Re-Imagining the Employee Experience

Alexandra Levit, Managing Partner, PeopleResults
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At last week’s SilkRoad Connections conference, researchers from Kaiser Associates presented two innovative ways to consider and impact the employee experience.

The business case for tweaking our approach is clear. Research shows that organizations with high employee satisfaction outperform peer organizations over time by approximately two to four percent annually and 89 to 184 percent cumulatively – even controlling for other factors that drive returns. Additionally, the cost to replace experienced and executive-level employees is 75 percent and 200 percent of their full salaries respectively.

In addition to salary, new hires require investment via recruiting, onboarding, training and development, and the Kaiser researchers pointed out that organizations will never realize the full return on that investment if they do not evaluate and design a powerful employee experience.

A New Perspective: Employee Experience Empathy Mapping

Understanding how employees view pieces of the talent management lifecycle with themselves at the epicenter can turn a process lifecycle into an individualized, forward looking, and connected journey.

There are a number of components of the employee experience that should be considered at each phase, including work environment, people, incentives, technology enablers, programming, and roles. We can use Employee Experience Empathy Mapping to identify gaps and opportunities between the current vs. desired state employee experience throughout. In other words, what are employees actually feeling versus what we want them to be feeling? Experiential components can be mapped along the talent lifecycle as follows:

  • Attraction: What is this organization about and why would I want to work there? Potential candidates develop an impression of your organization based on your brand and what you share publicly. A dynamic organization attracts a dynamic candidate.
  • Recruitment: Is this the right organization and role for me? Candidates are exposed to organizational processes and culture, either solidifying or challenging pre-conceived notions. Sodexo, for example, drives recruitment internally through its Candidate Discovery Program, which offers candidates a strong initial impression from the individuals through which they are referred.
  • Onboarding: What can I expect here, and what’s expected of me? New hires become excited about the organization and gain an understanding of how their roles fit into the organization’s strategic direction.
  • Performance: How will I receive feedback? Employees receive constructive feedback on performance and work collaboratively to develop meaningful goals and objectives that align with organizational goals.
  • Development: How will I continue to grow my career? Employees seek out development opportunities and their long-term goals are supported by the organization throughout their tenure. To make an impact here, insurance company the Hartford has an experiential mentorship program that pairs senior-level executives with entry-level staff so critical skills can be acquired in both directions.
  • Retention: Should I stay or should I go? Employees are continually engaged through development opportunities, rewards, compensation, and promotion. Hubspot, for instance, has developed a retention element that positively contributes to employee experience. Spinoff City is a forum in which employees devise, vote on, and help to implement innovative programs.
  • Transition: What are the high and low points of my experience here? Employees provide meaningful feedback on their experience and remain engaged with the organization post-tenure through alumni networks and personal contacts.

Journey Mapping

Journey Mapping is another tool for re-imagining the employee experience, either across the entire talent lifecycle or throughout a particular phase like onboarding. This map is more focused on what employees are actually experiencing versus what they are feeling. As an employee progresses through the Journey Map, he or she might go through the following stages:

  • Find: What the candidate did to learn about the company
  • Apply: The process by which the candidate engaged with recruiters or hiring managers
  • Evaluate and Decide: How the candidate learned sufficient information about the organization to make a decision (interviews, assessments, job shadowing, etc.)
  • Join: Onboarding activities in which the new hire participated
  • Learn: Projects and training opportunities that facilitated integration into the organization
  • Contribute: How the organization fostered an environment of innovation and collaboration
  • Grow: Opportunities for promotion and new responsibilities offered by the organization

Inspired by external research, one Fortune 500 professional services firm used Journey Mapping to design an ideal future state employee experience. Zeroing in on Years 1 and 2, the firm examined the key inflection points within the employee experience that represent the greatest employee pain points and warrant additional focus.

Could empathy or journey mapping could be useful in breaking down – and then enhancing – your employee experience?

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