What is Employee Experience and Why is it Relevant Now?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What is Employee Experience and Why is it Relevant Now?

In the past few years, employee experience has been a growing trend in the world of human resources. While customers were once considered the sole driver of profit, companies are increasingly paying attention to - and working to improve- how employees work within their company.

 

With 81% of global firms saying that employee experience is a regular topic of discussion among their leadership [1], now has never been a better time to understand how important employee experience is to every aspect of your organisation.

What is Employee Experience?

Employee experience, or EX, refers to how employees join, move through, work within, and leave your organisation. It’s a direct response to customer experience, or CX, which seeks to understand how a customer interacts with a business and its products.

 

CX has been a intensely studied topic for years now, which has led thought leaders like Airbnb’s Mark Levy [2] to question why we’re not applying the same train of thought to employees, given that they are the ones largely responsible for creating a fulfilled customer experience.

 

There are five main stages in EX that your company needs to focus on:

1.   Recruitment

This covers everything from the job description you use when advertising for new candidates, the application and interview process, to how long it takes for candidates to move through the recruitment process. Useful metrics include the rate of job offer acceptance, amount of applications, and cost of hiring.

2.  Onboarding

Once a candidate is selected, the onboarding process needs to ensure that the new employee’s initial enthusiasm is sustained throughout their time in this job role. While most new hires will take roughly three months to “ramp up” to their full potential, onboarding should aim to cut that time down.

3.   Development

Employees need continuous training and development throughout their career, as it benefits employee retention, productivity, and improves their morale. It also gives you the chance to train employees to take higher roles or move across departments if needed. While development is an ongoing process, it’s invaluable to any company that wants to ensure a great employee experience.

4.   Retention

Given that it can cost anywhere between 30%-150% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, this stage focuses on doing whatever it takes to keep employees happy, productive, and inspired. This stage often includes things like wellness benefits, social events, financial incentives, and rewards, although this can often depend on the company and its goals.

5.   Exit

Whether through retirement, moving jobs, or through life changes, employees will leave your organisation at some point regardless of how well your company has tried to retain them. However, when they do leave, it’s a good opportunity to learn why and if there was anything better the company could have done.

Why is Employee Experience Becoming Increasingly Relevant?

While creating a great employee experience isn’t a new concept, it’s becoming a popular topic in the realm of HR and recruitment, particularly as older generations are now reaching retirement age and Millennials are becoming the majority of the workforce.

 

According to McKinsey, Millennial workers look for flexibility, meaning, strong communication, and autonomy in the workplace. [3] However, the vast majority of Millennial employees don’t see themselves staying in a single job role for more than two years [4], which poses a unique challenge to companies that previously relied on the older generation who would aim to stay in a single company for their entire careers.

 

This shift in thought towards creating a good employee experience to enhance a business success is leading to more companies creating entire job roles and departments to address the issue. Thanks to remote working becoming the new normal, which is predicted to continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have to stand out to attract new candidates.

 

In addition, with the growth of social media, and particularly websites like Glassdoor that allow employees to review employers, it’s easier than ever before for employees to discuss their working lives online. As a result, keeping employees happy and supporting them throughout their career has become a priority, given that a single blunder can see a company go viral for the wrong reasons.

How Can You Improve Employee Experience in Your Business?

Employee experience encompasses more than just employee engagement and company culture, which is the biggest mistake a lot of organisations make when they attempt to improve their EX. However, these things are still important to EX. Here are the key things to remember when you’re looking to improve employee experience in your business.

1.   Listen to Employees

The first major step is talking to your organisation’s employees for feedback. However, you also need to be aware that they’re not likely to give honest feedback unless they’re anonymous, so using an online survey is a good option. Make sure to survey different types of employees across different campuses or countries, if appropriate, to get a wide range of views.

2.   Determine Metrics and Measure it

As with any goal, using data is a good way to keep track of the impact your efforts have. Business leaders and human resources should determine what their goal is with employee experience and define the measurable data that represents this, as well as when to review said data.

3.   Review Your Technology

Whether you work in the technology industry or not, having up-to-date hardware and software can make the difference between a frustrating employee experience and a productive one. Working with outdated technology shows that your company isn’t willing to invest in employees, even if you think that saving money on technology is better in the long run.

4.   Review Workspaces

When employees are spending more than 8 hours a day in the office, organisations need to make sure that the office is an enjoyable place to be. Even something as simple as upgrading the air conditioning can have a big impact, but things like upgrading break rooms or adding on-site gyms can make employees feel valued and improve their well-being.

5.   Review Flexible Working

With current trends moving towards employees working from home, whether that’s part-time or full-time, reviewing your company’s remote working policies can make the difference between attracting talented new people and them choosing your competitor. In addition, your company should consider allowing employees to work around other commitments like childcare, which will make them more productive and happier in the workplace.

How Businesses Can Benefit from Improved Employee Experience

It’s understandable to be concerned about the cost of improving employee experience, particularly if your organisation is considering spending money on large improvements like benefits plans, on-site gyms, or more external training.However, creating a great employee experience can have significant benefits for your organisation.

1.   Reduced Employee Turnover

Employee turnover costs an average of $11 billion per year in the US alone [5], and the cost of even one employee leaving can drastically eat into a company’s budget, particularly if they’re a small business. With research showing that highly-engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their company [6], investing in employee experience can save money long-term.

2.   Improved Productivity

Employees who are happy at work are 12%more productive [7], but they’re also 28 times more likely to result in a company listed among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies [8]. When your employees are happy at work and believe in the company’s values, they’re more likely to be engaged and love what they do.

3.   Better Customer Service

Happy employees result in happy customers, whether your organisation is B2B or B2C. Companies that invest more in employee experience have higher levels of customer satisfaction [9] for a multitude of reasons, including better products, better customer service, and greater innovation. Customers always notice whether employees are engaged and happy or reading through a script to get through the day, so investing in employee experience can also improve sales.

4.   Greater Profits

Research shows that companies that invest in employee experience often generate twice the amount of profit when compared to companies that don’t [8]. Given that employee engagement, company culture, and employee morale easily translate into an improved customer experience and less money lost to inactivity, it’s understandable that employee experience translates into greater profits in the long term.

 

Improve Employee Experience with Qualee

With onboarding and engagement being a fundamental part of employee experience, companies need to make sure they’re doing it well. Qualee is an innovative employee experience platform that makes it easy to get new hires up and running as quickly as possible. Once they’re onboarded, you can then use the Qualee app to communicate with employees, manage your HR workflow, and even support their learning and development.

 

To learn more, this page explains the different plans we have available for companies of every size. Or, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, get in touch with our friendly team for a customised solution.

 

 

 

[1] https://theexperienceofwork.economist.com/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2015/07/21/the-future-of-work-airbnb-chro-becomes-chief-employee-experinece-officer/#5d384f174232

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/employment-and-growth/independent-work-choice-necessity-and-the-gig-economy

[4] https://dynamicsignal.com/2018/10/09/key-statistics-millennials-in-the-workplace/

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/01/18/why-are-so-many-employees-disengaged/?sh=7c82c8ec1e22

[6] https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/corporate-advocacy-of-social-issues-can-drive-employee-engagement/

[7] https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows/

[8] https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-the-millions-we-spend-on-employee-engagement-buy-us-so-little

[9] https://cisr.mit.edu/publication/2017_0601_EmployeeExperience_DerySebastian

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