Steps to building an effective employee experience

Treat your employees like your customers; take a walk in their shoes and ask, what is the dream employee experience?

Bhavna Dalal
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 11:26:05 AM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Human resources and learning & development (L&D) experts are upskilling in design thinking to create effective people processes. A significant aspect of this is shifting to a designer's mindset and architecting practical employee experiences for their organisations. What makes this so relevant now as opposed to five to ten years ago? Earlier, there was higher employee tenure. These days, the average worker stays with the organisation for as low as two years. Because of the way conditions were in the past, the human resources teams focussed more on ensuring compliance, decreasing liability, and fine-tuning administrative processes. However, now, with the war on talent being intensified, retaining talent and keeping it productive takes precedence. To this end, prioritising employee experience journeys has become essential.

What is employee experience?
We can define it as the multitude of interactions that occur in the relationship between an organisation and an employee over the employee's journey from candidacy to alumni. It is the events and interactions that employees encounter and the feelings and emotions they experience along the way.

Another way to think about it is to consider your employees as your customers. Ritz Carlton, Amazon, Netflix, and Disney are some of the companies that are featured amongst the most customer-obsessed companies by Forbes. They listen to their customers and utilise technology and data to understand what their customer needs truly are. They offer exceptional personalised experiences, fantastic perks and quality products. They are obsessed with providing seamless expertise and strive to use technology to dazzle their customers all the time.

To architect a fulfilling employee experience, companies must become employee-obsessed and work towards consistently wowing them.

What should you consider?
Look at the critical inflection points in an employee lifecycle and question how you can maximise value for the employee. Re-examine the processes at hiring, pre-boarding onboarding, continuous development, coaching, and so on.

Incorporate design thinking for employee experiences at different stages in the cycle--for example, maternity, promotions, relocation and so on. Try taking a walk in their shoes. Ask questions such as what does a dream employee experience look like?

Whose responsibility is it to architect a compelling employee experience?
The answer is, everyone. Right from the senior leadership that sets the vision and influences the culture, to recruiting and human resources who are involved in the measurement of the process at various touchpoints; from the managers who have a day-to-day impact in the individual's role to all the peers and team members that the individual interacts with regularly. It is a shared responsibility.

What are some of the common challenges?

  • Rapid team and company growth Mapping the employee experience will always be work-in-progress due to rapid growth. It has to be looked at as a balancing act and allowed to evolve.
  • Focus
    It is tough to gauge what is essential, and that may change, so a dynamic focus becomes necessary. One can get caught up in things such as daily noise, company swag, snacks in the office, free meals, pet policy, benefits and team building exercises. These are all important and have their place, but a sharpened focus is essential.
  • Cohesion
    Staying true to company values and vision is vital. A few things that matter to the company make it a consistent experience based on the organisational values. Always align with them.

To summarise, here are the key takeaways

    • Employees are like your customers; keep them happy
    • Employee experience is a shared responsibility
    • An integrated approach to processes and priorities within the employee journey allows the organisation to focus on what matters the most at that point
    • Deliver by reducing unnecessary friction, design thinking and investing in people and tools that drive a positive employee experience

The author is founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners, a leadership development company based in Bengaluru, India.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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