When it comes to corporate buzzwords, employee experience has been up there as one of the most popular in recent years. And of course, for good reason. You simply cannot run a company and turn a profit without a good work environment. And that all comes down to each individual employee’s experience.
What is employee experience?
By employee experience (EX), we’re talking about the overall journey an employee has with their organization throughout their entire employment lifecycle. This encompasses every touchpoint and interaction a worker has, from the ‘moments that matter’ in recruitment and onboarding to daily work experiences, development opportunities, and their eventual departure from the company.
Why are employee experience strategies important?
The modern worker has enhanced expectations for what their workplace provides and how they are supported, which is why now, more than ever, corporations need to be focusing on perfecting the employee experience. In 2021, over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. While the Great Resignation is mostly in our rearview mirror, employees have newfound standards they expect their employers to meet.
And the employers are listening. In 2019 companies spent an average of $2,420 per person improving their employee experience strategy. You don’t want to fall behind. Give your company a competitive edge over other employers by investing in your employees and delivering their needs and expectations.
Having a continuous and data-driven insight into the main drivers affecting your employee experience should be a number one priority for any modern organization. Whether you hire global employees remotely or recruit locally, If you want to attract (and retain) top talent, robust employee experience strategies are the way to do it.
Don’t let your company become just another stepping stone for employees in search of a supportive organization they want to stay at. A strong and well-designed EX strategy is a necessity for every company. Let your worker know that you hear them and that you value them and their needs.
Here’s how to build, design, and implement a successful employee experience strategy that’ll improve the employee journey for everyone in your organization.
10 steps for implementing an effective employee experience strategy
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just hiring great HR reps and conducting employee surveys. While 6 in 10 organizations know the importance of prioritizing an EX strategy, only 13% of employees actually report being satisfied at work. The disconnect comes when leadership teams and HR think they are focusing on the employee experience, but don’t actually know what their employees are looking for.
While assessing your current employee experience strategy and looking for areas of improvement, there are three important areas to consider, per Jacob Morgan.
- Cultural environment. How do your employees feel about working for this company? This is impacted by many factors, from the organizational structure and leadership style to the glaringly obvious: compensation and benefits.
- Physical environment. What is the employee experience like in the actual work environments where they spend time? This includes anything that can be seen, heard, touched, and tasted. We’re not only meaning chairs and equipment, but also office decor, break rooms, and temperature control.
- Technological environment. Do your employees have equitable access (‘techquity’) to the right tools to get their jobs done? Take into account mobile devices and desktop computers, the user interface, and the UX of any software or apps they use.
All of these environments can be broken down into areas that are pretty easy to assess through employee surveys. Specific questions about things like the access to the correct equipment, and the ease of using software to solve problems, are easy ways to guide the process of creating an effective employee experience strategy.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Define your goals
Before jumping straight in, take a moment to define the goals you want to achieve with this employee experience strategy. These will keep you on track and also help you measure the progress and success of your plan. Some examples of goals could be:
- Increase career development opportunities for employees
- Establish better two-way communication methods between employees and managers
- Improve employee retention rate by X%
- Increase survey response rate
The main thing to consider here is this: How does a positive employee experience align with the success of the company? Use this to inform your strategy and keep in mind that the introduction of an effective EX strategy can change the company culture pretty quickly.
2. Employee research
What you think your employees want may be vastly different from what they actually want. For a successful employee experience strategy, time must be taken to understand the position they’re in.
Gain employee feedback and insights to understand their needs, their expectations, and any pain points they encounter while completing their work. This shouldn’t just be a one-off either. Ongoing, regular surveys and calls for feedback can help you to constantly change and improve an employee experience strategy based on what workers actually need.
One thing to remember here is that management needs to foster an environment where employees actually want to deliver honest feedback. Prioritize cultivating a workplace culture of mutual respect and open communication between all levels of employees.
This can be as simple as creating two-way communication channels, where employees can offer suggestions or feedback and leadership can respond to them to show they are heard. If workers feel that their feedback won’t be considered, it’s unlikely they’ll be willing to take the time to communicate honestly with you.
3. Analyze data
Once you’ve collected meaningful data from your employees, it’s time to put all that research to good use. Look for patterns, trends, and areas of improvement from the surveys and use this to prioritize your next steps.
This is a good place to focus on the negative rather than the positive. What areas of your employee experience are lacking? Maybe your organization is exceeding in transparency, but the tools used by employees are not user friendly or accessible to everyone in the organization. Identify the drivers of negative employee experience, and use this to highlight what needs to change.
Use any other data that you can get your hands on, such as employee retention rates, engagement rates, and turnover rates.
Thankfully, there are many tools available to help capture and analyze employee feedback at every stage of an employment journey, such as Blink’s mobile app.
4. Develop a vision
Develop a clear and compelling strategic vision for the desired employee experience. What does a positive employee experience look like within the organization, and how does it connect to the goals you’ve already set?
For example, consider how an individual employee’s journey can affect broad-stroke goals such as:
- Employee retention
- Customer experience
- Bottom line financial goals
- Employer brand reputation
One way to conceptualize an ideal employee experience is through employee journey maps. Try to see through their eyes, and adapt your practices accordingly. Map out every stage of their employment, from recruitment to offboarding, and use this to uncover potential pain points and bottlenecks.
5. Set strategic objectives
As with setting objectives in any other area of business (or life!), these need to be measurable, time-bound, and directly linked to identified areas for improvement.
Some examples of objectives you can set for your employee experience strategy:
- Enhancing two-way communication channels so that there is an open line of communication between leadership/management and employees –– Blink’s Feed and Chat functions do this seamlessly
- Fostering professional development with training and mentorships
- Improving recognition and rewards, with a tool designed to make every employee feel valued and celebrated
- Eliminating cross-departmental silos
- Implementing employee well-being programs
- Prioritizing work/life balance, which can be tricky when working with frontline teams where hybrid work isn’t an option. Explore other options, including increased vacation time, mental health days, etc.
6. Design initiatives and programs
Now is the time to take advantage of the many employee experience tools and software available to help support your employee experience strategy. Identify the programs that will help you achieve the objectives you’ve set above, and find those that fit best with how your organization operates.
- Implement new tools, like Blink, which are user-friendly for both employees and leaders
- Offer training & development programs that make your staff feel valued
- Enhance employee benefits
All of this can be accomplished through Blink. Having an all-in-one solution where your employees can access everything they need in one place will increase productivity and simplify your work process – it’s a no-brainer!
Read more: The 5 best employee engagement apps for 2023
7. Align with HR practices
Let’s make sure things stay consistent. It’s essential that you incorporate employee experience considerations into existing HR plans such as recruitment, onboarding, performance management, career development, and employee engagement initiatives.
This will establish a baseline norm and ensure the entire employee lifecycle is a consistent experience. When everything lines up, it’ll all run a lot smoother.
Remember, employee experience is not just HR’s job. To be truly effective, it needs to stretch across departments from IT to finance and legal. EX is a set of company-wide programs and strategies. It is also a crucial project that needs to have buy-in from your leadership team.
8. Implement & communicate
It’s time to turn your plan into action. Before you make any big changes though, the entire team – particularly the frontline workers who will be affected – need to know.
Clear communication is essential here. Take time to lay out the new employee experience strategy including the objectives, expected outcomes, and the positive impacts it will make to their work lives.
But it’s not just enough to pitch the strategy and leave. Before you can start measuring data and analytics, first take the time to make sure your employees actually like the EX plan. Engage employees through surveys, with incentives for participation if needed. There’s no point in implementing a whole new strategy if no one is actually interested in the changes it’ll bring.
Obviously, HR teams and leadership know that communication is important, but often focus on stakeholders and the media instead of with their own employees.
To improve communication, consider introducing a comms app like Blink –– having a mobile-first app that all employees can access and utilize is crucial. Centralize everything while connecting frontline workers to each other, to their leaders, and to helpful resources.
9. Measure and evaluate
Now we’re ready to crunch some numbers. At the outset of launching your EX strategy, establish some employee engagement-driven KPIs to shoot for. These could include:
- Employee satisfaction (more on that here)
- Turnover rate
- Employee net promoter score (eNPS)
- Performance & productivity metrics
- Talent acquisition metrics
- Customer satisfaction
Ideally, you should be measuring and evaluating your established KPIs every few weeks at the minimum. Assessing your organizational data on a regular basis will keep you ahead of any problems that may arise, and will also allow you to track and focus on areas where you’re succeeding.
It can be difficult to keep track of all these data points without the right tools, especially if you’re not a spreadsheet wizard. A platform like Blink has all the tools you need to evaluate real-time data, so you can make smarter decisions and continue improving your employee experience strategy. Access rich data on employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and more, all in one simple, easy-to-use interface.
Best of all, Blink lets you create visual representations of data, making it easy to share results with leadership teams and stakeholders.
10. Iterate and improve
Improving employee experience isn’t a one-and-done situation. Creating and honing the perfect employee experience strategy is an ongoing journey, and should be cemented as part of the regular workflow. Remember, the goal is to establish this experience strategy as a core part of your company’s culture.
Use insights gained from measurements to improve strategy continuously. The employee experience isn’t static, it’s going to constantly change based on both internal and external factors. Organizations need to keep up with changing employee needs, industry trends, and organizational goals.
And with the right employee experience strategy, it becomes easy to change and adapt as needed.
The benefits of an employee experience strategy
As you’re well aware by now, having a strong employee experience strategy is going to revolutionize the way your organization operates. Ideally, employees will have increased job satisfaction, notice improved communications between teams, and generally feel much more useful and appreciated at work.
Benefits of a well-planned employee experience strategy include:
- Improved employee engagement
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Reduced turnover
- Increased productivity & performance
- Better collaboration and teamwork
- Positive employer branding
- Increased customer satisfaction
To put it simply, HR leaders simply can’t afford to neglect the employee experience strategy anymore. Free lunches, mental health days, and feedback forms simply aren’t enough to cut it, in this age where employees demand more from their workplaces.
Job satisfaction isn’t just something to strive for –– it affects the productivity of workers, and therefore the success of the company as a whole. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, it’s the employees who decide whether or not to engage with their work.
Of course, you want engaged employees. This is why a considered and carefully-implemented employee experience strategy is essential. It might not be a quick or easy undertaking, but it’s an integral part of any modern company. By following the steps above when designing an EX strategy, you can change the face of your workplace, both inside and out.
Today’s employees have high standards; Blink is designed not only to meet them but exceed them. Get a demo today and get started.
Employee Experience Strategy FAQs
What is an employee experience platform?
An employee experience platform is software – usually an app or on desktop – which gives organizations macro-level control over their employee’s journeys within the company. They’re used to understand how employees perceive, experience, and interact with the company as a whole, and used by HR teams to improve employee experience strategy moving forward.
The right employee experience platform gives everyone in your organization a voice, fosters a sense of inclusion, and reinforces the feeling that workers are really making a difference.
What are the three key factors of employee experience?
When analyzing the employee journey, there are three main factors to consider: company culture, technology, and the workplace environment. Each plays a major role in the overall employee experience.
- Company culture –– how do employees feel about the organization which employs them? This usually comes down to the company’s structure, hierarchy, and leadership, along with traditional factors like compensation and benefits.
- Technology –– do employees have the right tools to complete their jobs? This includes hardware like computers and mobile devices, as well as software including mobile apps and online subscriptions.
- Workplace environment –– are employees physically comfortable in their work environment? Think furniture, office temperature, decor, lighting, and noise. These physical factors all directly impact the well-being, performance, and productivity of your people.
How can HR teams utilize employee experience platforms?
Employee experience platforms give HR teams the power to truly understand the employee journey of every frontline worker at an organization. Surveys and feedback can only do so much, while EX platforms provide granular, data-driven insights into what’s actually going on.
Employee experience platforms are also the best way to provide instant, two-way communication with employees, especially in roles where workers aren’t constantly sitting at their desks with email open.