Employee Experience 101: Employee Experience Explained
The employee experience is central to the future of work regardless of company size. Quite simply, it’s an essential area for every company with employees. It’s about how people regard working at your company. It goes beyond engagement and satisfaction and incorporates every interaction your people have with their employer. Unfortunately, you can’t achieve a fantastic employee experience overnight if only it were that easy. But there are areas you can focus on, and even being aware of the concept means a step in the right direction!
What does the employee experience comprise of?
You can measure specific components of the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle to understand how your people are doing. These include:
- The physical environment
- The technology provided
- Workplace culture
- Performance management
If you track where your people are concerning these factors, you can make improvements to attract and retain employees and improve productivity.
Why is the employee experience necessary?
While you must provide the best customer service and experience you can to attract and retain customers, you can’t neglect your other significant people, your employees! There is no business, product or service without them, so don’t forget to invest in them like you do your external customers.
There are many reasons why the employee experience is important—attraction, retention, motivation and engagement of your people. In addition, increased productivity and profits, plus a reputation of being a company that cares and invests in the employee experience, can never be bad!
And happiness is also part of the employee experience. Research in 2019 discovered that happiness increases productivity, so if you can make your employees happy at work, you’re on to something! The results found that productivity increased by 13% when employees felt happy. Even if you can’t make your people happy (or happier) about their work overnight, you can work on improving the employee experience for the future of work.
Furthermore, a report by Sage showed that 72% of employees questioned said their productivity would increase if they had a great employee experience. This number rises to 92% of the employees in the younger generation.
The impact of the physical environment
The physical environment is what it’s like to work in your company from a physical perspective. For example, what are the noise levels like and are there spaces for teamwork and collaboration, as well as private rooms or communal areas for lunch or social interaction? The physical environment will also include the desks, chairs etc., you provide for your people.
Imagine an employee working in a cold, dark room without natural light and a desk set up that gives them backache. It’s pretty certain that this wouldn’t provide a favourable employee experience, and it may have negative implications for the employee’s mental health. So, consider what it’s like to see, touch, smell or hear in your workplace.
The importance of the workplace culture
Your company culture will be made up of several factors, including the company mission, values, leadership, people, and attitudes. It’s the feeling of the company and what it’s like to work there. But it’s not just for those who work there; potential employees will seek to understand and feel the culture when considering your company.
It’s vital because the company culture can motivate, encourage, and grow your people, but it could also be responsible for making them unhappy, demotivated or without a sense of purpose. Yet there is no company culture rulebook, so to measure and manage it, you need to gain input from your people to determine what they really think of the workplace culture.
What about the digital employee experience (DEX)?
Now more so than ever, your people may be working remotely or in hybrid arrangements, and they need technology that works regardless of location. Gone are the days when all individuals had a set desk in the workplace and a designated computer, printer, etc. As your people use technology for their work every day, the tools you provide need to be reliable, fast and let them carry out their role as efficiently as possible. This is their digital employee experience.
If you provide them with sluggish systems or poor technology, you may be creating a negative digital employee experience. But as above, if you don’t get feedback about the technology you provide, how can you know how it’s impacting them?
Where to begin with the employee experience
It may seem like a daunting task to focus on the employee experience when you haven’t done this in your company before. But it’s likely you are doing it in some parts; it’s just you may have called it something different! For example, if you have a performance management system in place, you’re already focusing on an essential aspect of the employee lifecycle.
Similarly, it’s highly likely you provide technology for your people, so you’re already investing in the digital employee experience.
You need input
You can’t possibly analyse the employee experience if you don’t know the employees’ thoughts. Therefore, you need to gather their feedback. You would ask your customers for feedback and it’s no different with your people. So, get an indication of how they feel working in your company by carrying out all employee feedback surveys, pulse surveys or be creative and find out how happy your people are.
By asking employees for their feedback, not only are you gaining a temperature check of your employee experience, but you’re also showing that you care about them and their opinions and experience. You’re not just telling them how you think they feel.
The fourth Industrial Revolution?
According to the MARA University of Technology in Malaysia, the world is experiencing the fourth Industrial Revolution due to technological advancements. And while companies may feel they need to keep up with the newest technology trends to improve the digital employee experience, you need to be careful not to move too quickly or radically and lose sight of the employees along the way.
Essentially, the most critical aspect of the digital experience is the people using the technology. You could introduce the best systems and technology available, but your people must be well-versed in using and understanding it. You don’t need new technology for technology’s sake!
The employee experience is undoubtedly a vital aspect of the future of work, and even if you’re not yet measuring or assessing it, it’s never too late to start. Through feedback and input from your people, you can gain a measure of the experience and in which areas you may be excelling and where you can improve. Once you have a sense of what you people think, you can create and implement action plans. And as the work population increases with younger generation individuals over the years, you can’t ignore their feedback about what they want from employers, so start now.