In today’s digital age, we know that expectations are high and customers are fickle, and if their experience isn’t seamless they’ll soon move on. This is why so many businesses have understood the importance of creating valuable customer experiences, spending time and allocating extensive resources into them.
However, few companies pay the same level of attention to employee experience. Which is odd really, since it’s the employees who make a business what it is.
Before we dive into why companies must invest in employee experience (EX), it’s important to understand what this concept entails.
If you’re building out or revamping your employee experience strategy, or want to have a better understanding of the impact a good employee experience can have on your bottom line, keep reading ?
What is Employee Experience?
According to Jostle, employee experience refers to anything and everything an employee is exposed to over the course of their employment at a company: from the interview process, onboarding, development, everyday processes and workflow, the tools they use, the conversations they have, all the way to offboarding.
If you’ve spent any time in business, you understand the importance of customer experience as a way to retain customers, reduce churn rates, and attract new customers. In recent years, top-performing companies have turned that kind of attention inwards. They’ve identified employee experience as a way to retain talent, make employees happy, attract new recruits, and ultimately be better at business.
As a result, these top-performing organizations have started to dedicate significant resources to measuring and improving how engaged and happy their employees feel. Later on, we’ll explore why treating your employees with the same level of care as you do your customers benefits all parties involved.
According to author and speaker Jacob Morgan, there are three components that make up employee experience: culture, technological environment, and physical environment.
- The cultural: how employees feel when they’re inside an organization, which is impacted by “…the organizational structure, leadership style, compensation and benefits, etc.”
- The physical: pertains to the work space and “…anything that can be seen, heard, touched, and tasted like desks, chairs, art, and meals.”
- The technological: the overall experience of “…the tools an employee needs to do their jobs, including the user interface, mobile devices, and desktop computers.”
Employee experience, even once it’s been improved upon, is not fixed. The employee experience, and the strategy behind it, must leave room for adaptation to organizational factors both within and without your control.
It’s best to approach employee experience with a growth mindset. Outline journey maps and plans, but constantly be questioning and tweaking them to find out what works best for your employees and organization.
Why Does Employee Experience Matter?
A number of factors in the current workspace mean that prospective employees can be increasingly picky about where they work. Firstly, there is a talent war raging in many sectors making it harder for employers to find and retain skilled staff. This is often traced back to a shortage of talented employees.
Adding to that, it’s not just your customers who shop around. According to Hays, 81% of employees would consider leaving their current job if the right offer comes along.
In this competitive environment, an unrivaled employee experience can give you the edge you need to attract the best talent and – more importantly – keep them engaged with and loyal to your company.
Sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor haven’t helped in this matter – at least not from an employer’s perspective. Prospective employees won’t be fooled by a glossy website, glowing job description, and empty recruiter promises; in just a few clicks they can see what life for employees is truly like at the company they’re considering.
If employee experience is known to be second-rate, that organization is quickly scratched off the list. The best in the talent pool can afford to be choosy, so make sure that your company stands out for the right reasons.
Employee experience is important because employees are the lifeblood of a company. Not only do your employees inform your company culture and your organizational values, but companies known to have a great employee experience also tend to deliver stellar customer experiences.
When employees feel like they are valued and their contributions are essential to an organization’s success, it will have an impact on the overall productivity. A study revealed that employees who are emotionally and mentally invested in an organization are likely to make a positive impact on business results.
How Employee Experience Contributes to Customer Experience
As reported by Harvard Business Review, “companies that excel at customer experience have one-and-and-half times as many engaged employees as customer experience laggards do.” More engaged employees can also mean more revenue.
Companies that hope to achieve the competitive advantage that comes with having a great customer experience would be well-served by looking inward. It is necessary to generate organizational loyalty and, more importantly, employees who actually want to come into work.
Consultants from McKinsey argue exactly that in an article titled When the Customer Experience Starts at Home:
“In our experience, successful large organizations think more and more about end-to-end transformations that focus on internal customers—their employees—as well as external ones, to gain a durable competitive edge,” they found. “The closer a company can align its commitment to customer-centricity with the interests of its employees, the closer it will get to achieving its customer-strategy goals.”
If you’re already treating your employees like you do your customers, you’re probably already performing well in regards to customer experience. All your HR and Internal Communications teams have to do now is to borrow some strategies from Customer Success and Marketing and apply them inwardly.
You’ll need to be meticulous with your metrics, use a multi-touch approach, and segment employees into specific audience groups. Here’s how:
Measure employee engagement
Human relationships can be assessed by how people talk to each other. In turn, a good way to measure engagement is to track how engaged employees are with your communications.
The same way your customer success team gathers engagement data from your clients to make sure they’re happy and potentially upsell them, you need to start tracking your internal communications. In doing so, ways to improve employee happiness and employee experience will be revealed in the data you collect.
Imagine how more effective your communications team could be if you combine intuition with objective measurable metrics. Fortunately, some of the tools available for internal communications today (like ContactMonkey) give you the ability to track the right metrics and gain insight into how your internal communications campaigns are performing.
Tracking and analyzing your internal communications at a granular level will allow you to see what resonates best with your employees. You can then create content they love consuming – content that will engage them and enhance the employee experience.
An eNPS survey works well for taking a more targeted approach to understanding employee experience. They centre around whether or not employees would recommend the organization to others, and are usually conducted on a quarterly basis. This is a way to consistently monitor employee experience over time.
Implement a multi-touch approach
You already use multiple tools and approaches to reach out to customers and prospects. Whether it’s internal email newsletters, account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns, podcasts, or videos, a multi-touch approach allows your customer success and marketing teams to stay top of mind and engage clients and potential leads via multiple channels.
Now, it’s time for your HR and internal communications teams to do the same. By using a combination of internal newsletters, surveys, podcasts, and even video campaigns, you’ll gain an edge in the battle for your employees’ attention and engagement. These efforts will enhance the overall employee experience because of the variety they present.
Your employees are your number one asset and taking care of them to make sure they’re happy, engaged and effective requires implementing strategies that have already worked well in areas like customer experience.
Start segmenting employees
When dealing with external customers, a common practice is to segment them into different business verticals. Well, you can do the same with your employees by segmenting them by department, location, or even engagement rates. Segmentation will allow you to produce content that’s 100% relevant to them, leading to higher engagement rates.
For example, depending on the email marketing or tracking tool you’re using to communicate with employees, you may be able to send responsive HTML email to your segmented distribution lists or upload a specific CSV and send targeted employee communications.
Imagine being in accounting and receiving emails whose content is all sales-related—you’d stop reading after a few or send it straight to spam! By segmenting your audience into smaller, more specific groups you’ll be able to send curated information they actually care about and that’s relevant to their role.
There are no employee experience gimmicks involved here; you need to make sure they are engaged with your organization and happy enough at work to advocate your brand to others, including your customers and stakeholders.
A Gallup researcher explained in his report that, “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.
Gathering employee feedback through different channels can be a great way to assess the needs of employees and the organization as a whole. By going directly to the source for information, you’ll have the tools you need to improve the employee experience going forward.
How to Audit Your Current Employee Experience Strategy
An overarching, company-wide employee experience strategy to “solve” or “manage” the employee experience will probably fall flat. Why? Because employee experience is something enduring that you’ll need to work at constantly. Abandon the notion that employee experience can be completely controlled.
Here are three potential scenarios to monitor:
- What does a typical employee’s journey from onboarding to offboarding look like at your organization?
- What does an atypical employee’s journey look like?
- What do you currently know about each employee’s specific career journey?
Journey mapping, especially if done well, can give you a good sense of your employees’ experiences at your workplace from beginning to end. But it’s important to remember (and acknowledge as you go forward) that there are variables that you’ll never have access to, which means you’ll never have the complete picture.
In order to create a stellar employee experience strategy as an internal communicator, you’ll need to collect information through surveys, interviews, casual and formal conversations, social gatherings, formal and informal feedback sessions, and 1:1 meetings.
Look for common threads on a case-by-case basis to identify potential issues with the employee experience at your organization. If you’ve designed your surveys thoughtfully, a lot of these issues will have already been identified by your employees, so how you approach these will depend on a number of variables specific to your company. But the goal is to make quality of life improvements that address the feedback you’ve received.
Before you interview your people and learn about their personal employee experiences, you’re going to have to be as transparent as possible about what you intend to do with the information they provide.
Keep your employees informed throughout the process: from the initial data collection to announcement of findings to the actual implementation of new policies and procedures.
Here are three other employee experience tips to keep in mind:
- Explain why employee journey mapping is necessary and how it will help the organization improve the employee experience
- Reward and celebrate employees for sharing their employee experience and perceptions of the organization
- Encourage complete honesty without repercussions
Be prepared to receive negative feedback that you may not like or agree with. How you respond to the negative aspects of your employees’ experiences needs to be carefully considered. By reacting defensively, for example, you’re probably going to make it more difficult to obtain real, thoughtful feedback from your employees in the future. Improving employee experience is all about strengthening the bonds that hold your organization together.
Enhancing the Employee Experience with Flexible Work
According to Gallup, 54% of today’s workers would leave their current role for one that offers flexible work time. This could be anything from remote work opportunities to the ability to choose hours around core business times.
In 2020, remote work is one of the biggest employee engagement trends. Although it is not possible to adopt in every industry, technology has made it easier than ever for organizations that rely on knowledge workers to reduce time in the office.
Not only is it great for work-life balance, but it gives companies the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint. Employees are no longer commuting, and larger office spaces are no longer needed to accommodate large groups.
Overall, highly engaged workplaces claim about 41% lower absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects in products, and 21% higher profitability. Employee engagement numbers increase when time spent working is divided between home and an office space with fellow employees.
If you’re trying to get a handle on how engaged your employees are, or how they view their present employee experience, go directly to the source. Ask them for candid feedback through a quick pulse survey, or if you’re a larger organization, dive deeper with an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey.
Three steps you can take to create engaging internal communications for remote workers are:
- Feature remote workers in your employee communications
- Introduce team collaboration tools (like Trello and Slack)
- Offer training and development opportunities
It’s important for internal communications professionals to put a great deal of focus on their remote workers. There is the common misconception that they don’t work as hard because they’re not in person, when really, the opposite is true.
Not only are they putting in about six more hours per week than their brick-and-mortar office colleagues, but they’re dealing with other challenges such as distractions and feelings of isolation. Do everything you can to ensure that they’re informed and feel like a part of the company.
How to Boost Employee Experience with Email
When executed well, internal emails can be one of the best tools for creating a stellar employee experience. To succeed with this, working towards crafting engaging internal emails that are concise and entertaining.
Don’t want your employees to dread seeing your name pop up in their inbox?
Follow these seven steps for boosting employee experiences with newsletters:
- Start with an eye-catching subject line.
- Make the employee email or newsletter content relatable.
- Ensure that the content you present is aesthetically pleasing.
- Link to relevant, shareable content that your employees will care about.
- Encourage employee feedback and two-way internal communications.
- Collect and share the data from your employee newsletter.
- Have fun crafting what you’re going to send out to the team.
As an internal communicator, your job is to deliver relevant, timely information to your employees. Although it is a professional communication, the employee newsletter doesn’t just have to centre around the business.
You’re not just an internal communications professional with no vested interest; you’re also an employee. When you’re crafting your employee communications, think about what you’d be looking for in your employee experience.
If you wouldn’t read something lengthy, include snippets about larger pieces of information. If you’d want to hear about fun things at the company or milestones for fellow employees, make sure that you have a section dedicated to that. The more relevant you can make the employee newsletter to – well – your fellow employees, the better!
How to Improve Employee Experience By Asking For Feedback
Adding emoji reactions, pulse surveys, and comment options in your company newsletter can have a positive impact on employee experience. By showing your employees that you care about their thoughts and feelings is a great way to make them feel involved in the day-to-day.
Give your employees the ability to love, like and laugh at any content you send them via email. With emoji reactions in ContactMonkey, internal communicators have the power to gather meaningful, quantitative data in a seamless way.
With employee pulse surveys you’ll receive real-time data on your internal email communications in seconds. Asking employees for feedback without being formal or disengaging will add to the employee experience because it won’t feel like an interruption.
Once you receive responses from employees, you’ll be able to view them on your ContactMonkey dashboard. With the data collected, you’ll be able to start prioritizing and implementing the changes employees are seeking.
Gather employee comments directly from communications by simply enabling the “Comments” feature in your email template builder. If you choose to do so, inform employees that this option is available to them, and that their comments are anonymous.
Questions you ask will be fully responsive, and you can apply a scale to them in either two or five point increments. If employees want to leave a written response, they have the option to do so wherever you have posed a question.
TL;DR: Employee Experience in 2020
- Accept that you will have to constantly monitor your approach to employee experience
- Invest time into having a stellar employee experience to retain current talent, and attract strong candidates
- Adjust your employee experience the same way you would your customer experience
- Make it easy for your employees to provide honest, anonymous feedback
Are you reading to incorporate engaging internal emails into your employee experience? Start creating, sending, and tracking beautiful responsive employee newsletters that give you the opportunity to ask your employees for feedback. Want to see how it all works together? Book your personalized demo today.