Enhancing the Employee Experience to Retain Top Talent

Ask someone in today’s workforce what they like most about their job and they probably won’t give a simple answer. It’s usually a combination of factors including benefits, the people they work with, maybe even how their office looks. More employers are noticing this phenomenon, and they’ve even given it a name — the employee experience, or EX. And a good EX is a big key to keeping your talent.

What is the employee experience?

If you’ve ever worked in (or read about) the technology industry, you might recognize the term UX. This stands for user experience, and it encompasses anything you see and use on a website or software product. Buttons, menus, graphics, how long a page takes to load, how quickly a report is generated… you get the idea.

Companies spend millions of dollars and countless hours reviewing every little detail of their product’s look and responsiveness. The goal is to ensure a top-notch experience for users so they won’t go anywhere else.

The employee experience is pretty much the same thing. It includes everything an employee learns, does, sees and feels at each stage of their tenure with an organization. Employee experience begins at recruitment when the prospective employee learns about a job opportunity with your organization. It continues through each stage of an employee’s life cycle, weaving through the entirety of their tenure.

Historically it was common for employee experience to consist of only compensation and benefits for the work performed. However, the expectations of the employee experience have changed dramatically over the years. Jacob Morgan, the author of The Employee Experience Advantage, states it well:

In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create.”

A quality EX must now include opportunities for professional growth, a sense of purpose, and a feeling of inclusion.

Importance of a Positive Employee Experience

The employee experience is far more critical now as employees’ expectations have shifted over the past several years. Attracting and retaining top talent in today’s market requires employers to provide a better experience than their competition.

Today’s employees want jobs that allow for better work/life balance, connection to meaningful work, and continued learning. A positive employee experience is key to having employees who are engaged and highly productive.

How do I know whether my employees are having a positive experience?

We’ve broken down three steps you can take to enhance your organization’s employee experience.

Step 1: Develop an understanding of your current employee experience. This can be accomplished through interviews, focus groups and surveys with current and former employees. Questions should target each high-touch phase of the employee’s journey:

  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Training
  • Development
  • Driving performance
  • Offboarding
  • Interactions with supervisors and coworkers

Identify areas touted as positive experiences, as well as those that need improvement.

Also remember that the needs of employees and organizations are constantly changing. Provide mechanisms to obtain continuous employee feedback; and keep tweaking your programs to ensure ongoing improvement . For example, develop simple resources for two-way communication between leadership and employees. You should also regularly monitor online reviews.

Step 2: Clearly define your employee value proposition (EVP).

An EVP is an internally-focused promise made by an organization to its employees. It describes the benefits they will receive in return for their experience, skills and dedication.

Create an EVP if you don’t already have one. As you do, ask yourself: Does the process for onboarding align with my EVP? How about employee development efforts? If you already have one established, excellent! Now compare it with your employee experience and ask the same questions.

The EVP should guide your organization as it develops the approach to each phase of the employee life cycle. Your employees should feel that the organization upheld its promise even at the point of an employee’s exit.

Step 3: Reinforce your EVP in the employee’s daily interactions with supervisors, coworkers and customers.

Consider broadcasting company achievements, offer in-person thanks to employees, and make recognitions and rewards personal. Employee experience has the most significant impact on productivity when employees feel valued and connected to your organization. It’s also crucial for them to see tangible results from their efforts.

Designing a great employee experience may seem like a herculean task. But ultimately your organization will be rewarded with an increase in top talent, better retention, and a positive impact to your bottom line.

Need more help? Partner with an experienced HR consultant. They’ve seen organizations at both ends of the spectrum (and likely every point in between!). By drawing from their knowledge and seeing what works best for your company, they’ll help you create an employee experience that keeps your talent with you.


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