obstacle affecting people's engagement negatively is “ doing work for others that is not part of my job." When the functional divisions work separately in silos, unaware of organisational goals or the mission they're on, the enthusiasm and commitment to work dwindle.
Employees need to know that their work is meaningful, and they are contributing to the ultimate objective. With transparent goal management and open conversations, this understanding can be achieved. It's not a rare occasion for an employee to feel burned out and frustrated due to lack of direction - they know what they're supposed to do, but they have no clue why they are doing it. It is crucial (especially for huge corporations) to have all your employees on the same page and to move in the same direction to fulfil one common purpose.
Both the physical and psycho-social work environment play their part in ensuring that the employee is feeling contented and secured. They deserve a safe environment where they are treated with respect, where others recognise their values and achievements, and they receive support and empathy during tough times. Employees reach their potential and take pride in their work only when they are surrounded by people who encourage them, and conditions that are conducive to productive work.
Several organisations still grapple with concepts of diversity, inclusion, workplace bullying and biases that affect how employees view their employers and their values. In these cases, top-line executives should take the responsibility of educating their co-workers and driving the organisation toward positivity. To stay on top of things, seek your employees' inputs and feedback regularly on grave matters affecting their mental health and well-being. This enables you to identify issues and decide on a plan of action in real-time.
Modern performance management
Employees often feel that their supervisors are not acknowledging or appreciating the work they have put in. In several organisations, performance reviews are tied with compensation and other benefits that push employees to perform better. Leaders often skip regular feedback meetings or fail to have open conversations with their team due to lack of time which leads to employee demotivation. It is vital that you align your employees' needs, goals, and ambitions to the organisation's objectives and missions. It's high time for companies to start automating the process of performance management to make it more efficient and cost-effective. Promote a culture of complete transparency and team collaboration by setting personal and professional goals for all levels, encouraging systematic one-on-ones, and tracking activities so that you can inspire them to do more or celebrate their achievements.
One of the winners of 2019 Sweden's Best Managed Companies, Bisnode, encourages its employees to set the frequency of their own one-on-ones. By giving the staff the power to decide when they want to talk to their leaders, they are cultivating a company culture that's free, engaged, transparent, and people-oriented.
Growth opportunities & skill development
No employee wants to be stuck in the same role, doing the same tasks day after day with no growth curve in the vicinity. Your talents offer unique skills that need to be honed and celebrated. The management team should drive training sessions and workshops to keep everyone updated on the fields they specialise in. Employees should be able to upgrade their skills and knowledge at their own pace to contribute more to the organisation.
These growth opportunities for leaders and staff help build trust, stronger connections and reduce apathy. Employees feel more motivated and optimistic because their advanced knowledge will help them get ahead in their careers.
Trust in leadership
The degree of trust that employees have in their leaders directly impacts their overall performance. They expect their managers to be fair, unbiased and treat them as individuals with original thoughts and opinions. Managers, on the other hand, need to invest in their employees on a continuous basis to help them grow and succeed.
The moment employees start feeling like they are being exploited, they sever all emotional connections with the organisation. They look up to their leaders for direction and inspiration, which fuels the need to reach their potential. The company culture, mission, and vision help employees stay on track and strive to achieve a common objective. When the leaders' actions deviate from their words or promises, the employees feel duped, and they look for a way out if that suits them better.
Humanise your employee experience by being personal, transparent, and honest in your approach. For your employees, you are creating a safe workplace where they are comfortable enough to share their thoughts, where they receive the support and encouragement required to achieve their goals. For your organisation, you are moulding a culture that is strengthened by positivity, team collaboration, meaningfulness, purpose, and mutual trust.