Ways To Improve Your Employee Experience Strategy
Refining your business’ employee experience strategy can boost productivity, retention, engagement and job satisfaction rates. To develop a great employee experience strategy, it’s important to understand the factors that contribute to your employees’ relationships with your company and how to enhance them. In this article, we discuss what an employee experience strategy is, explain how to build one in three steps and offer 17 strategies that could help improve your company’s employee experience.
What is employee experience strategy?
Employee experience strategy, also referred to as EX, is a comprehensive plan businesses can use to encourage their employees to have positive thoughts and feelings about their company. Employee experience refers to how your employees view your company and their various interactions within it. These interactions may occur during recruitment, training or their time as a full-fledged staff member.
Employee experience can affect nearly all aspects of a staff member’s performance with your company, including their productivity, engagement and loyalty. With an EX strategy, employers develop plans and tactics that aim to improve their staff’s relationship with their company.
How to build an employee experience strategy
Employee experience typically comprises three key factors: company culture, technology and work environment. To determine how to optimize your business’ employee experience, it’s helpful to first consider your staff’s needs and abilities in relation to these three areas:
1. Evaluate your company culture
Figure out the type of employee experience you want to provide in relation to your company culture. For example, if your company culture values in-person communication, then part of your employee experience might be stressing that staff communicate in person as often as possible. As another example, if your company culture emphasizes helping others, then part of your employee experience might involve checking in with teammates regularly to see if they need assistance or organizing company-wide volunteer events.
2. Assess your tech needs and systems
The technology infrastructure, devices and systems your organization uses can have a huge effect on employee experience. Your organization’s exact technology needs can vary based on many factors, including your industry and existing technology structures, but providing your staff with the technology they need can optimize their job performance.
3. Analyze your work environment
Elements of your work environment—such as lighting, work stations, air conditioning or heating systems and furniture—can affect how employees experience your company. Employees may be more productive and engaged in their work when they have spaces that encourage efficiency and contentment.
Employee experience strategies
Here are some strategies that could help improve your company’s employee experience:
1. Ask employees for feedback
Encourage your employees to provide you with feedback throughout their experiences with your company. Regularly receiving feedback from your employees can give you a range of perspectives outside of company management on how employees feel about their relationships with your organization. You can ask your employees for general feedback or ask about certain topics or questions, like how engaged they feel with their jobs or how they feel about referring people to your company.
2. Evaluate organizational data
Analyze your organizational data, such as statistics related to retention, engagement and morale. High rates of retention, engagement and other key metrics often may correlate with how happy your staff feels with their employee experience. Assessing your numerical data can provide you with a more objective point of view on some aspects of your company’s employee experience. Consider using organizational data coupled with the feedback you receive from your employees so that you can view the experience from multiple perspectives.
3. Map the employee journey
Create a map of your organization’s typical employee journey, such as their experiences during recruitment, training or advancing in your company. Mapping out your staff members’ journey can help you figure out the areas that you most need to focus on or invest in to enhance the employee experience. For example, you might realize that you need to optimize the onboarding experience so that employees can get the most benefit out of their training.
4. Communicate regularly
Contact your employees consistently to check in or see if they have questions. Open communication channels between employees and supervisors can help ensure that potential issues get addressed before they develop into larger or more complex challenges. You can also encourage your employees to contact you or their designated supervisor whenever they need. Make sure that employees understand the best ways of communicating various types of information. For example, your organization’s communication channels for taking time off might differ from those for asking questions.
5. Optimize recruitment processes
The experiences that candidates have during their recruitment period help form their first impressions of your company and may influence whether they decide to become employees. Determine if you can optimize any aspects of your recruitment process to improve candidates’ early interactions with your company. For example, if your company has its own online job portal, make sure that the online application works well on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
6. Develop thorough onboarding
Ensure that your onboarding process helps prepare your employees for success in their new roles. A great onboarding process gives employees vital information about both your company as a whole and the requirements for their new role. Evaluate your current onboarding process and see if there are any areas that you could improve. The best onboarding strategies might vary based on factors like your company culture but could include getting paperwork signed prior to an employee’s first day, assigning them a buddy or contact person, giving them questionnaires to introduce them to team members or helping them set goals.
7. Recognize employee contributions
Acknowledge your staff for their hard work, accomplishments or other aspects of their work performance. How appreciated an employee feels can make a tremendous impact on their overall EX with your company. You can recognize your employees privately or through public channels, like an employee message board or a company newsletter. You might also consider developing an incentives program that gives employees rewards, such as extra paid time off or catered lunches, for outstanding job performances.
8. Implement a mentorship program
Create a mentorship program that can help employees learn from one another. Some companies implement a mentorship program that matches employees with less experience to professionals with more experience in the same job or field. This type of mentorship program can help newer employees gain insights as to how they can progress their careers or hone their skill set. Other organizations prefer to develop small mentorship groups of three to four people from various fields or departments. The primary advantages of this type of mentorship program are that companies may develop more cross-functional teams and a stronger overall company culture.
Whichever mentorship model your organization chooses, a mentorship program gives employees a chance to build and develop unique relationships within their organization. Stronger staff relationships can boost collaborative efforts, optimize communication channels and increase employee engagement.
9. Prioritize your improvements
Determine one or two aspects of your employee experience to improve at a time. While your company may decide long-term to alter multiple elements of your EX, focusing on one or two at a time can help minimize your stress and improve your ability to optimize that element.
When evaluating your priorities, consider both organizational data and employee feedback. For example, if you want to boost your engagement rates and listen to staff feedback requests for greater collaboration, your first priority might be to facilitate team-building exercises, a cross-functional mentorship program or another initiative that promotes internal employee relationships.
10. Give employees feedback
View company feedback as a mutually beneficial process for both employees and company managers. In addition to asking your employees to give you feedback, give them regular feedback too. Offering staff consistent and constructive feedback can help them figure out how to strengthen their professional weaknesses and make them feel like valued members of the organization. You can give staff feedback through a variety of methods, such as performance reviews or written reports.
11. Provide career development opportunities
Give your employees ways to grow their skills, gain valuable professional experiences, broaden their industry knowledge or advance their careers. Career development opportunities may include:
- Sending your employees to external conventions, conferences, classes or workshops
- Providing internal training systems
- Giving employees who aren’t supervisors additional or leadership responsibilities
- Compensating employees for their memberships to professional organizations
- Letting employees job-shadow coworkers in other departments or fields
- Promoting employees internally
12. Conduct exit interviews
Perform exit interviews with employees shortly before they leave your company. Staff turnover is a natural part of any company. However, conducting exit interviews can help you evaluate how to improve your retention rates in the future. For example, if an employee tells you during their exit interview they left because of career development opportunities, you might consider sending your current employees to more conventions or creating an internal training program.
13. Run team-building exercises
Regularly run team-building exercises that help employees strengthen their relationships and collaboration skills. Team-building exercises can range from questions that help employees get to know one another to more complex challenges or games. Try to pick team-building exercises that can develop skills your employees need to successfully cooperate for their normal job responsibilities as well. For example, if you want your employees to hone their creative thinking skills, you might pick an exercise that encourages them to think in unique ways they might not while performing their regular job duties.
14. Upgrade technology
Consider upgrading or purchasing new technology systems or devices. Assess how well your current technology infrastructure allows employees to perform their job and see if there are specific aspects you could improve. If your company, for example, has many employees who telework part-time, it may be beneficial to invest in laptops that employees can use both in the office and at home. As another example, if your company handles sensitive or confidential data, then a critical part of your employee experience may be updating your cybersecurity systems.
15. Improve the work environment
Think about how you could make your employees’ physical workspaces or the overall company premises more conducive to productivity. This may include adding more windows, comfortable furnishings, ergonomic tools or larger workstations. Even if your staff work remotely, you can still help them create workspaces that optimize their job performance. For example, you could give employees a stipend for home office furniture or compensate their fees at a coworking space.
16. Consider compensation packages
If your company has the resources to improve your employee compensation, think about doing so. Compensation packages can include not only salary but other benefits, such as paid time off or insurance policies. Look for ways that might optimize your operational costs while improving compensation, such as by offering dental or disability insurance bundled with other types of policies.
17. Look at other companies
Evaluate what companies do to provide great employee experiences. Analyzing how organizations similar to yours optimize their employee experience can help give you realistic and useful ideas for improving your EX. For example, you might notice that companies similar to yours offer flexible work hours that your company could implement too.