Employee Experience: Strategies, Measurements, and Tools
A good Employee Experience (EX) is the key to success in any organization. 92% of HR Leaders have placed it as a major priority. LinkedIn's Global Talent Trends also revealed strong links between EX and business impacts.
Companies that combined their employee experience strategy with training and benefits saw a 56% decrease in turnovers. Those who invested in better management saw a 143% increase in headcount growth.
If this is any indication, organizations should not rely on fat paychecks to drive employee retention. With the war for talent intensifying every day, improving EX presents a competitive advantage.
This post explores what EX is, its importance, and its framework. You'll also discover the best strategies and trends for scaling employee experiences as you read on.
🏄 What is employee experience?
Employee experience refers to the journey of a worker within their organization. It is an umbrella term covering the employee lifecycle from the pre-boarding/onboarding phase to the offboarding stage.
The factors that define employee experience include:
- The onboarding and offboarding processes
- The work environment and culture
- Procedures and technology
- Interactions with colleagues
- Employee responses
Employee experience vs. engagement
Employee experience and engagement are often interchangeable, but they aren't the same. Employee engagement is a part of the employee experience and refers to a worker's focus and commitment to the company and its goals.
Employee experience unfolds in different stages of a worker's life cycle and can trigger engagement. For example, new hires are already forming impressions of your organization since the recruitment stage.
The post-onboarding stage is where they interact within the organization environment and perform tasks independently. They know what is expected of them and are equipped with the necessary materials to fulfill 's goals.
Employee experience vs. enablement
In contrast with employee experience, employee enablement equips workers with the resources they need to do their jobs. This includes providing them with physical tools, training them, and creating a supportive environment to make optimal performance possible.
The basic idea is to tailor the work processes to suit the employee's preferences, rather than giving them what you think they need. By asking: "What do you need to fulfill this task?" instead of saying: "This is what you will need for the task," employees feel like they have a voice and some level of control over the projects.
Like employee engagement, employee enablement also contributes to employee experience.
❓ Why is EX important for any business?
Increases employee engagement
Organizations with engaged employees experience a 23% increase in profitability compared to disengaged workers. Fully engaged employees become proactive and can use their initiatives in fulfilling goals instead of waiting for direction from the managers or supervisors. For instance, your SEO consultant will work hard to gain inbound links to increase traffic and optimize old content without reminding them.
Reduces turnover costs
Turnovers are an inevitable part of running an organization. As of 2021, 65% of employees were actively searching for new jobs. Though you can't completely prevent turnovers, a great employee experience will help reduce your organization's costs.
Zenefits reveals that it costs roughly 20% of a salary to replace employees who quit their jobs. Such losses can hinder profitability when you run a large organization.
Positive employee experiences can boost your referrals even after the offboarding stage and ensure that the relationship between your organization and the offboarded employees ends amicably. In this way, your ex-employees are more likely to leave positive reviews about your organization and recommend it to potential hires.
Promotes Customer Experience (CX)
Employees are the bridges between customers and the organization. So it's essential to build an employee-centric culture to influence buying decisions and increase customer retention positively.
54% of customers who experience top-notch services are most likely to try more products from your company. Conversely, burnt-out employees will deliver terrible service and increase churn rates.
📶 Employee experience framework: The stages of EX
Candidate experience focuses on the hiring process of an employee. It can be defined as the perception job seekers develop about an organization during recruitment.
These can include the resume screenings and interview process and the communication with potential employers. Depending on their quality and duration, applicants may have positive or negative impressions of the organization, which can influence abandonment rates. For example, 60% of candidates will withdraw their applications if the process is too lengthy. Contrastingly, a positive candidate experience reduces friction and boosts the hiring process.
The Society for Human Resources Development (SHRM) defines onboarding as the "process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization."
The onboarding experience is where new employees complete the organizational matters and are informed about organizational structures, culture, values, and visions/missions. Most organizations cover all these topics in the pre-boarding program before the onboarding process, which takes a week or more.
Experience-driven onboarding processes often last 90 days, but the ideal approach should be tailored to your organization's needs.
Development & retention experience
Development and retention occur when employees have stayed with an organization for two or more years. By this time, the employees have enough skills to become one of the best ranking members. They continue to learn on the job and discover new ways to enhance their experience.
Your duty as the employer is to ensure that they are satisfied and have everything they need to succeed by promoting a healthy corporate culture. Therefore, it is also essential to measure their level of happiness and devise reactive strategies for solving problems. Subsequently, we'll show you how to measure employee experience in your organization.
The separation stage is where employees leave the company. Numerous reasons can account for this decision. For instance, some employees may want to retire or find better job opportunities.
Typically, your employees would give two weeks' notice before their departure. Then the offboarding process can commence, which can take two to three months to wrap up. Offboarding usually includes an interview and survey process to help you understand why your workers are leaving.
They would also need to complete some paperwork and other procedures, such as returning company assets (laptops, ID cards, etc.) to ensure they don't compromise the security and integrity of the organization.
📈 Strategies to improve your EX
Traditional HR strategies are reactive. They inform HR first when an employee has a problem, and then HR tackles the issue. Unfortunately, this strategy fails to consider the long-term repetition of that problem and its effect on the organization.
A good EX management strategy considers problems, even before employees have voiced them. Here are three strategies to help you improve your EX-management processes:
Promote a supportive and collaborative workspace
Updating the employees with the latest company news will make them feel less alienated and build a sense of community. To do this, use smart communication tools designed for large teams to make special announcements. Some other ways you can improve work conditions for employees include:
- Regular check-in on employees
- Introduce ergonomic workstations, e.g., efficient lighting and comfortable chairs
- Encourage idea sharing and innovation
- Offer rewards for individual or team contributions
- Organize lunch dates or 1-on-1 informal meetings
- Keep work interesting by promoting cross-departmental collaborations
- Give positive employee feedback and respond to complaints with solutions
Leverage an Employee Experience Management (EEM) platform
Leveraging Employee Experience Management (EEM) platforms will provide critical insights and metrics that will help you determine the best approaches to improve employee experiences. EEM platforms come in different types and with numerous perks, but the most vital features of EEM software include:
- API integration: To connect with third-party applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams for joint and enhanced performance (API monitoring will ensure their correct functionality).
- Analytic tools: For gathering information about employees and providing data visualization to help HR Managers make informed decisions and strategies.
- Workflow management: Creates room for customizing employee profiles and designing organizational charts to avoid any overlapping responsibility.
- Assessment & feedback modules: For exchanging feedback and analyzing survey responses.
- User-friendly interface: A simple and responsive interface is easier to learn and gets work done faster.
➡️ Our employee enablement platform is one such tool and we can only recommend having a look at our solutions.
You can also book a demo anytime and see what's possible.
Develop your management skills
Managers are employees themselves. So they must understand the diversity of employee personas and approach them differently. This is particularly helpful for companies whose employees come from different departments, age groups, cultures, races, and seniority levels.
Here are some tips for becoming the best manager:
- Develop soft skills like empathy, conflict resolution, and one-on-one coaching
- Host or attend mentorship programs
- Organize a ''manager hangout' or support groups
- Set SMART goals
📏 How to Measure Employee Experience
Define your parameters
You may be tempted to measure all aspects of employee experiences at once, but a holistic approach is time-consuming and would confuse you. So instead, take out time to clarify the purpose of your research.
Decide what part of the work cycle you want to measure—for example, onboarding touchpoints, workplace culture, and technology. Then define your expectations and choose which possible outcome is relevant to you.
Use surveys and questionnaires
Surveys and questionnaires are the fastest way to gauge employee experience without directly speaking to your workers. It is especially beneficial in situations where they prefer to stay anonymous.
You can start by defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and then building your questions around them. Below are examples of KPIs you can use in measuring EX:
On a scale from 1 to 5 ...
- Employee satisfaction: How meaningful is your work?
- Employee productivity: How accomodating are the resources and tools given to you to fulfill your daily tasks?
- Employee engagement: If you were offered the same job at another organization, how likely is it that you would stay with us?
- Employee wellness: How often do you have to overwork?
Analyze your results
Avoid using manual solutions like excel spreadsheets to process the employee experience data if you can. They can increase the risks of human error, which will ruin your statistical results.
Instead, use a visualization tool like Data Studio, ChartExpo, or Employee Experience Management (EEM) platforms. They are equipped with survey and analytic tools and will give accurate/actionable insights to implement changes in your organization.
Tip: You can use such insights to create employee engagement action plans that will take your people's employee experience to the next level.
Use qualitative methods
Add qualitative research, such as interviewing specific employees or conducting one-on-one discussions to enrich and verify your survey.
To make your inquiries less intimidating, check-in on employees frequently. Here are some tips to successfully get EX information from employees:
- Use conversation starters, e.g., compliment them on their latest achievements or refer to a significant event within the organization.
- Use open-ended questions to promote free-flowing communication.
- Encourage them with prompts, e.g., "tell me more…", "can you give me an example?"
- Discuss the status, progress, and challenges of ongoing projects.
- Offer solutions and adjustments to goals or projects.
- Ask employees for ideas, suggestions, and feedback on your management style.
Design a roadmap
A roadmap outlines your objective and the significant milestones to accomplishing it. The three basic steps to creating an EX roadmap are drafting, acting, and communicating.
Start with drafting out your goals to eliminate discovered bottlenecks or pain points in the organization.
You can use software like Productboard and Tara, then make decisions towards fulfilling each goal. Finally, communicate the progress of your efforts with employees.
💻 EX for remote workers - How to adapt to the new way of work
The COVID-19 pandemic is revolutionizing employer-employee relationships. As a result, more businesses are adjusting to the work-from-home lifestyle.
Owl Labs reported that 22% of employers had reduced their office footprints in 2021. It is expected that by 2028, 78% of all departments will have remote workers.
Adapting to the remote lifestyle can be overwhelming for first-timers. However, with the right game plan and technology, you can make working from home a breeze for your team. Here are three ways to create a positive remote worker employee experience:
Invest in automation
Certain parts of the onboarding and orientation processes can be automated. For example, you can use video calls to acquaint old employees with new hires.
Work assignments and partners can be distributed within a Learning Management System (LMS) or an EEMP. Save the personal meeting to expound complex processes that are difficult to explain virtually.
Create flexible work-life balance
A hybrid work model will provide a work-life balance for employees. The report by Owl Labs revealed that 70% of employees want to work in hybrid models because it is suitable for their mental health and responsibilities.
Before you change your company culture into the hybrid work model, here are some factors to consider:
- Budget: One employee costs an average of $510 per month to maintain the hybrid work model.
- Work distribution: Strike a balance between remote and on-site employees. Share tasks evenly to allow both sides to co-exist harmoniously.
- Upskilling: Tailor and offer training courses that will expand the skill set of remote workers.
Establish guidelines & policies
Remote workers will spend extended periods in front of their device screens. This can have significant impacts on their health and contribute to burnout.
Creating guidelines ensures that you don't overwhelm them with tasks and, at the same time, prevent them from slacking on their jobs.
Here are some examples of policies you can adopt to regulate the remote work model in your organization:
- Restrict calls and emails to certain hours in a day
- Schedule virtual meetings involving on-site and remote workers
- Define benefits and compensations for remote workers
- Spell out their rights and entitlements
- Specify the duration for which employees are to work remotely, e.g., until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic
🏢 Employee experience examples
Facebook ranks number one on the Employee Experience Index out of 252 organizations. It's also rated 4.6 stars out of 5 by Glassdoor's Employee Choice Awards.
The relationship between CEO Zuckerberg and his employees is a transparent one. The company adopted a weekly routine where leaders host a Q&A and Zuckerberg entrusts company secrets to workers, such as to-be-released products and new goals. By doing this, Facebook develops a sense of open community.
Microsoft is an employee-centric company that uses signals to improve the experiences of its workers. Those signals include staff surveys, direct interviews, and product usage data. After collating this data, the company guarantees its validity by matching what employees say and how they act.
It was challenging to track every signal at once, considering Microsoft has a complex organizational structure and 180,000 employees. However, they are developing a prioritization model to determine which employee challenges they should tackle first. This method helps the company save time and resources.
Moreover, each challenge is weighed differently by measuring its impact on the company. Once the most pressing challenge is discovered, resources are allocated to resolving it.
Apple is a collaborative company where employees exist as independent groups or functions. They can cross-trade expertise, innovation, and development on projects to reduce competition and increase productivity between the groups.
Apple also built a 175-acre corporate campus to house over 12,000 employees. It is equipped with a fitness center, recreation, and development facilities, which will promote the employees' wellbeing and creativity. The campus is aimed to eliminate the office-like environment and encourage an open workspace.
🛠 Tools to foster employee experience
Zavvy's onboarding program
Zavvy's onboarding software is a robust tool for streamlining the onboarding experience. HR leaders have access to pre-built templates for different employees and occasions. In addition, our integrations guarantees compatibility with applications like Slack, Personio, Email, and BambooHR.
Zavvy's employee development program
Zavvy's Employee Development feature is designed to automate, personalize and optimize the talent management processes. Create your own template or pick from the existing ones. Set out goals with deadlines and create a checklist to make sure you're right on track. You can also embed materials from YouTube or Google Drive - ensuring your teams get a dynamic experience while learning.
Zavvy's connection programs
All work and no play is something that every company should avoid. Zavvy's Connection programs have pre-designed templates to direct conversations from tedious office work to more interesting talking points. For instance, "Who is someone in your life you look up to? What are they like?"
Organizations can use Google Forms, Slack, and Qualtrics, among others, to monitor employee engagement and measure their Net Promoter Score.
Some wellness apps for reducing employee burnout rates and stress include Calm, Wellable, and Headspace.
💡 Employee experience trends in 2022
We gathered insights on the latest employee experience trends from numerous sources. Influenced by burnouts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the transition from traditional methods, these are the top three trends of 2022.
1. Wellness becomes a key metric for measuring EX.
Companies that invest in the wellness of their employees are expected to experience a 21% increase in performance.
Employers seeking high-performing workers should improve employees' quality of life by offering personal and professional support. For example, sponsoring athletic programs and establishing on-site medical facilities.
2. Flexible work weeks precede higher pay.
56% of employees list flexibility as the number one factor in improving their experience. Statistics also reveal that a four-day week is the best solution, with 64% of businesses reporting increased productivity.
3. Corporate culture is vital for success.
81% of employees say that company culture influences their job application decisions. Providing continuous feedback, creating functional training programs, and using seamless applications to connect employees are among the best ways to build a good company culture.
➡️ Improve the EX across all stages at the click of a button
Corporate leaders play an essential role in employee experiences. As one, you should strive to create an environment that promotes transparency, support, and growth. Most importantly, leverage automated solutions to replace manual processes and remove bottlenecks. This will redirect your focus on strengthening personal relationships with employees instead of getting lost in busywork.
If you need responsive tools for scaling employee experiences in your business, we've got you covered. Try our solutions for onboarding, employee development, and employee connections in the workspace.