Saurabh Wani is a marketer at ZoomShift, an employee scheduling tool. He has worked as an HR recruiter for over 3 years before moving to marketing. He loves traveling and can be seen binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S when he is not working
Pub: March 14 2022
Upd: September 10 2022
As per Gallup, when employees are engaged enough, the companies can get 21% more profitable. Employee experience is indeed increasingly becoming a major focus area for organizations.
Just a couple of years ago, companies were in a race to be the most customer-centric until they realized that it's even more crucial to be ‘employee centric’. After all, it's the employees who interact with your customers and the prospects at different touchpoints. You ignore your employees, they ignore your customers. The more cared for, respected, and valued the employees feel, the more invested and loyal they become.
So, how do you exactly improve employee experience? As per Josh Bersin, Employee Experience primarily comprises five elements- meaningful work, hands-on management, productive environment, growth opportunity, trust in leadership, and health & wellbeing. It starts from the time you onboard a new employee — the perfect time to set the tone for their experience and connect with them.
We have further broken these elements down for you in the blog below. Let's begin!
1. Build a great onboarding experience
The first interaction as an employee for a new hire happens during onboarding. While they must be given a walkthrough of the company's vision, culture, and policies. It’s a prerequisite to tailor the program differently for different departments and job grades.
For instance, the onboarding program should be different for a new joiner in customer service and a new joiner in marketing. Thereafter, they must be informed and given access to the tools they can use. The new hires can further be assigned a buddy/mentor to help with the assigned tasks and settle at work.
2. Conduct one-on-ones
Employee experience is no longer an activity that can or should be managed by HRs only, it’s an ongoing event. The relationship every employee has with their team manager, and the company matters extensively. One of the best ways to build and strengthen the relationship is via one-on-one meetings.
Team meetings are great to discuss the work agenda, progress and recognize excellent work, but one on one meetings must happen at least once a month; frequently in case of alarming change in employee’s performance.
It leaves room for discussion and allows the employee to open up, not everything, good or bad, can be said in front of everyone. This exercise helps build trust in leadership — an important factor to ensure a great employee experience.
3. Improve internal communication
In many companies, the role of internal communication is restricted to disseminating company news, achievements, and such. Most fail to realize how internal communication can act as a catalyst in improving and maintaining employee experience. Just by making the internal communications more interactive and engaging, you can create a humble community of employees who advocate you in their circles and work dedicatedly to deliver work that impacts.
Whichever tool you use, try building a calendar as you do for social platforms. The difference? Here you think of the ways to engage your employees. Posting basic motivational quotes, messages from the founder, asking employees to showcase their talents, sharing puns as long as they are not offensive— everything works! Notch it up by deciding the theme for the month and experimenting with different formats like videos, graphics, gifs, etc.
4. Good compensation
The work we do— it all boils down to the primary need to earn well and build the lifestyle we want. So, good compensation has always been one unsaid component of great employee experience. Ensuring that your employees are always satisfied with what you pay is quite easy. Start with hiring the employee at or around the hike he expected, keep reviewing the performance and reward good performance with good incentives, coupons, frequently, and appraisals, at least bi-annually.
5. Learning and growth opportunities
A survey conducted by Gallup reveals that a staggering 87% of millennials find ‘professional or career development and growth opportunities as important. However, only 39% of them strongly agree to learn something new in the last month that helped them be better at their jobs.
If this wasn’t startling enough, you must know that high-performing employees prefer to stay employed at places where they find their work challenging and impactful enough. Doing such work gives them adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment once the task is accomplished.
To excel in this employee experience arena you must activate knowledge sharing sessions conducted by employees for employees. Suggest or get course recommendations from teams or employees, do timely promotions, and fair appraisals.
6. Employee wellness programs
Since the pandemic, employee wellness programs have received a whole new definition. They go way beyond a traditional health insurance plan that comes to the rescue when the employees are sick. In the pandemic, employee wellness was prioritized above company profitability resulting in employees being more productive.
It shall continue and be considered as the future of work now. As the conversation around mental health became mainstream this time, companies must stay committed to caring for employees’ emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental health.
Focus on keeping them healthy in all the four aspects with simple ways like adopting a flexible work model, revamping and expanding the leave types, building a gym in-office, conducting online Zumba sessions, and more. Onboarding an online health insurance app that employees can use to talk to a therapist, or consult a doctor online for free is also increasingly getting popular.
7. Team-building activities
Team building activities are the perfect ice breakers and bond creators — there to motivate, and connect your employees. They make it easier for employees to collaborate, communicate with other department employees, spur creativity and be more productive.
You can conduct activities like Pictionary, Sneak a peek game, two truths and a lie, Who said it, Guess the movie, and such, especially wonderful for remote work mode.
8. Take employees to conferences
To keep the employee gusto high, you can also announce at the start of the goal-setting exercise that the best performers would be taken to worldwide conferences, events offline/ online around the world. The announcement would make employees feel valued, and give them all the motivation to do a healthy competition with each other.
9. Respond to feedback
As employers have started to listen to their employees' perspectives on them and everything else that matters, that is only the first step. After continuously listening and taking feedback, acting upon it sincerely is the next.
Not doing so results in loss of trust, and moving forth employees might not even bother sharing feedback asked or unasked for. Start sharing the survey results, and the action plan to improvise. Start assigning and holding people at work responsible to implement the changes.
10. Faith in leadership
Employees invest so much effort and time to help you achieve your ultimate company goals; it is only fair for you to show them you care. Make sure you instill and reflect the company's mission and purpose in every communication that happens from those in leadership. The communication should also be transparent, inspiring, and honest.
Little things like making employees a part of the conversation, taking their points of view and suggestions before making a big decision related to them or the organization, can help the most in this regard.
11. Offer work flexibility
Today, employees have reached a new level of self-realization and actualization; they know their worth and expect more than just good pay. The market is getting more and more candidate-driven. Having a flexible shift planning process will help in improving the employee experience. Employees can when they are most productive as per their choice and preference.
Shift swapping and flexible work timings are very much in demand when it comes to ‘work flexibility’. Also, in the coming time, it would also be used often to demand compressed, workweeks, part-time, job sharing, annualized hours, and teleworking.
12. Give paid time off
While paid time off is provided to employees in every company, in some companies it is still frowned upon. Looking at the current changes in the world of work, the paid time off you offer your employees would also define employee experience and their will to work with you in the post-pandemic world.
So, consider this a good time to review your paid time off policy and include mental health leaves, period leaves, vacation leave, paternity leave, and such.
13. Train your Managers
Because managers are the major linking thread between them and the company, they have a significant role to play in improving employee experience. The better the personal and professional relationship the manager has with his team, the better the employee experience.
Training managers on how to be a good listener, a good motivator, and striking the balance between being their office friend and the manager would definitely help. They can also be taught time management, delegation, goal setting, and ways to share feedback.
You need to map the typical employee journey and identify the ‘moments of worth’, take their feedback, and then act upon them. This would surely help you eradicate the gap between your current standing in the employee experience and where you aim to be.
As you plunge on this path to upgrade your employee experience, you must also understand that it would not be a one-time activity. You can’t really set anything in stone as human behavior and the world of work is quite unpredictable and ever-changing. Moreover, every employee would be at a different stage having different experiences in their journey.
The ask is to listen closely, frequently, and act timely. After all, a positive employee experience would impact all key outcomes— engagement, productivity, and satisfaction positively too.
Photo - Yan Krukov