By Rhys Hughes, Regional Vice President Asia and ANZ at SumTotal Systems
The employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organisation. It includes everything from major milestones to relationships with colleagues, use of technology to the physical work environment. This concept has been gaining traction among business decision makers. A recent study by Deloitte University Press found that almost 80 percent of executives worldwide rated employee experience as important or very important.
A great employee experience improves retention, discretionary effort, and work performance, which all lead to improved financial outcomes. According to research from IBM, organisations that score in the top 25 percent on employee experience, report nearly three times the return on assets compared to organisations in the bottom quartile.
Based on the fundamentals of a great customer experience, delivering a great employee experience requires thinking about every touch point an employee has with your organisation to create an integrated, holistic experience. And herein lies the challenge – the components of a great employee experience are varied and dispersed across different tools and people throughout your organisation.
Needless to say, employee experience is about more than a ping pong table and a beer trolley. So how do you glue these pieces together to make your employee experience consistent and enjoyable?
Onboard well and continue to map the employee journey
According to Harvard Business Review, 33 percent of new hires look for a job within their first six months on the job and this can be largely attributed to the onboarding experience. That being said, design a program that’s both measurable and tailored to specific job roles.
When an employee showed up in his first day, ensure you have an employee journey map to visualise the various stages an employee goes through in their time with a company. It allows you to identify pain points and critical moments when you might need to take action to improve an employee’s experience. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are new technologies such as full suite HCM systems and expert third parties that can help in this area. In the long run, this is a highly worthwhile venture.
Offer opportunities for growth
People love to learn and feel they have opportunities to progress, which is why a great employee experience should include the opportunity to grow. According to our recent ‘Mind the Gap’ research, 72 percent of ANZ employees wish they received more learning, development and training (LD&T) from their organisation for new skills in 2018. Six in ten (60 percent) admitted they need to learn a new skill in 2019 in order to remain confident in their role and 55 percent were concerned about not receiving the LD&T they need from their organisation in order to remain employable and skilled in the future.
Creating a culture focused on learning and development means providing employees with tailored content delivered via the platforms they prefer. Delivering e-Learning in bitesize nuggets and as short-term learning activities could be the way of the future to meet employee needs.
Effective internal communications fosters a sense of community and shared objectives, improving company culture. It builds a connection with your employees which improves productivity and wins trust. Good communication technology helps with effective communications and also keeps remote employees engaged.
Collect and implement employee feedback
It is not an uncommon scenario to receive a surprise resignation from an employee only to discover during their exit interview they had been unhappy for months. Frequent, short surveys can help keep you on top of employee morale and ensure everyone feels they have a supportive manager they can turn to, to voice their feedback.
But listening isn’t enough, it’s important to act on feedback too – employees may stop giving feedback if they know they won’t be heard. For the dialogue to be honest, employees need to feel safe. They need to know they can voice their true thoughts and feelings, without negative repercussions. For this, there needs to be a healthy dose of trust and respect throughout your workplace.
Prioritise employee wellbeing
Programs that encourage mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness create employees who are rested and more attentive and productive at work. Some ways you can improve employee wellbeing include, health and fitness programs, paid parental leave, on-site gyms and health clinics and healthy snacks. At the heart of employee wellbeing is a great work-life balance. By providing a flexible working environment, your employees are able to create a more balanced schedule, leading to a more satisfied, less stressed workforce.
Acknowledge a job well done
Recognition (or lack thereof), particularly from a leadership team, has a huge impact on how people perceive their organisation and their roles within it. A culture where managers and peers are consistently recognising each other in a frequent and meaningful way gives people a greater sense of purpose which will positively impact their employee experience. Real-time recognition along the way is much more valuable than an auto email on their work anniversary.
If you want a thriving workforce, successful business, and happy customers, you need to start with your employees. How you treat them will have a knock-on effect that ripples throughout your company. Make 2020 the time to examine your employee experience and, where necessary, get started on making positive changes.
Rhys Hughes is an experienced executive in enterprise software sales. He has direct selling and leadership expertise across most major industry verticals in APAC, coupled with a strong network of System Integrators, Resellers & Managing Advisory firms. Since September 2015, Rhys has been based in Asia and continues to enjoy the steep and complex learning curve that comes with doing business in Asia.