2018 marks a monumental transformation of the workplace that will redefine the focus of the business as we know it. The traditional customer-centric mentality is now a thing of the past with the spotlight being turned to an employee-centric environment. Businesses are now being forced to reshape their culture to align with the needs of millennials and incorporate a more engaging and interactive environment with a healthy work-life balance.
Heidi Lynne Consulting recently conducted a survey across her social media platforms asking 60 participants “what comes to mind when you think of the employee experience”. The responses were both surprising and telling of the lack of knowledge surrounding the 2018 buzzword.
Here are the results of the survey
2 understand the need and importance of it
21 felt it was too broad of a term to fully understand what exactly it is
37 believe it’s a ploy to make businesses look better and they really don’t care enough about their employees to improve it
This blog post will explore the topic more in-depth breaking it down into more simpler terms to help readers, regardless which side of the business they’re on, have a clear understanding of what the employee experience is and the benefits of it.
What is The Employee Experience?
The term itself is rather vague but refers to everything related to the culture, technology and physical working environment of the employee. The combination of these three pieces is essential to creating an experience that will impact the success of your business.
Culture in its simplest form is the personality of a business. It’s the characteristics that make your business unique and stand out from the rest. Let’s break down some of the characteristics present across both healthy and dysfunctional businesses:
Core values – the shared ideals and philosophies of what is right, wrong, good or bad. These flow through in everything a business does from marketing, decision making, relationships and the foundation of the business.
Traditions – Creating unique rituals specific to a company. Traditions are meant to engage employees while bringing them together. Some popular traditions are:
- Beer Friday
- Cornhole Tournament
- White Elephant Gift Exchange
Beliefs – while values are based on what’s important to us, beliefs are based on our convictions that influence the values of a company.
Behaviors – the combination of action from what people do and say in business define the behaviors of the culture. The stronger and more positive the mindset of the team, the stronger and more positive the behavior of the business.
Attitude – A negative or positive response that influences how one reacts to challenges, incentives and rewards.
Interactions – The way a business and it’s members communicate internally and externally.
Technology is the bloodline of an organization that keeps the information flowing and provides employees with the necessary tools and functions to complete their work. The impact of businesses neglecting their technology
- Decreases productivity
- Leaves them susceptible to security breaches
- Creates disengaged, frustrated and resentful employees
- Declining sales and revenue revenue
- Poor reputation and online visibility
A business that chooses to invest in their technology connects better with their clients, builds stronger relationships, has quicker response rates, closes more sales and makes better decisions.
PHYSICAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT
A well designed physical working environment sparks creativity, engagement and enhances the working relationships promoting a team-like atmosphere. Everything inside the four business walls helps to energize, inspire and motivate the individuals that interact within it.
It’s this reason why cubicles are being replaced with open floor concepts, standing desks, office snacks and fun artwork are taking over where the once mundane colorless walls once stood.
With technology, culture and the physical working environment as a guideline for creating a strong employee experience, it’s important to understand that the true experience starts way before any of this. It’s the moment a business realizes they have a need that requires hiring someone to fulfill it.
Having a well thought out and strategic onboarding plan is crucial to kickstarting the employee experience. This is one of the first real touchpoints an employee has with a business and according to a study done by O.C. Tanner 20 percent of turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment due to a poor onboarding program.
The common mistake many businesses make is either
- Not having an onboarding program
- Having a one with no strategy
A clearly defined onboarding program should have clear goals and expectations that provide enough guidance, independence and feedback to help the employee feel supported. Many businesses confuse an onboarding program with an employee orientation.
Orientation is an event. It’s the process of bringing on an employee and familiarizing them with the business mission, vision and values. It’s the powerpoint presentation and the paperwork the employee fills out as they learn more about the company.
Onboarding is a more in-depth process lasting up to one year. This process is integrating the new employee into the culture of the business. A thorough onboarding program provides employees with
- A pre-onboarding plan with a strong introduction
- Access to necessary systems and programs
- Thorough training and clear expectations of their role
- Proper internal and external touchpoints
- Consistent feedback
- Milestones with increasing responsibility
That last piece to the puzzle is recognizing and showing appreciation to your team. This simple gesture creates a massive impact producing a loyal team that will support the company through whatever challenges it may endure.
No two employee experiences are alike and with good reason. To mimic another business’ culture is the quickest way to destroy your own. What works for one doesn’t work for another and this is where many businesses fail. Their impatience, wanting to cut corners or their inability to see a need for one sets them up for failure creating a toxic and dysfunctional employee experience.
When businesses view their employees as assets worth investing in they reap major benefits such as
- Reduced turnover
- Higher quality work
- Increased revenue
- More clients
- Strong reputation
- Loyal and engaged employees
The result of investing even just 5% in your employee experience and the development of your employees produces a 3% increase of profits which only continue to climb with the referrals, consistent quality results and increased creativity and innovative ideas of your employees.
I hope you were able to extract some value from this blog post and use the information you gained to take action in your business by creating an engaging and comprehensive employee experience.
Where do you struggle when it comes to keeping your team engaged?
This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn.com