3rd May, 2023
Improving the employee experience in big businesses is big business. It isn’t just about morale (although morale is important), but rather, successful business owners understand that the employee experience directly impacts the bottom line.
It enhances productivity, promotes engagement, and increases employee retention; all things that drive revenue.
While employers agree that improving the employee experience is a great idea, they’re often left wondering how to do that, particularly when running a bigger business with highly varied staff.
We spoke to HR industry experts, intelliHR, to break down the employee experience here and provide the top seven ways big businesses can improve their employee experience.
When it comes to defining the employee experience, there are many different variations.
Global business analytics and advice firm Gallup says, ‘Employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organisation.’
Gartner writes, ‘Employee experience is the way in which employees internalise and interpret the interactions they have with their organisation, as well as the context that underlies those interactions.’
Lauren Stoltz, L&D Manager at intelliHR, breaks it down to the simplest format, describing the employee experience as ‘what your people say when someone asks them what it’s like to work for you.’
She continues, ‘It’s an aggregation of a thousand moments into a single instinctual response.’
Whether you think of it as a cumulation of moments, or a journey, it’s always the way a person perceives what’s happening within their organisation.
It spans the process, technology, social and physical landscape, and encompasses how staff are treated on the job — from the first day to the last.
This includes the onboarding process, access to technology, company culture, mentorship and training opportunities, formal and informal reviews, social activities and much more.
Its broad nature is why many employers — particularly in big companies — feel that improving the employee experience is a mammoth task.
But, it can start with a few small process changes that add up to a great experience for employees.
The employee experience brings big results for companies that do it well.
Research shows that companies that invest in the employee experience outperform those that don’t by 4.2x and earn a profit per employee of 4x more.
Companies that have better employee engagement demonstrate greater productivity (by 17%), lower absenteeism (by 41%), higher profitability (by 21%) and higher customer satisfaction (by 81%).
Beyond monetary rewards, having a strong employee experience also drives company culture and individual performance.
When you improve the experience, you see increased engagement, reduced ramp-up times, lower attrition, and general improvement of organisational effectiveness.
You’ll also have employees that are involved, enthusiastic and committed to their employer’s brand.
The overall team experience improves, including employee wellbeing and psychological safety.
Employees appreciate the simple (yet significant) joy of working in an atmosphere where their contributions are recognised and appreciated.
An engaged, included and empowered team is usually the highest-performing team.
Taking a human approach to managing people, embracing diversity at every level, and protecting psychological safety are key characteristics of a high-performing team strategy.
Each stage of the employee lifecycle is an opportunity to shape the employee experience.
Employers need to have a clear understanding of where those touchpoints are, to build on that experience.
While this may seem like an overwhelming task, it doesn’t have to be.
Lauren Stolz of intelliHR says, ‘Consistent, positive experiences at each milestone accumulate into a rich mental schema of what it means to work at your organisation and whether or not that’s a good thing.’
As an employer your goal is to make those small but consistent changes to build a robust experience for your employees at each stage of their journey.
Improving your employee experience is about doing a whole lot of little things right, consistently.
This is where implementing a strong system can help you drive your strategy. You can start by improving in the following ways.
Conduct surveys, focus groups or regular one-on-one meetings to gather feedback from employees about their experiences, challenges and suggestions.
Act on this feedback by making changes that address their concerns and suggestions.
intelliHR recommend businesses begin ‘collecting feedback of staff’s first impressions from day one, and then again at the end of the first week, with targeted questions around expectations during recruitment compared to experience, areas of assistance and hypothetical changes.’
Providing employees with opportunities to learn and develop new skills can enhance their engagement and satisfaction.
Providing training and development can also help employees see a clear path for career growth and development within the organisation.
intelliHR recommend this process be as easy and visible as possible — automating reminders that prompt managers and employees about training needs, or even building a self-service training request portal.
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Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by providing flexible working arrangements, such as remote work, flexible hours or job sharing.
This can help to reduce employee burnout and improve their overall wellbeing.
Creating a positive work culture is critical for enhancing employee experience.
Encourage teamwork, communication and collaboration, and recognise and reward employees for their contributions and achievements.
Employees value compensation and benefits that are commensurate with their skills and experience.
Ensure that compensation and benefits packages are competitive and aligned with industry standards.
Promote employee wellness by providing programs that support physical mental, and emotional health.
Programs such as fitness classes, mental health resources and healthy food options can help employees feel valued and supported.
After implementing a change that will impact the employee experience, Lauren Stolz of intelliHR says that it’s critical for HR to collect feedback around the changes.
This allows you to measure improvements and provide leadership with concrete evidence that your new strategy is working.
Prioritising the employee experience is a must-have in today’s business world, regardless of whether you’re a big corporate or a small business.
In every case, prioritising the employee experience can create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, enhances productivity and ultimately drives business success.