Companies love to brag about how great it is doing business with them: “We guarantee that your customer experience is our top priority!”
Businesses use a positive customer experience to market to their consumer audience, but what about when it comes to recruiting and retaining top-talent employees? Here’s a better question: how often do businesses talk about and promote their employee experience?
The truth is, employee satisfaction is more important than ever before, especially when it comes to employee retention and success in the business place. Just like how the customer experience affects your bottom line, the perception that employees have of their own company affects business, too.
How workers interact with your brand, what they encounter, and their overall impression of their workplace all contribute to their experience, which directly impacts company culture, productivity, and revenue. And the statistics agree—a Gallup survey focusing on employee experience shows that, due to greater productivity and high attendance,highly engaged business units result in a 23% difference in profitability.
Now, you may be wondering: what is employee experience? It’s a pretty broad term in the HR industry, but when you simplify it all, employee experience describes someone’s journey with a company from start to finish. It encapsulates what they learn and discover, the people and policies that shape their work environment, and anything else that impacts what the employee does during their employment.
While every person’s experience is going to vary, HR, employers, and other leaders in your company have an excellent opportunity to influence the standard experience of your employees for the better. Catering to the individual and knowing what actually matters to the people in your organization is going to improve your brand, the performance of your teams, and the satisfaction people strive for in work life.
If you want to take more ownership of the experience your employees have, you’re in the right place! Employee experience management starts with understanding the employee lifecycle and the needs of your employees.
Stages of the Employee Experience
Each stage of the employee lifecycle will impact the employee experience for better or worse, and management can help determine those positive or negative outcomes. You can think of the employee lifecycle as a model that outlines the specific stages that an employee experiences at one company. Each stage will influence an employee in different ways, so designing a healthy and appealing life cycle at every step will have a lasting impact on both the employee and the company.
Attraction & Recruitment
The impression a business makes will start before someone is actually hired, which is where the employee lifecycle begins: during the recruitment process. How you attract top talent and hire the best people for your company is one a company shapes its culture and sets an employee’s expectations.
First, think about how easy it is to apply for a job with your company. Are the instructions for applying clear? How long does it take for people to hear back from you? Is the interview process professional and do you offer enough reassurance to qualified applicants? If you have poor communication or are inconsiderate of an applicant’s time, you’ve already set the tone and impeded someone’s employee experience.
Next, ensure that you are attracting the right people who will be content at your company. What do you post online and what do your job postings include? Do you highlight your company values? Do you offer competitive benefits and other value propositions? Are you upfront about the preferred experience and education? Someone who understands your business’ priorities can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to apply.
Employers show that they care about the people they hire and employee experience right from the beginning, which creates a sense of trust between employer and employee.
Once you’ve found the best people who fit the position and your company culture, consider how the onboarding process affects your employee’s experience. Onboarding a new employee is all about expectations and training. New workers need to understand how they fit into the company, how they can use their benefits, how the chain of command works, and how they will be supported as they adjust to their new role.
New hires need the opportunity to become familiar with the tools, systems, and procedures that they are required to master. This takes time, and the patience and support offered by management and HR help someone maintain their excitement of being hired as they navigate the massive learning curve.
Some employees are brought on and then expected to immediately perform at a high level with little support, which can discourage and isolate a formerly eager hire. For a better employee experience, focus on taking an active role in someone’s first several months at your company by making sure they are well-informed on resources and following up with them regularly. A strong onboarding program can cement someone’s connection to a company and make them feel valued enough to stick around long-term.
Once the newness of a job starts wearing off, usually between 6 months to a year after being hired, employees enter the development stage. This level of employment is more consistent as an employee settles into their position, but people still need support and opportunities to grow in a company. Sometimes development is learning a new skill and helping someone assess their knowledge; other times, people need to change or advance within the company to continue growing.
The employee experience can become pretty drab if someone is experiencing the same thing day-to-day with little improvement, updates, or feedback. Management needs to support their employees in learning new skills and expanding their professional portfolio to empower others to work at their best. Plus, employers must find ways to reward and recognize employees who have been loyal and high-performing since being hired—the last thing you want is someone feeling underappreciated and underutilized. The key element of the development stage is helping employees feel needed and offering reassurance that they are an important part of your organization’s future.
Especially as younger generations like millennials (who are more than twice as likely to quit as baby boomers) begin overtaking the workforce, keeping employees comes down to what employers make of the employee experience, which is about more than just wages. People care about how much they make, but more and more, people want a work life that adds to their life rather than burdens it, and if your company cannot provide a satisfactory experience, another company can. A reliable retention program will inspire employees to perform better as loyal contributors to the company’s vision, and that program should be rooted in employee wellbeing.
An employee will eventually leave your company, whether they are terminated or have found a better opportunity, or even if they’ve retired. It isn’t always the fault of the employer when employees resign; people need to be able to prioritize their employee experience at work, and some workplaces or industries simply aren’t the right fit. However, you can still prevent negative employee experiences by taking care of your employee’s needs in the previous stages of the employee lifecycle. The best way to handle an employee leaving your company is to get feedback from those that resign so you can improve how you present and maintain your employee experience.
Why Does Employee Experience Matter?
Some people may begin to feel skeptical about prioritizing the employee experience in management; after all, someone’s experience is what they make of it, right? To an extent, sure—an employee who makes zero effort isn’t going to contribute or produce as much.
However, especially if employers put in more effort at the beginning of the employee lifecycle by hiring the right people, it’s largely the environment and culture of a workplace that changes an employee’s experience. It is a leader’s responsibility to create a workspace that fosters positive experiences for employees.
Plus, intentionally sculpting the employee experience isn’t just a cliche technique to help “boost morale” in the office to keep people appeased. Studies show again and again that sincerely happy employees significantly improve a company’s overarching success—trust us, the numbers speak for themselves. Let’s talk about those benefits in greater detail.
Avoiding a high turnover rate means tailoring the employee experience to unique and valued individuals. This requires employers to listen to the needs of their employees instead of demanding certain levels of performance with little care. Your best talent is going to go with the company that can give them the best experience from start to finish, and the longer you can keep and invest in an employee, the more established your business will be.
Don’t forget about the cost of losing and replacing an employee, either; SHRM research showed that, on average, it costs a company 6-9 months’ worth of an employee’s salary to replace them. There are endless benefits to employee retention by optimizing the employee experience—check out our Employee Retention Guide if you want to learn more.
If better employee retention didn’t catch your attention, this just might: did you know that happy employees are up to 20% more productive? Productivity drives your business, and people that are happy and inspired at their job do a better job. Those individuals are more engaged and invested in the work they do, and when they are reinforced with a trustworthy work environment, they can avoid burnout, stress, and excessive absenteeism.
That’s not the half of it, either. Actively disengaged employees, meaning employees who are checked out and unfulfilled, can cost your company billions of dollars. Again, who you hire will impact someone’s productivity, but so does the employee experience that you as an employer cultivate. You can get the best work out of your employees by providing a better experience—and honestly, most businesses can’t afford the losses that come with tired, unhappy, and unproductive employees.
Higher Customer Satisfaction
Companies that provide a great employee experience also provide a better customer experience. Employees who are happy at work and feel like their work is a positive part of their life will provide better service, strive for excellence, and care about business results. In fact, an IDC survey showed that 85% of respondents agreed that an improved employee experience (and better engagement) results in a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and higher revenues for their organization.
Happier = Healthier
People who are satisfied at work also tend to be healthier. Caring about your employee’s health is already a noble (and expected) quality to have as a company, but healthier workers benefit employees, too. The physical and emotional well-being of employees affects their ability to perform, especially long-term. Promoting good nutrition in the workplace, offering a gym on-site, and supporting mental health practices are all examples of a positive employee experience. Employees that feel good take fewer sick days, rely less on expensive healthcare, and help boost morale at work.
If your employees are content with their experience, this is only going to bring in more high-performance workers in the future. Especially in the age of social media, people share how they feel about their workplaces frequently, and happier employees add to your overall brand. Higher quality employees apply, and with 35% of employees getting their current job from a referral, how people advocate for your business outside of work matters.
How to Improve Employee Experience
- Give employees tasks to help them feel fulfilled. No matter their position, people want to know that what they do matters and makes a difference. When you know your employees, you can enhance their individual experience by giving them responsibilities that challenge them, suit their strengths, and empowers them to strive for excellence. If employees are only expected to perform monotonous tasks that offer no real satisfaction, their overall experience is going to eventually take a turn for the worse.
- Prioritize company culture. An inviting and healthy workplace is one of the most sought-after features of a job. Even if someone loves what they do, the environment can make someone quit or have a negative employee experience. Consider the perks of working at your company. Are communication and collaboration supported? Do people, especially marginalized groups, have the support they need work-wise and socially? Do you offer flexibility and consider work-life balance for employees? People will have more energy and concentration which adds to their personal and business-related success. Culture can absolutely make or break the employee experience.
- Create ways to receive feedback from employees. Feedback is the best way to examine the employee experience. Instead of waiting to receive negative feedback when someone quits, it’s so much more effective to start gathering all feedback at every stage of the employee lifecycle. Survey how people feel after you hire them, or even survey those that were not hired or decided not to take the job. Seeking honest feedback from the beginning—and continuing that practice throughout someone’s employment—is how you can hone in on one process and improve it.
- Act on feedback. No empty words or promises here! Collecting data is a very important first step, but the second step is even more critical; employers have to be willing to implement actual improvements based on employee feedback. It may have to do with the work environment, growth opportunities, training process, or management styles, but putting the feedback to work is a surefire way to optimize the customer experience.
We Help Organizations Look Inward
Your employees deserve the best, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to ask yourself: what can you do to improve their experience at your company?
Self-diagnosis can be tricky—it isn’t always easy to recognize where your employees are feeling frustrated, neglected, or underappreciated. Some employees don’t know how to share their struggles or dissatisfaction, and other times, employers don’t know how to measure that dissatisfaction so that they can act on it.
Most companies need a little help with analyzing their culture, gathering useful feedback, and most importantly, implementing changes that will move the needle. Stress less and get in touch with Gympass! We can help you learn more about your current employee experience management and how to find new ways to support your employees.
Talk to a wellbeing Specialist today to get started.
- Essential Elements of Employee Retention. (2017, October 29). Lynchburg Regional SHRM. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://lrshrm.shrm.org/blog/2017/10/essential-elements-employee-retention
- Harter, J. (2022, August 13). Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction and Organizational Culture. Gallup. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236366/right-culture-not-employee-satisfaction.aspx
- Muscolino, H. (2021, September 17). The Employee Experience & Customer Experience Connection. IDC. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://blogs.idc.com/2021/09/17/employee-experience-and-customer-experience-what-is-the-connection/
- Pérez, M. (2022, April 1). Why Employee Experience Matters: 9 Stats That Prove It. Nailted. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://nailted.com/blog/why-employee-experience-matters-9-stats-that-prove-it/
- Sgroi, D. (2015, October). Happiness and productivity: Understanding the happy-productive worker. Social Market Foundation. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from http://smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Social-Market-Foundation-Publication-Briefing-CAGE-4-Are-happy-workers-more-productive-281015.pdf?
- van der Merwe, M. (2022, April 1). Employee Retention Statistics You Should Know in 2023. People Managing People. Retrieved August 2, 2023, from https://peoplemanagingpeople.com/employee-lifecycle/employee-retention-statistics/
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.