What do your employees say about their experience with your company? Have you asked them lately? When you have a job opening, do you have top candidates reaching out to you for consideration? A Bersin survey finds that "Nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience." Furthermore, 59 percent of these respondents reported that they are not fully ready to address the challenge of creating a great employee experience. The key goal in today's accelerating digital landscape is not merely to fill jobs, but to fill them with top talent and then retain that talent. You'll only achieve this goal if you know how to create an unbeatable employee experience. Here are seven ways to make your employer brand compelling to future and current workers:
1. Think in Design Terms
Design thinking informs some of today's most important innovations, and its principles are now being applied to the employee experience. A Bersin research report states, "Using the new idea of design thinking, I believe most HR teams will stop designing 'programs' and start designing 'experiences.'" Design professionals have various tools for approaching the concept. Some of these tools, such as experience mapping, originated for the purpose of understanding customers better, but they are adaptable for gaining insight into what employees need.
2. Improve the Onboarding Process
Even when you manage to snag one of those elite job candidates, their good skills will inevitably need some fine-tuning in order to settle into their new role. Each workplace has its own style and demands, and effective training is one of the key factors in successful onboarding. A report by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that 11 percent of HR professionals say their training budget has decreased within the past year, while another 31 percent state that their organization has no training budget whatsoever. If your company falls into one of these bleak statistics, this means you have a big opportunity for improvement.
3. Adopt a Coaching Stance
Today's workplace approach is changing from performance management to "performance development," according to a Gallup report. The report states, "To master this new approach, managers must take ownership of their employees' development and think of themselves in a new way: as a coach, not a boss." This management style includes frequent check-ins with direct reports and a strengths-based approach to guiding their development.
4. Check the Outside Perspective
While employer reviews on Glassdoor or LinkedIn are not always easy to read, Deloitte's report on employee experience reminds HR professionals that these critiques provide a valuable perspective. Anonymous posting by current and former employees means that nothing is censored, and the unvarnished commentary can be invaluable in pointing out gaps and opportunities in your company culture. Along similar lines, Deloitte recommends exploring how your competitors handle the employee experience. Benchmarking such as this yields an actionable appraisal of where you stand in a competitive field.
5. Ask for Feedback
This suggestion sounds pretty obvious, right? If you want to know how anyone feels, the first step is just to ask them. Yet Deloitte reports that 79 percent of companies survey their employees only annually or less, while 14 percent never survey them at all. An always-on, intelligent, open channel and pulse surveys are excellent for providing insights on your staff's overall wellbeing. And making change requires action, not just insights. With the right employee feedback platform, you can deliver bite-sized, personalized actions for both employees and managers so everyone is empowered to impact engagement right away. If employees feel empowered, and they see that their feedback is taken seriously, they will develop a better employee experience and feel more aligned with your company's culture.
6. Offer Frequent Recognition
Frequent employee recognition is valuable in maintaining morale and engagement. Best practices in providing employee recognition include being prompt and specific when you deliver praise and recognition. Even though engaged employees will have their own internal reasons for putting in maximum effort, it's human nature to feel good about being recognized for hard work. Similarly, providing opportunities for co-workers to recognize and reward each other will facilitate a greater sense of social belonging for everyone at the workplace.
7. Allow Autonomy
Recent research published in Science Daily draws a direct line from the amount of employee autonomy to the degree of satisfaction those individuals feel. This autonomy can include the nature and prioritizing of job tasks, or it can cover the location and timing of work. Either way, the researchers add this sobering note: "Despite the reported increased levels of well-being, in many cases managers remain unwilling to offer employees greater levels of autonomy and the associated benefits, because their primary role remains one of 'control and effort extraction'."
Just as consumers are becoming more empowered to demand a positive experience, employee expectations are also undergoing change. Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends study, which reports on a survey of 10,400 global business and HR leaders, has this takeaway comment for you: "Accelerating change creates the need for new rules for business and HR." To learn more about how you can stay competitive by rewriting your own rules, download our white paper: "Personalization: The Missing Link in Employee Experience."
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