Employees are the driving force of an organization. However, management of their employee experience often gets overlooked as businesses attempt to optimize their operations.
This is a huge mistake.
Frontline workers are the employees who keep the company operational. Challenges that undermine their experience, such as inadequate training, poor employee engagement, limited growth opportunities, or a lack of recognition for their contributions, can affect how they behave at work, ultimately impacting the company's bottom line.
In recent times, a shift in mindset has become evident. Forward-thinking companies have begun to truly recognize the power of a comprehensive employee experience management approach. The majority of C-Suite and human capital leaders surveyed in a 2023 study are spending more on employee enrichment programs, despite an uncertain economy and continuous inflation. With 76% of these leaders reporting a company-wide investment skill development and employee engagement, it’s clear that employee experience (EX) management isn’t just a passing fad.
Below we dive into the significance of employee experience management and how it has become a transformative strategy for companies seeking to foster a more motivated, and satisfied workforce. By addressing the often-overlooked aspect of frontline employee experience, businesses can unlock hidden potential and forge stronger connections that elevate both employees and the organization to unprecedented heights.
Defining employee experience management
To start, employee experience is the sum of all interactions and engagements an employee has with an organization throughout the entire duration of their employment. It encompasses every aspect of the employee's journey, from the initial recruitment process to onboarding, daily work experiences, training, career development, and ultimately, the offboarding or exit process.
Employee experience management is the essential and strategic approach to designing, measuring, and improving all aspects of an employee's journey within an organization.
An employee’s experience is shaped by multiple factors: the physical work environment, organizational culture, management practices, workplace tools and technology, and the overall support and recognition employees receive from their employer.
The importance of employee experience management
Employee experience is no longer seen as just a buzzword, but rather a crucial aspect of organizational success. And it’s not just up to the HR team to handle employee experience management, it’s an ethos that needs to be incorporated into every level of the organization.
Ultimately, it is your employees’ experiences within the company that determine how they will act and perform while doing their jobs. Studies show that organizations that invest in optimizing the employee experience see higher levels of engagement, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
From personal development opportunities to wellness programs and accessible feedback platforms, more and more companies are introducing various practices related to employee experience management.
And frankly, you don’t want to fall behind.
A yearly survey is no longer enough to understand the needs of your employees, and free snacks aren’t enough to make them love coming to work.
Leaders need to understand and optimize the various touchpoints and interactions all employees have with the company, in order to enhance their satisfaction, and therefore, engagement and productivity. This process typically involves gathering feedback and analyzing data to create initiatives that will foster a productive work environment.
Frontline employee experience management
The challenge of managing the employee experience for frontline organizations is that these workers are typically deskless and don’t have access to the same tools as their desk based counterparts –– they’re much more difficult to reach. Many examples of perfect EX management programs tend to focus on the stereotypical office environment, with examples that simply aren’t possible for frontline workers.
It’s essential to design an employee experience management strategy that takes every type of employee into account, implementing initiatives that connect everybody.
This can include:
- Clear communication between all levels and departments
- Comprehensive training to handle various scenarios confidently
- Prioritizing employee safety and well-being by implementing protocols and providing necessary equipment
- Regular recognition and appreciation
- Simplified workflows and user-friendly technology tools
- Opportunities for employees to provide feedback about their experiences, pain points, and concerns.
There is an undeniable, data-backed correlation between positive employee experiences and improved performance, productivity, ROI, and customer service, which ultimately benefits the organization's bottom line and satisfies stakeholders. The numbers speak for themselves: companies that invest in EX see four times higher average profit than ones that don’t.
Where to start on employee experience management
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of what organizations need to do when designing an optimal employee experience management strategy.
1. Understand the current state of your employee experience journey
Essentially: What is working in your current employee experience? And more importantly, what is not working? Here, it’s good to focus on your communication channels.
Many organizations make the mistake of retaining outdated top-down comms channels, where leaders can communicate with their employees, but not vice versa. This obviously stalls the feedback process. But without clear, easy-to-use, and convenient tech, there’s no way to have that two-way discussion with employees, which is essential for improving the experience.
Blink is designed to unlock this two-way communication, allowing leadership and their employees to communicate equally with each other. As a mobile-first solution, anyone is able to access the tool. And as it mirrors the easy intuitiveness of social media apps, it is easy for employees to adopt. The News Feed brings the whole company together in one place, while Blink Chats allows for fast, reliable communication for all employees.
Also, don’t forget that employees also have to want to engage with these channels. Are they responding to surveys and calls for feedback? If not, what can you do to make the process easier for them?
Providing employees with accessible, user-friendly feedback forms that can be answered with just a few taps, through an employee experience management app, will streamline this process immensely. Then back this up with communication to prove that their responses will be heard and considered, which in turn will encourage feedback in the future.
2. Define your employee experience goals
Once you have a solid understanding of where your organization’s current state is, you can create actionable goals and KPIs for the employee experience management strategy. These goals should, of course, align with the company's overall mission and values while also addressing specific areas of improvement based on employee feedback and insights.
Make the goals specific, and tied to a measurable outcome. These could include:
- decrease staff turnover
- increase survey response rates
- increase job satisfaction
- increase eNPS
With specific and measurable objectives, organizations can create a roadmap to proactively improve the employee experience. Support the achievement of these goals by regularly tracking progress and seeking feedback to ensure continuous improvement to the employee experience.
Blink provides real-time analytics to keep EX managers on top of everything in real time. From charts visualizing the communication flow to specific analytics that determine the success of each piece of shared content, Blink offers valuable insights to help continually hone the employee experience strategy.
3. Secure leadership support
Securing leadership support before implementing an employee experience management strategy is essential for its success and long-term impact. Leadership buy-in provides the necessary resources, organizational alignment, and commitment needed to drive meaningful change.
This also helps to ensure that the strategy is prioritized and integrated throughout the entire organization, not just relegated to being an HR project.
4. Establish a cross-functional team
It’s not uncommon for companies to hire one – or multiple – employee experience managers, whose sole purpose is to work collaboratively across departments to prioritize employee well-being.
This is opposed to adding the workload on to HR team members who are already responsible for recruitment, people management, and all the other bits and pieces that come across their desks. Assigning the entire scope of employee experience to an HR manager who is already at bandwidth simply won’t succeed –– they can’t give the strategy the full attention it needs.
With a dedicated manager, there is a clear focal point for driving the employee experience strategy forward. They can collaborate with different departments, align initiatives with company goals, and effectively implement programs that positively impact the employee experience. Having one person on the ground who is fully dedicated to employee experience management allows the EX strategy to be given the attention and resources it needs to succeed.
A dedicated employee experience manager, or a whole employee experience team, also signals to employees that the organization is serious about prioritizing them and their needs. If the strategy is only half-baked, or relegated to an overworked HR person, then employees won’t trust that this is something that the leadership team is serious about.
The EX manager can assume the job of monitoring and adjusting the employee experience initiatives, ensuring that the organization can adapt to changing needs and stay ahead in creating a positive workplace culture.
Technology can be a huge help here –– apps like Blink gather all essential analytics and communication streams in a singular place, connecting everyone across the entire organization.
5. Conduct employee research
Continual, specific research regarding employee journeys is essential when designing and managing an EX strategy. Organizations can use various methods to conduct employee research and gather valuable insights.
Here are some examples:
- Employee surveys: These can cover various topics such as job satisfaction, work environment, career development, and overall employee experience. Hosting surveys on an easy-to-use online portal or mobile app will drive participation and return instant results.
- Focus groups: Gather small, diverse groups of employees who participate in open discussions led by a facilitator to encourage candid conversations, allowing them to explore specific topics in-depth.
- One-on-one interviews: Conducting individual interviews with employees provides a more personal approach to gathering feedback and understanding their unique perspectives, concerns, and aspirations.
- Exit interviews: When employees leave the organization, thorough exit interviews can reveal valuable insights into the reasons for their departure, potential areas for improvement, and overall employee experience.
- Pulse surveys: Short, frequent surveys that are conducted regularly (e.g., weekly or monthly) are beneficial to capture real-time feedback on specific issues or organizational changes, as they’re happening.
- Anonymous feedback systems: Implementing anonymous feedback mechanisms allows employees to express their opinions and concerns without fear of repercussions, fostering a more honest and transparent environment.
6. Design the employee journey
Throughout the employee life cycle at any organization, there are a number of stages they will travel through no matter what: recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, recognition, career progression, and their eventual exit.
Understanding the ins and outs of all of these stages is necessary before attempting to design the ideal employee journey, so let's go through each one here.
This is the first contact that potential employees have with the organization, so it’s important to provide a positive experience to set the tone for their journey to come. Employee experience management here involves creating an in-depth and informative job ad, ensuring a smooth application process, maintaining speedy and reliable contact with candidates, and setting clear expectations to attract the right talent.
The onboarding process marks an employee’s entry into the organization. And it’s very important: A Glassdoor survey found that companies that invest in an effective onboarding process improved the retention rate of new hires by 82%.
EX managers need to ensure they are provided with a structured and welcoming onboarding program. This isn’t just about learning day-to-day tasks –– onboarding needs to cover the company’s overall goals and processes as well. It’s essential for helping new hires feel integrated, connected to the company culture, and equipped to perform their roles effectively.
An employee experience app can help directly with the onboarding process. Blink Journeys ensures that brand new employees are set up for success in their new roles and have an engaging experience in their first few months.
Learning and development
Throughout an employee lifecycle within an organization, employees should feel as though they are given ample chances for career development and internal growth. Otherwise, what are they getting out of this partnership that they couldn’t get elsewhere? In fact, a whopping 93% of responders in a LinkedIn study would stay longer at a company that invests in their development.
From an employee experience management perspective, this involves providing learning opportunities, mentorship programs, and a clear path for advancement, empowering employees to progress in their careers. There’s simply no downside to ongoing learning and development.
Recognizing and rewarding employees for their efforts and achievements is vital to the employee experience journey; when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged. Personalized and meaningful recognition is essential to let frontline workers see how much you value them and their contributions while increasing their productivity, engagement, and loyalty.
Employee experience management should ensure that recognition and reward systems are fair, timely, and aligned with organizational values, fostering motivation and a sense of appreciation. Using a platform like Blink makes recognizing employees instant and impactful.
Tied to the learning and development step of the employee experience journey, as employees grow and develop new skills, can they be promoted within the company or given more responsibilities? To put it bluntly, if you’re not offering them the chance to move forward with their career, they’ll begin to seek employment elsewhere. An EX manager can connect with individual team managers to continually assess which employees should be considered for internal progression.
Of course, we’d love to keep good employees forever, but that’s just never going to happen. Employees can leave for a whole host of reasons, ranging from job satisfaction to unrelated personal issues. Finding out why each individual chooses to leave the company is an opportunity to improve and develop the employee experience for current and future employees.
Employee experience management should have a hand in designing exit interviews, if not being present for them as well.
For more, download our whitepaper on frontline employee experience, which includes an employee journey template that is free to download.
Based on the research that has been done, you will now have the right information to understand which initiatives will be best for enhancing the employee experience.
These initiatives can include:
- Training and development programs, including workshops and mentorship opportunities that encourage employees to enhance their skills, beef up their resume, and advance their career within the organization.
- Enhancing recognition and rewards systems to ensure all employees feel like valued and necessary members of the organization. Recognition programs foster a positive and motivated work culture, the benefits of which we all know.
- Employee appreciation initiatives to thank staff regularly for all the work they put in. This could range from salary raises and bonuses to birthday cakes or individual shout-outs.
- Improving communication channels to ensure employees are able to quickly and easily contact the right person. Having a direct, instant chat feature will go a long way in making frontline workers feel connected. An accessible leadership team enhances trust and engagement among employees.
- Implementing a new employee app, like Blink, will centralize communication and resources, streamlining employee workflows. Employee experience management software makes the whole process much more manageable. With an easy-to-use interface, Blink isn’t just convenient for employees but also provides data and analytics to understand exactly how individuals are interacting with the content. Improved comms and feedback systems — available right on an employee’s phone — are essential for deskless workers.
Implement and communicate
After researching and forming a solid employee experience strategy, it’s time to begin to roll out the new initiatives and programs. As always, the key is employee communication –– keep your employees in the loop every step of the way. Clearly communicate the program, the goals, the benefits, and the expected outcomes.
Be sure to encourage participation and feedback throughout the entire process so that your employees feel a part of it. In fact, you should plan to communicate regularly with progress towards goals, through weekly check-ins or posts on your internal employee app.
Measure and evaluate
There’s no point investing time and money into an effective employee experience strategy unless there are also plans in place to measure and evaluate the new initiatives. Regularly evaluate employee data and collect ongoing feedback which can be measured against the goals and KPIs set out back in step one. Then, it’s just a matter of analyzing and making data-driven decisions to refine and hone the EX strategy.
It’s worth investing in employee experience management software to help collect, track, and analyze employee data to help stay on track to achieving the goals. Blink’s analytics feature collects all this intelligence in one place, so managers can stop guessing and understand exactly what’s going on.
Top tips for employee experience management
- Ask for feedback – your employee experience strategy will not be successful if it doesn’t actually address what employees truly care about. This can be done through surveys, anonymous response forms, one-on-one meetings, or by directly connecting employees and leaders through a chat function in employee experience management software.
- Communicate your plans – let your employees in on the process and get them excited for what’s to come. Prove that you are listening to their feedback by following through with solutions to the problems they present. Introducing a new communication system, which everyone can easily access, will help simplify the process and keep teams aligned.
- Hire for an employee experience manager role – this is a full-time job for at least one person (if not an entire team!). Ensure you have the resources needed to successfully implement a strategy and manage your employee experience. If resources allow, integrate a whole employee experience team into the organization.
- Implement employee experience management software – this will give employee experience managers better control over how employees perceive, experience, and interact with the organization in their daily lives.
- Consistently analyze & optimize – check in on how your strategy is going, and what your employees think of the new initiatives. Then, the employee experience manager can optimize the strategy based on the feedback gathered. Using an internal software or app can help streamline this process, providing employee experience teams with the data they need to make the right decisions.
You can’t have an organization without employees
Employee experience plays a vital part in the success of any organization; it directly impacts employee engagement, productivity, and overall performance. By incorporating employee experience management into the org’s overall business goals, companies can attract top talent, boost employee and customer satisfaction, and drive innovation.
To do this seamlessly, leadership buy-in is essential: it not only ensures strategic alignment and resource allocation but also sets the tone for a supportive and employee-centric culture. Employee experience management software is a huge asset for any organization looking to prioritize EX management, an expense well worth investing in.
Employee Experience Management FAQs
What is employee experience management?
Employee experience management is a strategic approach aimed at optimizing and enhancing every aspect of an employee's journey within an organization. It revolves around creating a positive and engaging work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to perform at their best.
From the moment of recruitment to daily work experiences, career development, and offboarding, every touchpoint is carefully considered and improved to maximize employee satisfaction and productivity. EX managers often use employee experience management software to establish better connections with employees and grasp a better understanding of their journey within the organization.
What does an employee experience manager do?
An employee experience manager is a dedicated staff member whose sole job description is to optimize and manage the employee experience at an organization. An EX manager focuses on enhancing the experiences of employees from the moment they join the company until they depart. They’ll collaborate with different departments to design and implement employee-focused initiatives, plus gather feedback through surveys, interviews, and other data-collection methods to gain valuable insights into employee sentiments and needs.
Some larger organizations even have dedicated employee experience teams.
What are the stages of employee experience?
The employee experience journey consists of several distinct stages that every employee goes through during their tenure with an organization. These are:
- Learning and development
- Career progression
Understanding and optimizing each of these stages is crucial for creating a positive and productive work environment, and the role of the employee experience manager. Employee experience management software, such as Blink, offers support for employees through every stage of the employee experience. With centralized communications and resources, detailed feedback forms and surveys, plus analytics and recognition programs, it’s the future of employee experience management.