Customer journey, customer relationship management, customer experience - many companies see their greatest opportunities for success in a customer-centric way of working. Terms like Employee Journey, Employee Relationship Management, Employee Wellbeing and Employee Experience, on the other hand, still receive much less attention. Yet a stronger focus on employee satisfaction could offer a decisive competitive advantage. After all, it is they who have a decisive influence on the well-being of customers - and thus on the economic success of the company.
So it's time to take a closer look at the topic of employee experience. In this article you will find out exactly what it is and why it could be crucial for your company's goals.
Employee satisfaction and employee engagement - only parts of the whole
You may be more familiar with the term employee satisfaction than employee experience. It is no longer a secret that well-balanced employees tend to be more motivated and perform better at work. Satisfaction therefore has an influence on employee engagement - and not only on this. Many factors can have a positive effect on the well-being of employees: starting with fair remuneration, a collegial working atmosphere and a cosy design of the office space. As individual as your employees are, so are their needs and the respective weightings of the influencing factors.
So the question arises: Is human resources work at all capable of doing justice to all employees? The Employee Experience can help answer this question. Its goal is to create a holistic approach that operates on all these levels. In other words, the employee experience encompasses all impressions, moments and interactions that employees experience during their employment with your company. Your goal as an employer should be to make this overall experience as positive as possible. In this way, you influence employee satisfaction and commitment at the same time, retain talent in the long term and thus keep fluctuation low.
Employee Experience - the key to corporate success?
So instead of relying on short-term measures to increase employee satisfaction, you can benefit significantly more from the long-term optimisation of the Employee Experience. In numbers, this means: companies that invest in the employee experience are on average four times more profitable.
Moreover, the approach not only pays off financially, but also strengthens your employer brand. Satisfied employees often identify better with a company, represent its values and thus automatically become brand ambassadors. This is the easiest way to maintain your image as an attractive employer - because it simply applies. So it's worthwhile to step up your game in the area of employee experience! But how exactly can you start? Simply follow the five steps below:
1. Get to know the phases of the Employee Journey
For the employee experience, all development stages from joining the company to leaving are relevant - in other words, all five phases of the Employee Journey. Your first contact with your future employees is the application process. This is where candidates gain their first experience with your company, the so-called candidate experience. This determines whether an employment relationship with your company is even a possibility. This is followed by onboarding. It is important to find the right balance: Of course, it makes economic sense to complete the onboarding process as quickly as possible. On the other hand, you should show consideration and provide sufficient support.
In the development phase, you can promote employees' strengths and minimise their weaknesses through an appreciative feedback policy. Many employees particularly want the opportunity for further training and promotion. In the retention phase, you can at best achieve an identification of the employees with your company. In this way, you can keep fluctuation low and save costs in the long run. Nevertheless, one way or another, employees will leave at some point. The last impression is often decisive: if you are remembered positively, you promote your image as an attractive employer. Convinced employees often remain brand ambassadors even after their employment relationship has ended.
2. Think and plan comprehensively
The employee experience is essentially shaped by three corporate areas. Symbolically, one could speak of three working environments:
The cultural environment is defined by the attitude, values, practices and structures of a company. Together with the working climate, the management style and the interpersonal interaction, they shape the employees' perception of their company. All of this contributes to the fact that employees can identify with their company - or not.
Another component of the employee experience is the physical environment. This includes the entire working environment, including the furnishings - after all, this also has a significant impact on the well-being of your employees. Pleasant, perhaps even creative, furnishings not only put employees in a better mood, but can also promote inspiration. Some employees prefer to choose their physical environment themselves: They appreciate the possibility to work from their home office or flexibly from other places in the world.
Your company's technological environment should be as effective and up-to-date as possible. Outdated or user-unfriendly technology not only inhibits productivity, but can also lead to lower employee satisfaction. Especially when it comes to finding and retaining IT experts, the technological environment is often crucial: if your digital solutions are not convincing, you will often not be considered as an employer in the long term.
3. Involve all the key stakeholders
As you can probably tell, optimising the employee experience is a complex undertaking, an ongoing process that cannot be completed in a matter of months or even years. Due to the different phases of the employee journey and the different working environments, there are numerous levers that can be turned. Therefore, it is advisable to sensitise and involve all actors who automatically shape the employee experience.
One of these actors is the management. It communicates all important goals and is also the identification figure for the company. Thus, it is also significantly involved in shaping the corporate culture. As with all personnel issues, the HR department is also a particularly important stakeholder. It revises the goals and shapes them into concrete, realisable concepts. It is also an important link between the staff and the management: it can quickly identify and pass on new developments concerning the employee experience. The managers take care of the small-scale implementation of individual topics with the employees. Ultimately, however, the employee experience remains a concept for each individual. After all, all parts of the company are involved in the corporate culture, the general discourse and the working environment.
4. Prioritise your measures
Which measures are necessary or useful to optimise the employee experience of your employees depends on your individual company. You should know the status quo and the wishes and needs of your staff. Take concepts such as the Employee Journey or the three work environments as a basis and consider where there is still room for improvement.
Do you want to improve the physical environment of your employees? Then you should consider renovating or redecorating the office space. Do you want to optimise the cultural environment? Then you could invest in team-building measures or offer your employees the opportunity for further training.
Listen and try to objectively assess the urgency of the measures.
5. Rely on feedback and trustworthy communication
Improving the employee experience can only work through dialogue with employees. On the one hand, you should keep an eye on employee satisfaction through regular surveys. In this way, you can identify and react to potential problems at an early stage.
In addition, however, you should also listen to direct feedback on the stations of your Employee Journey. How did the employee feel during onboarding? Would he or she have liked more support, time or information? Why was the resignation submitted? An exit survey often gives you the most honest feedback and allows you to draw your conclusions. In any case, be open to suggestions and changes. Because only understanding and trust can form a basis for an open feedback culture - on which not least the success of your company depends.