Last updated on December 15, 2022 at 04:43 pm
What is Employee Experience?
Employee Experience (EX) is a term used to describe the overall experience an employee has at a company. This spans the entire employee lifecycle from hiring and recruiting to the time an employee quits your company and goes through the exit process.
What is the Digital Employee Experience (DEX)?
A subset of employee experience is the digital employee experience. This refers to the specific experience employees have with your company via digital platforms.
These digital platforms include:
- Communication Channels (e.g. Intranet, email, employee app, etc.)
- HRIS (e.g. Workday/ADP, Payroll System, etc.)
- Company Website
- Company Social Media Accounts
- Workplace Technology (i.e. what tech employees use to do their jobs)
Digital employee experience is its own category in this conversation because technology is so inundated in our lives and jobs. As companies have undergone digital transformation, sometimes technology is adopted at a company without a thorough investigation of the end-user’s experience of the tool. This has led to organizations having too much of the wrong technology and online platforms.
Why is the Employee Experience Important?
Investing in the employee experience has many benefits for your workplace. A few of the top benefits include:
Improving Employee Wellbeing and Psychological Safety
Unfortunately, very few companies are meeting the basic needs of their employees.
- Gallup research has found that 70% of employees don’t have the tools they need to do their job and 60% don’t feel they have the chance to do what they do best.
- The Blueboard 2022 State of the Workplace Connection Report found that 60% don’t believe their employer makes them feel seen or appreciated.
- SafetyCulture found that 90% of frontline workers want their voice to be heard and valued, but one third believe nothing will be done if they report issues at work.
This means that the average workplace does not create an environment where employees feel valued. But when we focus on improving the employee experience and addressing these negative emotions, we can show employees we care, meet their needs, and create safer work environments.
Workplaces that focus on EX also see greater profits. This is because you cut back on toxic employees and managers, show more frequent appreciation, and work on deconstructing bottlenecks for your workers that impede productivity.
CultureAmp has found that a positive EX leads to two times the innovation and 25 percent higher profits. And SHRM found a correlation between high EX scores and 40% lower turnover.
Improving Brand Reputation and Recruiting
When you become known for having a great workplace culture, this impacts our ability to hire and retain talent. A great EX therefore becomes a powerful driver of your brand reputation.
When employees feel cared for and positive about work, they are more likely to become employee advocates for you on social media and leave more positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor. This helps you become a talent magnet and fill open positions faster.
Improving The Customer Experience (CX)
Studies have shown that one of the best ways to improve CX is to start by improving the employee experience. This is because your frontline employees are the ones responsible for providing great customer service. But when employees are overwhelmed, not supported, and generally feeling negative about their workplace, it becomes harder to provide great service.
So, when done right, a great employee experience can double customer satisfaction scores.
Improving Employee Engagement Scores
Employee engagement has been a big topic of conversation in the workplace for a while now. This is because engagement is correlated with many important key performance indicators like retention, productivity, safety, and so on.
And engagement and employee experience are linked. One way to re-engage a disengaged worker is to focus on their experience. What is causing their disengagement? What is causing high absenteeism rates? In many cases, you will find something in that employee’s environment, whether it’s a bad boss, unsafe work environment, a toxic culture, or improper tools that is causing them to not be as engaged and productive at work as they otherwise might be.
So, by focusing on various factors that contribute to the employee experience, you create work environments that are more conducive to productivity and higher employee engagement levels.
How is EX Measured?
There are many ways to measure employee experience. There are numerous internal communication metrics and analytics tools that can help such as:
- Employee Surveys. Surveying employees is a great way to create data around topics like employee engagement and employee experience. These surveys help give you evidence of how employees feel about work and start determining where the employee experience might be more negative or positive and why.
- Focus Groups. For more detailed qualitative feedback, we recommend focus groups. To ensure you get the most accurate information about EX at your company, include a diverse, representative sample of your employee population in these sessions.
While employee surveys and focus groups are ways to directly measure sentiment about the employee experience, you also want to measure impact on business performance. But keep in mind that this data is correlation.
For example, we want to measure the impact of having a more positive work culture and experience. This may include:
- Attrition and whether or not you are improving turnover as you make changes.
- Time spent filling open positions.
- Average tenure of employees at your company.
- Social media sentiment and if the conversation about your brand becomes more positive.
How Do You Improve the Experience of Working at Your Company?
So given that EX is important for a company’s business success, how do we start improving it? Because so many factors impact someone’s experience, this can be overwhelming.
But there are a few areas that you should focus on that may have a bigger impact than others.
Set SMART Goals
Before you can focus on any actual tactical and strategic changes for EX, you have to have goals for your company. This may require you to survey and talk to employees to get a baseline to benchmark and measure against.
But then you can set smart, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. And this will help you see if you are actually improving employee experience or not.
Focus on Key Milestones in the Employee Journey
There are so many things we could improve about the day-to-day at our companies, but focusing on a few of the most important milestones first can help focus your efforts early on.
These milestones include:
- The hiring process. The hiring process is an employee’s first glimpse at what it’s like to work at a company. It lays the foundation for every interaction after that. And little things make a big difference here. Do you leave candidates waiting for too long? Do they have to jump through many hoops to get a job? What is the application process like? Fixing and improving this experience can make a big difference and get employees off on the right foot.
- Onboarding. Onboarding is maybe the MOST IMPORTANT thing companies can focus on to set employees up for long term success. But most companies miss the mark here. Many employees are given an “onboarding checklist” by HR and the rest is up to managers. But we miss many opportunities to welcome employees, help engrain them in the culture, coach them properly, and ensure they are well trained. This makes it harder for employees to perform well and it takes longer for them to do so.
- Annual Training/Manager Feedback. Performance reviews, annual training, and ad hoc feedback from managers are another big milestone in an employee’s lifecycle with your company. If employees don’t receive proper training, support, and coachable feedback, they may not feel valued, they may stagnate, and they may become frustrated in their roles.
- Stay Interviews. If you aren’t already conducting stay interviews, starting the practice may drastically help the EX. These interviews are conversations to understand how an employee feels about their role, their team, and the company. It helps managers learn what it would take to keep an employee around.
- Exit Interviews. When an employee resigns, the experience can vary. Many employees who quit aren’t treated well, like they are traitors or like they have put their team in a tough spot. This can burn a bridge and prevent a great employee from ever wanting to “boomerang” back to your company. And even worse, it can tarnish your brand’s reputation and kill the potential for ongoing advocacy. So, getting the exit process right for employees isn’t just the right thing to do, it also helps your business.
Focus on DEX
Audit your digital platforms. Are they really making employees’ lives or jobs easier? Or is it digital clutter that creates noise and complexity in the workplace?
This may lead you to find different solutions like theEMPLOYEEapp that consolidate systems and technology and consider the end user experience just as heavily as the company/administrator experience.
But you may also discover accessibility issues with your existing communication channels and technology that need to be addressed to adequately include your entire workforce.
Start an Employee Recognition Program
Showing employees that you appreciate them is a great way to improve how they feel about work. There are many ways to show employees recognition, but a good rule of thumb is to have employee recognition come in a variety of ways.
- Type: Formal & informal recognition (e.g. performance reviews vs. shoutouts during a shift meeting).
- Who: From their direct manager, from peers, and from senior leaders.
- Forms of recognition: praise, awards, monetary, promotions, etc.