Creating an Employee Experience

It’s an experience. A single moment that makes a person feel something. A feeling that a person associates with something. Many successful companies create experiences for customers to delight them and increase loyalty.

For decades, we’ve known that we not only need to deliver a quality product or service, but that we need to focus on the customer experience. But what we have unintentionally ignored is the fact that employees are expecting the same. We’re not talking about massage therapists and bowling alleys necessarily; but employees want to feel good working for your company.

It’s not just about culture or employee engagement. It’s not just the small benefits or perks you offer. It’s about designing work for and around the people who work for you. It’s about making sure your team wants to come to work. Making sure they actually enjoy working for your company. For over ten years now, Glassdoor has released an annual list of the “Best Places to Work” based upon the overall employee experience. According to an article by Forbes, the factors that contribute to this ranking are “overall satisfaction, career opportunities, compensation, work-life balance, and business outlook.” They also include a ranking for each company’s CEO and even the interview process.

Working with a leadership team recently, we spent some time discussing how to retain our best recruits and employees. We found that in this particular case, employees were voluntarily leaving within ninety days. And we figured out that it was because of the employee experience.

Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Start by finding the gaps. The message you think you are communicating may not be the message your employees are receiving. Survey your employees. This can be done through a full blown engagement survey, short pulse surveys conducted over a period of time, focus groups, or even one-on-one conversations. We don’t always know what our employees need or what they’re missing. The only way to find out is to ask.
  • Next, figure out what you need to do to fill in those gaps. Does what you think you are providing match what your employees are saying? What does the data tell you? If you think your culture is one that promotes collaboration and a work-life balance, what specific actions have you taken to make it that way? And have your employees seen the effect or reaped the benefits?
  • Then, define your employment brand. Just like a company brand that helps customers understand who you are, how you act, and how you’re different, companies also have an employment brand…whether it is intentional or not. It’s best if your employment brand is created intentionally. Define your employee brand and deliver on your promise. Be sure that if your recruiters are promising a fun-filled work environment, the new employees won’t find drama and protective behaviors in abundance.
  • Finally, we want people to be held accountable for the things they do, right? So be sure that managers and leaders in your company are holding people accountable to the employee brand and values. If we want to have an environment that is fun and productive, then they need to know what behaviors support that and what behaviors don’t. For instance, if part of your employee experience promotes a work-life balance or allows employees to work remotely, make sure supervisors aren’t displaying passive-aggressive behaviors when an employee leaves early or decides to work from home. It’s about training, modeling, and promoting the right behaviors.

It’s time to start being proactive. Don’t wait until your star performers are job searching. Don’t wait until employees are experiencing burn out. And don’t wait until drama has overtaken your organization. The workforce is changing. Your company should too.


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