We’ve all heard of the customer journey and the customer experience (CX), but what about the employee experience (EX)?
Just as customers are essential to the success of a company, so are its employees. Happy customers, like happy employees, increase their bottom line by boosting their reputation as a great place to do business.
To understand the employee experience and why it is so important, we need to know what it is and not.
Often the employee experience is confused with employee engagement. Both are equally important, but employee experience goes far beyond just engagement; engagement is a subset of the employee experience, providing a more holistic approach to HR. According to ATD, engagement is the degree to which an employee is willing and able to be their best at work while experience is proactive—it’s about shaping what will happen; an employee’s workplace experience drives their level of engagement.
So then, what exactly is the employee experience? Much like CX, the employee experience is everything an employee learns, does, sees, and feels from the beginning of their journey with a company to the end. Let’s use this diagram to help explain.
The employee experience starts when an employee decides to apply to a company, the recruitment process. To attract and keep quality candidates, the recruitment process must adequately portray the company culture—what it is like to work there. Much like when a customer returns a product because it wasn’t what they expected, failing at this stage of the employee experience can cause turnover if the company or job description were not what the candidate was led to believe.
Once a company has landed the ideal candidate for the position, the onboarding process starts. This part of the employee experience should affirm the employees’ initial enthusiasm for the company. At this stage, a new employee has been introduced to the company’s culture and systems and the job details. If the onboarding process is done right, the new employee should begin to feel a positive connection with the company and desire to be productive and do a good job. When the onboarding process fails, the company’s bottom line could suffer either due to turnover or underperforming employees.
Making employees happy is a crucial ingredient of the employee experience. As noted above, engagement drives employees to do well in their job. Motivated employees are often looking to stay with a company and for development opportunities so that they can learn new skills, have new experiences, and, of course, make more money. According to SHRM, “[e]mployee development is almost universally recognized as a strategic tool for an organization’s continuing growth, productivity and ability to retain valuable employees. If organizations neglect certain challenges, then the employee development process will be cumbersome for the organization, frustrating for employees and of uncertain value for both.”
Retention is another essential part of the employee experience as it can significantly affect a company’s profitability. According to SHRM’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. So what is a company to do to retain its good employees? Just like retaining customers, companies need to keep employees happy—paid time off, bonuses, a comfortable working environment, and good benefits are some examples.
It may seem counterintuitive, but an employee’s exit is just as important as the beginning of their journey regarding the employee experience. Employees leave for many reasons, and not all are bad. Companies should have an exit process that leaves employees feeling optimistic about their time and work. A past employee’s positive experience can lead to increased company reputation, leading to more customers and referrals of well-qualified candidates for open positions.
By understanding and focusing on the employee experience, companies have seen a decrease in turnover and absentee rates and an increase in recruiting and retaining qualified and enthusiastic employees, increasing their profitability and reputation.
If you would like to learn how to improve your company’s employee experience and increase productivity while creating a more engaging workplace, please download our employee experience guide or contact us today.