Updated: Oct 30, 2021
If you've worked at more than one job in your life, you'll be familiar with the different ways that businesses work, the different way their employers are treated and the different workplace culture within the organisation. This is the employee experience. Like a fingerprint, almost no two companies have the same employee experience. Whether it's vastly different, or just slightly dissimilar, every company provides a differing experience for its employees. These differences are demonstrated through a variety of roles and treatments. With the changing landscape of the employment industry and progressive opinions and circumstances that have been introduced in recent years, the employee experience has become significantly more important to the people working at a company. Here, we look at how the employee experience is affected, and how techniques can be adapted to make the employee experience as positive as possible for your workers.
How to improve employee experience
Ensuring there is Open Communication
For many, starting a new job can be daunting. The new employee is usually thrown into a world where they're not familiar with the organisations specific practices, and there are often many employees who have been in the business for a long time and are very successful.
Helping new employees feel comfortable in a new environment can significantly increase their satisfaction in their job. An effective way to do this is to make sure that the employee feels comfortable in communicating their thoughts and asking work-related questions. This can be done by ensuring that the employee has a team leader that makes them feel comfortable, is empathetic and never makes them feel as though their queries or requests are stupid.
A manager or team leader that welcomes a new employee with open arms and makes the time and effort to make them feel comfortable, will encourage productivity and help to nurture new ideas that the employee may be able to bring to the table that can help the company.
Similarly so, if a new employee is having problems at work, there should be methods implemented to make them feel comfortable communicating these issues. HR leaders are well versed in this and a trustworthy and discrete HR team with an open door policy can help these workers to feel at ease.
Creating a Positive Workplace Environment
Workplace culture extends further than just a trusted environment. By ensuring the company's culture is positive and that work is an environment that employees look forward to coming into - a positive feeling can be created. As a result, increased productivity can be achieved.
Many workplaces achieve this by implementing strategies to make the workplace an enjoyable place to be. Examples of this are month-end celebrations or a fun outing for the team when their sales targets are hit. Another example of this is implementing creative spaces, like a zone with bean bags, music and/or inspiring furniture and paintwork that can encourage employees to take time to generate new ideas. Another way that a positive workplace environment is successfully implemented is by creating a fun or rewarding atmosphere. Most people have heard about business leaders like Google or Facebook and their perks, like a fully stocked kitchen that is free for employees, allowing employees to bring their pets to work, or free, onsite massages. Perks like these make workers feel happy and positive about their workplace and their employee experience. As a result of the positive workplace, productivity and business performance are increased.
Share Positive Reinforcements
If you've ever put your blood, sweat and tears into a job and not received so much as a "good job" or a pat on the back then you'll know how disappointing it is when your hard work isn't recognized. When one's impressive work ethics aren't acknowledged, they'll be inclined to assume that their hard work is pointless, because it's gone seemingly unnoticed. This is why positive reinforcements are so important for a positive employee experience.
Positive reinforcement is an extremely important role of a manager. It shows that an employee's efforts are recognised and appreciated, and encourages them to continue striving and working hard.
While a simple acknowledgment of hard work is a good start, some companies offer rewards programs to encourage employees who are going above and beyond. This is another form of positive reinforcement in the work place. For example, some businesses offer incentives like a shorter workweek, an all-expenses paid lunch or even a gift card or holiday as a reward when exceptional work is delivered. This is one of the easiest and effective ways to increase productivity, and keep your employees happy.
Measuring employee satisfaction through performance management
Annual or twice-yearly performance management reviews may be dreaded by many, but they're an important part of the business process. These performance reviews allow the business to receive feedback from their employees about what they do and don't like about their work environment. This information is invaluable.
When a performance management review or an employee review is successfully implemented, employers will anaylse the feedback they've received to figure out what obstacles employees face, and what would help them to have a more enjoyable and productive time at work. When conducting performance reviews, it's important to not just analyse the specific employee's performance, but rather also value how they view the company's pitfalls and positives. This can be done by providing a feedback section in the review, too.
A successful and beneficial HR team should implement an employee engagement strategy, to determine how happy they are at work and what management practices can be adjusted to nurture them. The human resources team is responsible for the well-being of the company's employees.
Too often companies conduct a performance review out of obligation, this review may require employees to fill in a survey, one that it's later filed away and the information isn't taken on board by the company.
The most successful performance reviews are available in real time. Through the use of apps like "real-time 360". With initiatives like this, employees and management are able to send feedback when a situation arises where it's required.
For example, an employee may feel that a daily meeting to discuss their tasks for the day feels as though they're micromanaged and takes up important time that they could be using on their tasks. They may have an idea of how this can be better managed, through a project management app, like Asana. Rather than having to wait until their annual performance review, they can enter this information quickly and easily into the real time feedback app, and management can receive their ideas and establish whether they're worth implementing.
Implementing the correct tools to maximise productivity
Imagine if you just landed your dream job of producing movie or TV show trailers. You head into the office only to see an outdated Microsoft computer sitting on your new desk, without the editing tools you need to create the material to the best of your ability. This can be a kick to the guts, and the employee won't feel confident that they can complete the job properly. They may feel disappointed and feel let down by the company. This means that not only don't they have the tools to do the job properly - but they may also lose the drive.
Though new equipment can be expensive, this amount of money can be more than earnt in revenue if it increases productivity. For example, a TV show trailer that's produced at an excellent level will draw more viewers to the show, and increase revenue for the business. The increase in revenue is almost guaranteed to be more than the cost of investing in the necessary tools to create the content.
Create a happy exit environment
While it's hard to lose a good employee, the reality is that in the employee lifecycle, most employees will leave a job at one time or another in their lives. When they leave your organisation, it can be a great time to receive valid employee feedback, and leave the employee with a positive sentiment associated with your business.
If an employee leaves on a warm and happy note, they will be much more likely to speak of their time at the company favourably. The people they share this information with could be future clients. Similarly so, an employee who departed a company on a good note will be much more likely to write a positive review of the company on an online review platform, like Glassdoor. When potential hires are applying for a job at your company, there's a good chance they'll research the business. If they stumble across positive reviews, it could make them more interested in getting the job, and if they land the job they will likely head into it with a positive attitude.
An employee that feels favourable about the company will also be much more likely to sit down with HR at their exit interview and discuss the pros and cons of the job - this is invaluable information that can be used to improve the employee experience for the remaining workers.
How a positive employee experience helps a company
Employee satisfaction and employee engagement
When an employee is happy at their workplace, consequently their productivity is increased. If you're not sold on this simple fact, there are thousands of studies out there that prove it. In fact, a recent study at Oxford University found that a happy employee is 13% more productive than those who aren't happy in their workplace.
A happy employee usually won't dread going to work and they won't do the bare minimum to get through the day just so that they can collect their pay check. Instead, they'll be proactive in whatever field it is they are working in. If it's sales, they'll likely make more calls and their positive attitude will be conveyed to clients or customers who will feel happier about engaging with the organisation and create a favourable client or customer experience. If the field of work is hospitality, the employer will likely have a happier attitude, allowing guests or travellers to have a more enjoyable experience.
This brings us to increased customer experience satisfaction. If a customer or client is treated by employees of a business with a positive attitude, they will associate positive feelings with that particular organisation.
This will almost always translate to increased sales and increase revenue. It will also be evident in the brand's identity. The byproduct of the positive employee experience can be shown through great reviews or positive word of mouth. Both of these things will encourage other customers and clients to engage in, or with, your business.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that employees that are unhappy in their job will often leave. Unhappiness in the workplace is one of the main reasons that employees quit their job. The fact is, engaged employees are less likely to leave a company.
Sourcing, training and integrating in a new employee can cost a considerable amount of money, not to mention a large amount of time. Not only will money be spent on recruiting and hiring, but other employees valuable time, like hiring managers, will be spent training the new employees. Not to mention, employees often make expensive mistakes while learning the ropes of a new job. All of these factors can have a significant impact on the revenue of a company.
If an employee is happy within a company and they have a positive employee experience, they're more likely to stay at their job. This means less money and time spent on sourcing new hires, as well as increased productivity from the already employed workers who are happy in their role.
As mentioned before, most people have heard about the amazing employee experience that workers at companies like Facebook, Google, AirBnB and Lego. Companies that are famous for their positive employee experience have gained their own invaluable form of marketing to attract new hires.
One quick Google search will pull up the most desirable places to work in the world. And, unsurprisingly, many people would jump at the chance to work at any of these companies. This kind of initiative opens the organisation up to people with the best possible prospects and skills who are excited to join the team.
For example, if a job advertisement for a marketing manager at Big W opened up, and the same position opened up at Google, you can be sure that candidates with the most experience and expertise would priortise the job at Google over Big W. A large reason why this is is because of Google's impressive reputation of treating their employees well and delivering an enjoyable employee experience, they have a competitive advantage over businesses that don't have a demonstrated positive employee experience.