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Employee experience

Employee experience: What is it and why does it matter?

Organizations that focus on employee experience, see a 17% rise in productivity and 41% fall in absenteeism.

While that establishes the importance of employee experience, delivering a positive employee experience can be quite challenging for organizations especially in the new hybrid workplace.

We quite understand that challenge and this blog is here to help you out with it. Read on!

What is Employee Experience?

What is employee experience

To put it simply, employee experience is a total of the experiences an employee has during their tenure at an organization and how the experiences make them feel. A positive employee experience is one that makes the employees feel excited about their work, workplace, work culture, and coworkers.

Employee experience is not just about promotions and remuneration. It is a combination of various factors including an employee’s relationships within and beyond the set hierarchies, how satisfied an employee feels, and other constantly evolving employee needs.

Let’s take a look at some of the employee needs that are crucial to employee experience.

Work-life balance

As per a Glassdoor survey, almost 87% of the employees want their companies to support a healthy work-life balance.

Overworking and pushing employees to the point of burnout is not an ideal situation, neither for the employee nor for the organization. Instead, encouraging employees to develop new interests and spend time with their families as much as they do at work, could actually lead to higher productivity.

Also, work-life balance is a major factor that employees take into consideration when applying for a job.

Option to work remotely

While remote working has been around for quite some time, it only became more popular after the pandemic. In the era of emails, chats, and virtual file sharing via any mobile device, all of us are equipped with gadgets that make us reachable and enable us to communicate well, no matter the distance.

As per a study, remote employees were 22% happier than the ones working from the office. Remote working further enables the employees to have a better work-life balance. An employee who is happier and satisfied would also be more motivated to work towards ensuring growth of the organization. Thus, organizations have literally no reason to not provide the option of remote working to employees.

Virtual workplace collaboration

Even though employees value the comfort of remote working, they are, at the end of the day, humans, and humans are social animals by nature. Quite naturally, employees feel the need to connect and communicate with their peers and other members of the organization. There exists the need for an office-like culture even when working remotely.

Remote working, when supplemented by pro versions of various video chat apps that come with additional features, can help employees feel more connected with co-workers. Many organizations use apps such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc, depending on the type of communication they want. Add on to these various employee activities, games, and even virtual parties, and you will see your organization delivering an overall great employee experience.

It’s beyond doubt that delivering a positive employee experience requires a lot of effort. So, why should an organization undertake so many efforts if the aim of employee experience is just to increase productivity?

Well, that’s because increased productivity is not the only thing employee experience helps achieve.

Here’s Why Employee Experience Matters

Why employee experience matters

We already know that employee experience is important because it ensures employees are satisfied professionally, personally, and emotionally, and also because it fosters better work culture and is good for the organization.

Now, let’s take a look at some other reasons why employee experience matters should be a top priority for any organization.

Increases the drive for innovation

A positive employee experience encourages employees to not only work better but also create better. Positive employee experience ensures a free-thinking environment that gives the employees more room to be creative and innovative, in turn advancing their professional development as well as organizational evolution.

Attracts better talent

It’s no longer a world where only the employer judges the employee and candidates. It is vice versa as well. An environment that fosters better employee experience is also the one that would attract better talent in the job market. New-age professionals would like to work with an organization that expressly takes care of its employees’ needs. Hence, delivering a positive employee experience ensures your employees become brand ambassadors of the organization and that can go a long way in helping attract top talent.

Reduces employee turnover

Nearly 47% of employees cite bad company culture as the reason they started looking for a new job. A toxic culture affects employee experience adversely, thus contributing to higher employee turnover. To nobody’s surprise, employees would want to remain in an organization that provides them with a work culture which is conducive to growth and peace of mind. Hence, ensuring a positive employee experience, can have a major effect on employee retention.

Improves employee engagement

A positive employee experience ensures that employees are more engaged and concentrate better, in turn leading to better productivity and performance, whether individually or as a team. Engaged employees are also contagious and can often motivate fellow employees to be as involved with the organization as they are. So, if you’re looking for a one-stop solution to your employee engagement and retention woes, employee experience really is the answer. 

Fosters employee well-being

A positive employee experience takes care of employee mental health. Organizations that have a work-culture which is heavy on the employees’ mental health and is reducing their productivity and creativity, is bound to lose people. With employee well-being haven taken centre stage in recent times, companies are slowly moving towards concepts such as 35 and even 30-hour weeks, along with 3-day weekends, in turn enabling employees to have a work-life balance and a well-rested mind, which contributes towards a better employee experience.

Helps employees grow as professionals

The professional growth of an employee is as important as that of the organization, and only such an approach can ensure employees remain with organizations for a longer time. Investing in courses and development plans is a good way to help your employees grow. When employees feel like the organization is invested in their growth as an individual professional, it helps elevate employee experience and makes employees feel a sense of belonging.

Fosters better manager-subordinate relationships

This is a delicate relationship with room for ego and domination. However, when an organization strives to create a positive employee experience for both managers and subordinates, they can do away with the negativity and ensure the relationship remains healthy. In the long run, this would lead to better communication, planning, and execution of business strategies, without any glitches.

Encourages employees to be more transparent

A positive employee experience encourages the employees to be more transparent and honest with the administration when it comes to their needs and shortcomings. Knowing that they will receive help and not blame can ensure employees are clear about the kind of work they can and want to do. Open communication of the sort ensures there’s clarity in what the organization expects from their employees and vice versa.

How Can you Improve Employee Experience?

How to improve employee experience

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to improving employee experience, here are a few things you should try. 

Invest in employee onboarding

An important part of creating a positive employee experience is enforcing a smooth and easy onboarding process that is experience-based rather than formula-based. A positive onboarding experience is a prerequisite to a positive employee experience as it turns an otherwise overwhelming change into a slow transition into the role.

From signing the contract to sharing information about the team, making introductions, assigning an onboarding buddy to plan out the tasks for their first day, every little effort counts and can go a long way in keeping things streamlined – for both the business and the employee. 

Improve internal communication

Internal communication is not just about conveying accurate data and information to employees. It is also about encouraging healthy conversations and fostering a sense of community within the employees.

This helps them work better as teams and as a part of the organization. Better relationships between the teams will help create a better corporate culture that will create a positive employee experience. It will further foster strong team relationships where the members would know they can lean on each other.

Create a knowledge base

The main job of the employees is to work in their respective departments fulfill their respective tasks. In the midst of all that hustle, they do not want to pile on administrative headaches. Having a smooth and easy process wherein all their queries can be answered in one place will save them the hassle and contribute towards a positive employee experience.

One way to do it is by creating a single-point knowledge base for all HR-related inquiries and information. Have an automated system that stores updated information at all times.

For instance, policy documents are huge and difficult to understand. With a knowledge base in place, frequently asked questions can easily be answered, in turn leading to an improved understanding of policy documents.

In terms of employee experience, when answers are readily available, employees can find it a lot easier to make decisions and are a lot less stressed about finding answers to their questions. Also, when employees are not spending their time looking for information, they can use this bandwidth in more productive tasks. 

Create and utilize employee journey map

An employee journey map, as the name suggests, is a process used to ‘map’ the journey of an employee within the company, right from the day they join till the time they leave the organization.

This is important because it helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of the employees and what kind of training and feedback would enable them to reach the desired stage – both from the company’s perspective as well as the employee’s goals. Identifying strengths and weaknesses helps organizations fill the gap and makes the employees feel like the organization is invested in an employee’s growth, enhancing employee experience in the process.

Invest in overall employee wellness

The more active and healthy, both physically and mentally, an employee is the lower the organization’s health costs and the better the employee experience.

Well-rested and healthy employees work better and investing in health and fitness programs, providing paid time offs, maternity/paternity leaves, are some of the moves that can increase overall employee wellness.

For example, several teams nowadays follow a 4-day work week model, giving employees three days to rest and catch up with their commitments.

Another example of an employee wellbeing initiative would be a team off-site, wherein the goal is to not discuss work and enjoy each other’s company or have brainstorming sessions around personal goals. 

Conduct employee experience surveys

If you have not yet tapped into the potential of employee surveys, now is the time. These surveys can get you answers to the most pressing questions around employee experience and engagement – straight from your employees!

For example, when you are about to announce a new policy, conducting a survey can help you understand the general sentiment around it. This data can help you craft the policy better, make it more inclusive of employee needs, and, prepare for friction, if any when implemented.

Automated surveys can help you do this even better. You no longer have to walk up to the team asking for feedback. They can provide feedback in their own safe space and you get to collate the insights on one dashboard without having to maintain separate paper records.  

Conduct exit and stay interviews

We all know that exit interviews are important. Many organizations conduct these to understand why an employee is leaving and often use that information to create a better experience for the existing employees and to fix loopholes in the present work environment. However, exit interviews do not let you retain a leaving employee. That’s where stay interviews come in.

The best way to identify what qualifies as a positive employee experience is to identify what motivates employees to remain with the organization and use that information when developing future employee experience strategies.

Take employee feedback seriously

Schedule one-on-one meetings regularly to understand employee perspectives. Take their feedback on the work culture, processes, or even a survey you just conducted to understand why they feel a certain way.

Employees have to know that they are being listened to. If they feel otherwise, not only would they stop giving any feedback, but also lose interest in the organization and ultimately decide to leave.

Create action plans and communicate them to the employees who come in with their feedback. Also, make sure that you give employees enough room to share both negative and positive feedback without any hesitance.

Offer employee development plans

You do not want your employees to feel that their growth has stagnated. If that happens, it is a setback to your efforts in creating a positive employee experience.

Offer them development plans and courses to elevate their knowledge level. It is not only good for them as individual professionals, but also a collective push towards achieving organizational goals. Set aside budgets and days to enable employees to upskill. 

Make management smarter

Management training is an extremely important part of creating a positive employee experience. How a manager communicates with individual subordinates and teams plays a big role in defining employee experience within the organization. 

Thus, it is important to invest in management training so that they are efficient on all fronts – delegation, training, communication, feedback, etc., contributing towards their team growth in the process.

With the pandemic and the new hybrid workplace, delivering a dynamic, positive employee experience has become more challenging. So, if you’re looking for a platform that can help you engage better with employees and deliver stellar employee experience, reach out to us here.

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