As we begin to see the light at the end of the pandemic, we are beginning to realize just how transformational the last year has been.
And it’s not just organizations or business owners that have experienced a massive transformation. Employees have too, and their expectations from their employer are now higher than ever. They are more selective, and only want to work for companies that realize their worth and prioritize their needs and well-being.
They want a positive “employee experience.”
“The employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organization,” according to Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm that helps leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems.
In other words, how are employees experiencing their own workplace?
Employee experience is the total of every interaction an employee has with your organization. It starts at recruitment, moves to onboarding, training, and then every other experience that happens up until the day that they leave. It includes everything from work anniversaries, personal relationships with their co-workers, to the ease and effectiveness of the technology they use and their physical work environment.
Leadership has an opportunity to have touchpoints with their employee at each of these stages of employment to make it a good experience, and no component of the employment is more or less important than the other.
For instance, I have a client who is a c-suite executive in a mid-size corporation. She loves her job but almost worked for a competitor instead. The competitor had gone out of their way to recruit her, but after the first interview, communication dropped off. “I was very confused,” she said. “My interview went so well, and it seemed like our values were completely aligned. Then, nothing.”
But they did call her back. Two months later. They apologized for the delay and told her that she was the front-runner, but they had been distracted by other priorities at the organization. They now were ready to schedule the second interview. But it was too late. The recruiting experience had left a sour taste in her mouth. “I was already frustrated and discouraged and I hadn’t even started. If someone had just reached out to me in those two months, I would have been more understanding,” she added. “Having no communication gave me a glimpse of what it must be like to work for that company. I was no longer interested.”
So, how do you ensure you’re providing a positive employee experience?
The most important thing you can do is keep the lines of communication wide open. Welcome your new employees before they even start. Make them excited to come work for you.
When they do start, ensure that their onboarding and training experience is organized, comprehensive, and efficient. After two or three months, meet with them (or all of your new employees) and ask for their feedback. What has been great about their experience since they started? What needs improvement? If they offer good suggestions, implement them as soon as possible.
Celebrate work anniversaries and publicly praise their accomplishments whenever possible. Also, create opportunities for your employees to connect beyond the annual holiday party, and facilitate the formation of their own community. Company sports teams, retreats, after-hours gatherings will all help bring your teams together.
The companies that get the employee experience right are the ones that will build a competitive advantage and differentiate themselves from the rest of the companies trying to attract and retain A-plus talent. It takes a little more attention and effort, but the benefits are worth far more than the time investment it takes to make your employees happy at work.
Leah LaCross is founder of Scargo Consulting, based in Dennis. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org