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What is employee experience?

Your team should be regarded as highly as your customers. #EmployeeExperience revolutionizes how you treat your employees and offers a process that looks at the entire employee journey to create a better experience. Check out our latest blog to learn what is employee experience.

21 Aug 2020 by Rocco Brudno

Would you like to increase your business’ profitability by 20%? You won’t need to learn magic or use a special tool that costs you time and money to learn. By actively building and enabling your employee engagement, you can get to that number easily. Employee Experience or “EX” is a newer term, but the idea has been around since Ford opened its doors: treat your employees well and they’ll grow your business.

Employee engagement has been proven to help teams and companies grow—but how can you start using it? That’s why we drafted this guide to help you create a powerful employee experience and increase employee engagement. Continuous learning opportunities, access to training when your team needs it, and wellness initiatives are great starting points. Let’s look at how employee experience can be implemented in your organization.

TL;DR

We get it: you've got a lot on your plate and want to get straight to the point. We've got you covered—this section has all the facts, upfront so you know everything about Employee Experience at a glance. Want to increase your business’ profitability by 20%? Provide a positive experience for your employees.

Engaged employees produce more, work efficiently, and stay with a company that values them for longer. Quick ways to begin are providing access to training content, offering engaging knowledge-sharing opportunities, and regularly investing in their wellbeing. You’ll start seeing increased employee engagement, which leads to increased profitability, and a better business.

Want see how all of that pans out with the research to back it up? Read on for the full blog article from our experts!

What is employee experience?

For nearly a century, businesses were the gatekeepers of their knowledge, products, and experiences. By the early 2000s, we see the concept of Customer Experience began to gain traction with companies looking for a competitive edge. This transition was marked by customers being able to access and review a company and its products and services, shifting the power to customers. The internet made it possible for customers to obtain and share company information, and effectively evaluate its quality. This put customers as a focus on businesses for nearly twenty years after.

By 2014, the same exchange occurred between companies and their staff in the form of the Employee Experience. Mark Levy, the “father” of the employee experience, coined the term during his time with AirBnB. He pioneered the evolution of human resource departments by looking at a complete end-to-end journey for employees. Because he wanted to keep his staff engaged, Mark replaced the traditional “waterfall” style of HR with a more holistic approach.

Mark and the team at Airbnb put the focus on their team and how understanding the entire employee experience can be improved. In doing so, he created a system that encompasses every aspect of the company that interacts with employees. A great example of how EX is different from HR, is looking at how the two practices approach the implementation of a new program or process.

The Traditional approach with HR:

Upper-level management or leadership wants to implement a new onboarding. Typically once this process is requested, leadership and an HR specialist would strategize the delivery of the new process. This initial stage doesn’t typically involve any members of the team who’ve been previously (the end-users) and uses outside details to build a frame of reference. The new onboarding process will then be designed and planned by the HR specialist with little to no interaction with the team or new hires prior to implementation. Once completed, it is delivered to managers that will be running it with new team hires, regardless of role, department, or culture needs. Success is measured by metrics tied to the framework (often built for a different org) and overall employee engagement.

Pros:

  • The process is easy to enable.
  • It’s exactly what leadership wants.

The Cons:

  • The process doesn't benefit employees.
  • It’s not what your team wants.
  • Can difficult to measuring success

We can’t tell you the number of customers we’ve seen that try this model because it’s been around longer and just “was” the standard. Training doesn’t always have to be unflinching, and putting your employees as the focus has a lot of benefits.

The new approach with an Employee Experience model:

Leadership wants to improve or create a new onboarding process. Once requested, the training designer and the managers of each respective team come together. Rather than focusing solely on the onboarding process, they’ll look at what the desired outcomes are and how it will benefit new hires and impact their roles. They’ll review the entire pathway of onboarding from the first day to an experienced employee. Lastly, all points of knowledge will be reviewed, such as information delivered from veteran staff, policies from leadership, and any knowledge needed to excel in a role. Once this is done, they’ll present an onboarding process to be representative of the team members that were previously onboarded to revise for their feedback.

After that, the process is implemented with specifically measured metrics tied to expected outcomes that benefit the employee and the company. And as this process is used, it is constantly measured and revised to improve these outcomes and the experience of the learner.

Pros:

  • Puts the learner as the focus of the process and development
  • It’s exactly what everyone wants
  • Creates lasting results by building sustained employee engagement
  • Is exactly what everyone wants

The Cons:

  • Can take more time to create initially
  • Requires more effort to revise and improve

This model has, for obvious reasons (relatively new and bucks tradition), not taken off across businesses worldwide. But every customer of ours that uses this model of putting the learner first has seen the results for themselves. An employee experience that focuses on and empowers your team yields incredible results for your business.

The benefits of employee experience

The positive effects of creating and providing a powerful employee experience is easy to see from its history. But we’re also numbers people and, so we like to look at the statistics behind the concept. So here’s a breakdown of how improved employee engagement directly impacts your business.

Highly engaged employees, teams, and businesses create:

  • 21% increase in profitability
  • 41% reduction in absenteeism
  • 17% increase in productivity
  • 59% less annual turnover
  • 10% boost to customer satisfaction ratings
  • 20% rise in sales

We know these numbers seem a little far-fetched, but they become pretty concrete when you look at the scope of Gallup’s survey:

“The study covers more than 82,000 teams -- over 1.8 million employees -- in 230 organizations across 49 industries and in 73 countries.”

- Gallup Employee Engagement Survey

Did that get your attention? It certainly caught ours—that’s a pretty massive sample size to pull the above statistics from, and even more impressive to consider the implications EX for your own business. But how can you start building employee engagement today?

How to increase employee engagement with EX

Employee experience includes any aspect of your employee and your business. This can be as simple as what sort of coffee you provide in the break room, to how you offer training opportunities to expand employees’ roles. Below are three great areas you can immediately start delivering an employee experience that will build engagement.

Training Access

Providing your team with more accessible training knowledge resources can immediately do two things to improve employee engagement:

  1. Increase knowledge retention by allowing employees to apply training directly when they need it.
  2. Create a space for employees to store and share high-level best practices that rapidly enables team growth and success.

The list definitely can go on, but the point is that offering an open-access training program creates the same results of an open book exam: nearly 100% success. That’s because you’re encouraging your team to know everything they can to perform with maximum efficiency. Providing more accessible knowledge also allows you to deliver contextually relevant training, further enhancing your training experience with the team.

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning has been proven to increase employee retention and be a scalable solution to growing your team. This training style can be simple to start and simply offer refresher training to keep your team sharp. If you have specific roles, offering learning opportunities that help your employees prepare for the next step in their career. Continuous learning can also be offering monthly, quarterly, and yearly training exercises that provide new learning opportunities to your employees. These can be conferences, training seminars, or even offering a book budget for the team to use to build an office library.

Employee Wellness

Especially in light of how COVID-19 has affected the workplace, your team’s well-being is critical to their success. Some great ways to improve your employees’ well-being is:

Social engagement to build relationships

Scheduling hangouts (virtual or in-person) to catch up with each of your employees. This is a great way to stay in touch with your staff’s personal lives and what happens when they check-out for the day. If you have a big team, then break it down into:

  • You meeting with team managers and leads
  • Managers and leaders meeting with their respective teams
  • Departments meeting as a group

Physical health

Offer wellness initiatives such as:

  • Care-packages to help your team unwind (think face masks, bath bombs, etc.)
  • Meditation hour—a period your team can all set aside to focus without distractions
  • Creating more social moments that make work feel less stressful. These can be pizza parties (our fav) or lunch and learns where you provide a meal and a knowledge solution for your team. The point is to make work feel less like work and more enjoyable than it already is for your team!

Flexibility in the flow of work

Offering flexibility for employees to work outside the 9-5 in-office. Some teams have found a 4/3 split (work four 9 hour days, 3 days off) to actually boost productivity. Some have found offering total flexibility for remote work with roles that allow it to increase employee engagement. Work with your team to see what the best way to change things up will be for them. The positive response will be worth the effort!

Well-being for your team can mean a lot of things, but these are some great areas to start. As long as you’re focusing on improving your employees’ lives at work, you’re on the right track.

💡 Pro Tip: If you need help specifically with remote staff, check out our blog post on how to engage remote teams. We have tips that can help you interact with staff from wherever they’re working.

We hope you have an answer to what is employee experience and how it can increase your employee engagement. EX is an exciting field that opens the door to building genuine and strong relationships between employees and companies. And highly engaged firms with engaged employees lead to recognition for both. For even more tips and tricks to grow your team at scale, chat with our experts today!

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