Last updated on July 26, 2023 at 01:27 pm
How to Improve Employee Experience: Strategies & Tactics
Odds are, you know that employee experience is key to creating a great workplace culture and empowering your people to perform at their best. But knowing how to improve employee experience is not as straightforward. In this guide, we’ll share strategies and tactics that you can implement today to start improving EX.
Why Is Improving Employee Experience Important?
If you’re trying to make a business case for employee experience, look no further than retention.
In 2023, business leaders believe that retention is going to be a bigger challenge than hiring (iCIMS Workplace Report). But this retention challenge is taking place simultaneous to declining employee engagement and all-time lows for employee wellbeing.
According to iCIMS research, 80% of workers don’t feel secure professionally or financially, and 40% don’t feel like they have a good work-life balance. Our recent frontline worker survey also found that deskless workers who aren’t in managerial positions are less satisfied with communication and have access to fewer channels of communication.
But what does all this have to do with EX? Everything. Put another way, employee experience is basically your workplace culture. How employees feel at work, how supported they are, and how psychologically safe they feel all add up to what we call EX. And when EX is not positive, you create a culture where employees don’t feel taken care of, supported, or valued. And what do they do then? They quit.
“In an era of workplace upheaval, companies that create tailored, authentic experiences strengthen employee purpose, ignite energy, and elevate organization-wide performance.” —McKinsey & Company
How Do You Measure Employee Experience?
Before you can improve something, you have to be able to measure it. But measuring something like EX can be challenging. It requires a few different data inputs to really paint the big picture.
A few employee experience KPIs include:
- Retention rate. This is a big one right. While your retention rate isn’t going to tell you what’s broken with your employee experience, it is a symptom of the disease.
- eNPS and employee satisfaction. Are your employees satisfied at work and are they likely to promote your company are two very helpful metrics that hint at if you have a good EX.
- Employee engagement rate. If you do an annual employee engagement survey, you can use this as a helpful data point to learn how your employees feel about work and how motivated they are. If engagement is low, this can be a sign that your work environment isn’t positive.
Although these key performance indicators are helpful, they still don’t give you any qualitative feedback on EX at your company. So, consider doing the following:
- Focus groups to learn more about specific pain points at the company. This can help you discover what part of the employee journey is causing problems. Is it your onboarding program? Your managers? Leadership? This tactic will help you find out.
- Pulse surveys to get real-time snapshots of how employees are feeling. If you wait to survey employees only once per year, you miss an opportunity to adjust your strategy in real-time and understand what adjustments really worked.
10 Ways to Improve the Employee Experience
Once you have a measurement framework in mind, you can start creating your employee experience strategy. Improving employee experience will likely require you to make a few different changes within your organization, so we recommend trying at least 2 – 3 of these strategies/tactics.
1. Ask Your Employees About Their Experience
Like we already mentioned, asking your employees for their feedback is a critical first step. They will help you pinpoint where issues are arising but, even more importantly, they might have great solutions and ideas for how to make things better. Our employees are usually an untapped resource when it comes to problem solving and innovation. So, tap into their wealth of knowledge and experience!
And bonus, by regularly asking employees for their input, you will be showing them you care what they have to say and are willing to make changes to benefit them. That alone can improve EX.
2. Focus on Employee Recognition
A Gallup study found that only 30% of employees strongly agree that they have received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last week.
We have all been in cultures where we haven’t felt recognized. Do you remember how that felt? Odds are, you eventually moved on from the role with no regrets. Why would you expect anything different from other employees at your organization?
By focusing on improving our recognition efforts, we can dramatically improve how motivated and happy our employees feel. If people feel like they receive praise and appropriate compensation for their effort, they are far less likely to want to move on.
3. Improve Employee Communication
As an internal comms and employee engagement solution, we believe that improving communication with employees is essential. But don’t just take our word for it: 93% of business leaders agree that communication is the backbone of business.
Improving internal communication will help build trust and transparency, appeasing employee worries and fears.
4. Create Empathy Maps
An empathy map is a collaborative tool that companies can use to more deeply understand their employees. The empathy map helps you visualize how your employees feel, think, and react to things. You do this by walking through a series of questions to try to get into the mind of an employee group. While you might make great hypotheses about how employees feel, this work has to be done with actual interviews and surveys of the impacted group to truly and accurately map their journey.
“When you use empathy maps, you learn specifically what you need to do to address a problem. That’s why quantitative will never replace qualitative data. It’s more time consuming to do qualitative, but it’s the key to finding out how to help our employees be more engaged.”
— Sean Williams, Professor of Media & Communication at Bowling Green State University
5. Revamp Your Onboarding Program
Onboarding is a first impression for your company, and it can have lasting effects. Did you know that employees are 69% more likely to stay at a company for three years if they have a great onboarding experience? That means getting onboarding right can pay big dividends.
But this makes sense doesn’t it? Great onboarding means the employee was adequately trained and prepared for the realities of their job, not to mention, it also means they probably were introduced to the right people. This likely prevents them from feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
6. Conduct Exit Interviews (And Learn From Them)
An exit interview is when human resources talks to an employee prior to them officially leaving the company. These can be helpful for improving employee experience because, when done right, they can give you insight into why the employee left. Was it the culture holistically or just their manager or team? Were they just ready to move on to another opportunity or were they never given opportunities for growth?
One caveat here is that to get honest feedback from an employee, you do want to build a culture of trust and transparency where that employee feels comfortable sharing their genuine experience.
If you want to learn how to do these well, check out this HBR piece on making your exit interviews count.
7. Conduct Stay Interviews
But you don’t have to wait for an employee to resign to interview them about their experience. That’s what the stay interview is all about. These are strategic conversations that a manager can have with an employee to learn what would need to be done to encourage the employee to stay at the company. Keep in mind that In most cases, the employee hasn’t given an indication that they want to leave. This is a proactive approach to learning about how their time at the company has been and how it can be better.
8. Focus on Employee Wellbeing Initiatives
Employee wellbeing is one of many programs that human resources teams or wellness teams manage to help improve the quality of life of their employees. This includes their experience at work with many of these programs aiming to lower burnout. But it also includes an employee’s overall wellbeing. In fact, many successful programs actually focus on the employees’ overall health with the top three being:
- Help with quitting smoking
- Increasing physical activity
- Weight management
Why do these programs matter? Because they show your employees that you are invested in them. And not just in their business contributions but them as a person.
9. Provide Development Opportunities
Because one contributing factor to a negative employee experience is feeling like you aren’t invested in or valued, providing growth opportunities can be a great cure. Giving employees the chance to learn new skills and move up or around in the company helps them not feel stuck or burnt out in a particular role.
10. Coach Your People Managers
If there is anything you choose to do from this list in order to improve employee experience, let it be this: train your managers. Train them in communication and leadership specifically, so they are more equipped to have stay conversations, avoid costly miscommunication mistakes, and be more transparent overall. We truly believe that this is one of the highest ROI activities that any company can do if they want to really make a difference.
Why Choose theEMPLOYEEapp to Improve EX?
We’ve shared ten tactics that you can use to start moving the needle on employee experience. We recommend focusing on just a few at a time to really get them right so you don’t overwhelm your team. But one important thing to consider is that employee experience is highly correlated with our relationships at work and our communication. If you have a toxic manager or don’t receive enough communication, odds are, your experience isn’t going to be very good. No amount of Wellness Wednesdays, interviews, or surveys are going to fix that.
So, we suggest auditing your internal communication channels and making sure that you have your foundations covered. Do all your people have sufficient access to information and resources? Is there a place where managers can receive talking points and tips for being better communicators and leaders? Covering these bases will have the biggest initial impact on EX.
Ready to learn more about our communication solution? Schedule your 30-minute demo today.