From the moment someone applies to your company, a personal scoreboard pops up.
Every positive and negative experience contributes to the scoreboard.
This scoreboard represents the employee experience.
And it has an important impact on employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
What is employee experience
The employee experience is how your workforce feels about events and interactions at your company. It represents the kind of journey employees go through with your organization.
Everything from the job interview process to even the offboarding process has touchpoints that can positively or negatively impact employee experience.
When it comes to employee experience, the simplest path to success is to focus on the human experience.
As Gallup explains, “Most talent management strategies default to process improvement and transactional care of people.”
But Gallup encourages companies to view their employees as “consumers of the workplace.”
And this makes sense, because if you want your employees to truly buy into your company and grow it with enthusiasm, you need to sell them something worth believing in.
Check out these examples they give of the difference between an okay company to work at and a company with a great employee experience:
Company with a great employee experience
Easy hiring process through traditional means (e.g., clear job description, reasonable number of interviews, quick decision making process)
True job fit through understanding a candidate’s skills and personality and finding a role that suits them best
Knowing the mission by simply reading a mission statement
Connecting to the mission statement by understanding their role and how their work connects to the organization’s overall objectives
A nice manager that is fair, gives clear instructions, and treats employees with respect.
A coach who focuses on developing their employees, understanding their skills, and helping them thrive in their career.
As you can see, many of the things we would consider part of a “great company” are really the bare minimum. Achieving an outstanding employee experience takes work.
What are the different stages of the employee experience or employee journey?
While the specific touchpoints may vary across different companies, generally speaking, the employee experience or employee journey within every organization has five main sections:
Let’s take a look at each of these sections.
During the recruitment stage, you’re trying to attract the best talent. There are several ways your company may interact with and attract talent:
- Marketing your strong consumer or employer brand
- Building up a digital presence
- Posting job ads on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job sites
After you’ve hired a candidate, there’s the onboarding process.
Onboarding is commonly confused with orientation. But while orientation can be a day-long – or even half-day-long – process, proper onboarding usually takes about three months.
In fact, research shows that it can take up to a year for employees to feel fully proficient in their new role.
An effective onboarding experience focuses on two main goals:
- Setting new hires up for success
- Making new hires as comfortable as quickly as possible in their new role
Excellent: your new hire has successfully learned how to do their job. That’s great. But it doesn’t mean your work is done.
Now it’s time to invest in developing them.
When your employees start out, their goal is to learn their new role. But once they’ve learned it, their goals will evolve and superstar employees will be focused on growth.
They’ll want opportunities to work on projects that will advance their career.
And if they can’t find those advancement opportunities internally, they’ll start looking for ways to use what they’ve learned to get a better role, with better pay, elsewhere. Professional development stipends, 1:1 conversations with manager, lunch and learns, mentorship opportunities, and more are all ways to support your employees’ continuing education.
Retention is the act of keeping your employees. Turnover is an expensive business, and it can also be a sign of underlying issues like a poor company culture or low employee engagement. Fortunately, there are all kinds of things companies can do to retain their people, and there are specific touchpoints that determine how likely an employee is to stick around:
- The onboarding experience
- Mentorship opportunities
- PerksOpen lines of communication
- Training and professional development
- Clear communication about change
Not all employees will stick around and this isn’t always a negative thing. Some employees may move to a different city. Others may want a career change. And others may want a specific role or project type that isn’t available at your company. Whatever the reason is, this separation period is an important part of the employee experience.
Why? Because people come back.
They may go to another company and discover it’s not a good fit.
If they had a positive experience when leaving your company, they’ll consider returning.
And this is a bonus for your organization since you don’t have to spend as much on recruitment and you’ve got a candidate that already knows the business.
An employee engagement survey can help you understand your organization’s employee experience
Every organization is different.
Its business needs and company culture will dictate what that employee experience will look like and what a good employee experience means to employees.
With that in mind, it can be challenging to gather the insights you need when you’re working with a massive organization.
An employee experience survey can help you understand how people feel throughout each leg of their journey. You can use the following questions as a starting point.
Employee experience survey questions
The job description was clear and easy to understand
The job description should clearly state the following information:
- The job title
- Who the candidate would report to
- The salary
- The location
- The job responsibilities
- The required skills
- What the company does and its company culture
- Preferred qualifications (and in some cases a sentence letting candidates know to apply if they don’t meet all of the requirements!)
I am satisfied with the recruitment process
The recruitment process can be stressful for candidates.
A poor recruitment process strings candidates along, wastes their time with unnecessary interviews, doesn’t provide clear timelines about the decision-making process, and leaves candidates in the lurch uncertain about whether they’ve got the job.
This experience often has nothing to do with how promising the candidate is.
Sometimes, disorganization or poor processes can mean that a company takes weeks to get back to a candidate they were hoping to hire.
And in that time, that superstar candidate takes another job offer.
Use this survey question to understand what your recruitment process is like and where there are areas for improvement.
I understand what makes our organization different
What is your unique employee proposition? What does it mean to work for your organization? And what makes your organization different?
When you’re looking for candidates for competitive roles, the answer to this question matters.
I am feeling welcome at our organization.
The first month – up to the first year – at a new company can feel disorienting.
It’s especially distressing if you’re expected to deliver when you haven’t yet been given the tools, training, or introductions needed to make stuff happen.
Use this question to evaluate how employees feel when they first start in their role.
My role so far matches the role description provided to me.
No one likes a bait and switch, but sometimes this can happen unintentionally.
For instance, there may be a huge gap between the time a job is posted and the time a job is filled.
This might lead to significant changes in the job’s responsibilities, especially if there have since been changes to the team.
If a large percentage of survey respondents report a mismatch between their role and their job description, it can lead to a poor employee experience, a sense of being misled, and disengagement.
Use these insights as feedback for your job description writing and approval process.
I’m satisfied with my job’s level of challenge.
On one end of the spectrum, there’s the possibility that your new hires will feel like they’re out of their depth.
On the other end of the spectrum, your employees may feel like they’re bored.
If respondents report feeling dissatisfied with how challenged they are in their current role, it may be a sign that you need to offer more development opportunities, more challenging projects, or even start considering more internal candidates for open roles at higher levels.
What can we do better to improve your experience at our organization?
This is an open-ended question that can deliver great insights into what your employees and candidates want. Be sure to schedule enough time to go through these responses, since they’ll require more thought to review and parse.
I have a good idea about what I still need to learn to perform even better.
Your responses to this survey question will demonstrate whether employees are getting enough feedback and whether they have an idea of what their job development looks like.
If you get negative responses to this question, encourage your managers to schedule (and keep!) more 1:1 meetings with their employees.
I still feel like this is a great role for me.
While the focus is often on hiring new employees, or setting new employees up for success, it’s also important to nurture your relationship with your existing employees.
If they don’t feel like they have an avenue to discuss their position and how they’re feeling, the easiest option will be to find a role elsewhere.
I understand how my role contributes to the organizational goals of our organization.
A quick recipe for disengagement is to work on stuff that you believe doesn’t matter.
Every role within your organization contributes to the company mission somehow. Identify what that contribution is and share that story with a focus on how the employees in those roles make a unique impact.
I see a path for me to advance my career in our organization.
Is the career roadmap clear for your employees or are they left feeling uncertain about what their advancement options are?
Paint a clear picture of what a long-term career with your organization can look like.
My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
Do your employees feel like they’re stagnating or like they’re constantly learning and staying competitive?
If it’s the former, organize professional development opportunities, training sessions, or yearly tuition stipends.
You can also purchase a learning management system (LMS) where you can upload modules on topics your employees are interested in.
Why are you quitting this job?
Provide a safe, non-judgemental environment for employees to share their feedback about their role and what they would have liked to see done differently.
Seeing your company’s sincere commitment to learning and growing could compel them to return at a later date.
Even if they choose note to return, you’ll still have gathered useful information to feed into your developing employee experience and retention strategy.
Employee experience is too important to overlook
Employee experience is too important to overlook. This overall accumulation of experiences and touchpoints has a huge impact on engagement, productivity, retention, and employer brand.
By leveraging technology, like Sparkbay’s employee engagement platform, you can gather insights at scale and build a world-class employee experience. Click here for a demo