5 Ways Companies Can Improve the Employee Experience

Sharlyn Lauby, President, ITM Group
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(Editors Note: Today’s post comes from Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender and ITM Group.)

The employee experience matters. In a survey conducted by The Future Workplace, the majority of employers (83%) said the employee experience is important or very important for organizational success. Yet, many companies do not spend dedicated time or resources making sure their employee experience is well-designed and aligned with company culture.

To ensure that the employee experience remains relevant and valuable, it’s important to evaluate the process. And that doesn’t mean the evaluation activity needs to be expensive or lengthy. Organizations can regularly audit their experience through employee pulse surveys, focus groups, or by adding a couple of questions to exit interviews. Use these regular audits as a way to make sure the experience is doing what it was designed to do.

And if it’s not, then find ways to get it back on track. For example, here are five strategies that companies can use for improving the employee experience.

5 Ways Companies Can Improve the Employee Experience

1.       Connect the candidate and employee experience. We all know that employees were, at one point in time candidates, right? And, we also know that the candidate experience matters. To improve the employee experience, organizations need to connect the two to create a seamless transition from one to the other. If candidates are treated one way and employees another, either candidates won’t take job offers OR employees will leave. Neither are good.

One way to start helping the transition from candidate to employee is by having recruiters make introductions to the trainer who will conduct orientation. That way candidates and employees have someone to ask questions.

2.       Create first impressions with big impact. Speaking of connecting the candidate and employee experience, the most visible means of doing this is through onboarding. Onboarding gives the organization an opportunity to say, “We’re going to deliver on everything we said during the interview.” It gives companies the ability to establish their credibility.

Make sure the new hires get a career roadmap that outlines their first few weeks and months on the job. This lets the new employee know that the company has thought through their arrival and is prepared to set them up for success.

3.       Make employees feel confident with learning and development. As part of the onboarding process, employees need to be given the tools to be successful. Some of that comes in the form of policies and procedures. Employees need to know how the company gets things done. But employees also need to get training and development opportunities, so they can feel confident in their current role, as well as future ones. Even the best, most talented employees should update and refine their skills.

When we talk about training and development, don’t always think classroom training. Many organizations are using microlearning as a way to pass along knowledge and skills.

4.       Support employee’s career goals with coaching and performance management. Managers play a huge role in an employee’s success. They can support an employee’s efforts to learn, coach them to improve performance and help them set goals for future opportunities. This could involve transforming the company’s past performance management processes and moving toward a more agile, feedback-driven approach.

Both employees and managers should have regular one-on-one meetings to discuss goals and progress. And both should receive training on how to make those meetings productive. We often give managers training but forget that employees are expected to contribute as well.

5.       Reinforce positive behaviors with rewards and recognition. Just to be clear, rewards and recognition aren’t the same as compensation and benefits. Everyone wants competitive pay and benefits. That’s a given. Companies must offer competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain the best talent.

Rewards and recognition is about letting employees know they’re doing a good job. And not only between managers and employees. Peers should be able to effectively deliver recognition and feedback as well. This means both managers and employees need to learn how to deliver feedback, possibly as part of company orientation.

Give Employees the Tools to Create a Great Experience

Organizations focused on employee engagement and retention should examine their employee experience. But that doesn’t mean create an experience where employees aren’t involved. Get feedback from employees and include them in the process. The best employee experience is one designed by the employees themselves.

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