Let’s start with a simple fact. Businesses that have high levels of employee engagement make two and a half times more money than businesses that do not. That is the reason employee experience has become the hottest trend in HR. Happy employees are more productive and stay with a company longer. Therefore, making sure your organization is set up to be employee centric is a no brainer. This means going beyond a good salary, bonus, and the usual employee benefits. But where to begin? Let me outline a few ideas to get you started.
Enhance your internal communications
Let’s be honest, most internal communication is dull and operational. It usually involves an email, in some sort of newsletter format, that just shares basic company information. Usually around topics such as, quarterly results, performance review or some pictures from the latest Inclusion & Diversity or CSR or other team event. Internal communications are supposed to be so much more than that.
The purpose of your internal communications should be to create a sense of community, encourage your employees to work together towards a common goal and to enable a specific company culture. When your employees have a sense of purpose, they are more productive and likely to act as brand ambassadors for your firm. Communications is about connecting with your employees.
Provide constant and ongoing training to your managers
People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. As a company you can have the best policies in the world, but if you don’t have good managers, it becomes irrelevant. You may have a flexible working from home policy, but if you have a manager that refuses to let their teamwork from home, your employee experience will be at odds with your policy.
Most firms don’t spend much time training their managers, to manage their people in a way aligned to the company values and desired experience. Therefore, employee experience in a company does not exist. There is no employee experience, as employee experience varies depending on who the manager is. One person’s experience is that they are coached, mentored and supported, another is a micro manager who screams at them. You need to train your managers to deliver a consistent experience, in a manner befitting of your organization.
Ever heard of stay interviews?
Exit interviews are a well-established practice, but what about stay interviews? Exit interviews can be useful, but they don’t help you keep an employee who has decided that they are going to leave. A stay interview is a conversation between a manager and an employee to understand what is important to an employee. The conversation must be open, and the manager needs to put their ego to one side and allow the employee to talk candidly about their experience.
By understanding what works and what doesn’t, you can then focus on what keeps an employee motivated and engaged. As opposed to only address a problem once it has become severe enough that the person decides they need to leave. Its also a great way to build your internal talent pipeline.
Act on employee feedback
The number of times across my career that I have heard an employee say employee engagement surveys are pointless because nothing changes, is scarily high. Most firms will do an annual survey, then at a town hall or via an email they will say they have taken onboard the feedback. They then announce some superficial action points and then quietly revert to business as usual a couple of months later.
This backfires all the time and it leads to employees not trusting their leadership. Employees are more likely to share their thoughts, feedback and ideas if they feel like they are going to be listened to. The best companies execute on the back of employee feedback.
Invest in your onboarding experience
Did you know that 33% of employees begin looking for a new job, within 6 months of joining a new firm? The reasons for this can all be traced back to a poor onboarding experience. Most employees sign a contract and then never hear from an employer again until their first day, other than to collect some documents. Likewise, most firms onboarding experience usually involves a couple of introductions to other folks in the team and maybe a brief overview of the company. There are also several companies that don’t have a staff orientation programme. The quicker you integrate a new hire into your team and make them feel like they belong and are contributing to a bigger purpose, the better their experience will be.
Provide your employees with customer feedback
Employee experience and customer experience are intrinsically linked. If your employees are not happy, they are not going to provide great customer experience. Likewise, great customer feedback boosts morale and reinforces good behaviour. However, when a customer does provide good feedback, which could be via tweet or some other social media comment. Or more formally via an experience survey, the comments are rarely shared with employees.
Customer feedback should be broadcast through the entire organisation to show that not only is the company succeeding, but the employees are doing a great job.