Improving employee experience makes for a better company: Here’s how
By Darryl Johnson
Providing employees with a good employee experience is more than a company picnic and premium benefits. Employee Experience, or EX, is about employees feeling like they are contributors to the success of the company. They are productive and efficient because the employer treats them like a customer, providing them with the tools and training they need to do the job, and absorbing them into a positive company culture.
It starts when a candidate applies for a job with your company and ends when they leave the job. Every step of the process — timely follow-up after the job application is submitted, how quickly IT issues get resolved on the job, how benefits are added over time to reflect the needs of the current workforce – that’s all EX.
EX holds more value for workers than the frequency of raises or the 401(k) match because it affects the daily journey of contributing to company success, resolving problems, growing skillsets and helping the company improve.
Think about where you are
Modern companies want the employee to take a more holistic approach to their work. For a better work experience, companies now take a holistic approach to how they partner with their employees. How? Involve them in problem solving and decision making based on who has the freshest perspective, instead of who has a title. Start dissolving the silos where departments focus only on their area of responsibility, and leadership is disconnected from the day-to-day realities of the company’s operations.
This short checklist covers some of the key areas of EX. Ask yourself, are your employees:
- Getting quality communication? In good times and when there’s a tough spot to get through, employees want to hear appropriate details honestly and from the top. They want to know how things are. How can they pitch in to make things better again after something goes wrong?
- Supported with the right technology? Talented workers want to keep moving forward with their tasks and be efficient. IT problems happen, but if employees feel like their software or infrastructure is too old and too slow to do the job, it frustrates them. You don’t want to send the message that the work being done is not valuable enough to invest in better systems. The IT department should be as invested in EX as the human resource team is.
- Understanding every benefit? From health care choices to helping them save money in retirement or health savings accounts, keep them educated on all the great things your company invests in to help their life go better. Regular communication through brown-baggers, helpful yet brief emails, table tents in the breakroom or any other frequent and digestible way to relay how the company is trying to help them improves EX. Little-used benefits you thought would be more popular, like gym membership reimbursement or tele-medicine, could use more promoting, or get replaced with what workers really want. Just ask them!
Employee experience goals
When companies provide a great employee experience, employees spend their time on things that matter to them. They don’t waste time doing tasks they don’t want to do or waste time on slow software systems. Work is done better and faster in companies with great EX. Here’s why:
- The EX is carefully planned and optimized to provide a great experience just like how the customer experience is used for marketing purposes.
- Technology is sophisticated enough to automate mundane tasks and reduce some of the complexity of more detailed processes. For example, candidates don’t have to upload every function of their resume to your ATS, the system can pull it from LinkedIn with one click.
- Innovation is part of the company culture. Employees’ creative ideas flourish and they feel empowered to collaborate with others and implement them to push the company forward.
Where to start with EX
HR experts like Josh Bersin, writing on EX for digitalHRtech recommends these starting points:
- Think like an employee. Actually follow them around, survey them, sit with them in workshops. This is how you find out what bugs them at work and hear all the little stories about what makes things difficult for them to do the job the way they want to do it.
- Look at the moments that matter in a job. How does your company handle onboarding? What about job changes? Relocations or transfers? If these steps are difficult, not only do they take more time than they should, they stick in an employee’s mind. If someone starts working for you and it takes two weeks to get their computer set up correctly, that impression sticks for a long time. It’s also the first story the next new-hire in the same department will hear. That’s not good.
- Co-create. Every solution to improve EX should have employees involved. Their experiences have determined what processes are broken and what needs to happen to make work easier. Employees are the authority on what the EX is like in the company, and they know where all the rough spots are.
- Every business has processes that are too complicated, and they don’t have to be. How seamless is your T&E reimbursement process? Does it take days for employees to wade through paperwork? Is it electronic or on paper forms? Does it take a week for managers to approve expenses? If so, it’s clearly not simple enough – or everyone isn’t on board with treating employees with the same efficiency as the company treats its customers.
- Every employee experience can’t be fixed at once, so choose starting points and map the journey. For example, work to improve HR practices and IT needs first. When those are simplified and more employee friendly, move on to the next things that are clogging up the EX. Maybe that’s rewards and recognition, or training processes.
How EX improves the business
Improving employee experience starts when the company begins to focus on it because they are involved in the improvement. They see how serious the company is about making a better place to work and thrive.
From the business end, when obstacles are removed and processes simplified, the company reaps rewards. In a 2017 survey of companies ranked for EX, the top 25% produced 51% more revenue from new products and services in the past two years. The bottom 25% produced 24% more revenue.
Jacob Morgan wrote in Harvard Business Review of his research on how companies invest in employee engagement and how other companies focus on EX. He found companies that invest effectively in improving EX have employees that do better work, do a better job of serving customers, grow faster, pay better, increase (at least double) revenue and are on average four times more profitable. Think of your current EX as a pill flavor. Would you want to swallow it?
About the Author
Darryll Johnson is the Benefits Specialist for Automation Personnel Services.
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