Ever read reviews on Glassdoor before interviewing at a potential employer? You’re not the only one. Eighty-six percent of job seekers look into online company reviews and ratings, relying on them for perspective on what it’s like at a new organization. And companies’ images on these platforms matter — a lot. Employees want to work at a place where they feel respected and valued at every stage of their careers. It’s no surprise that 86% of women and 67% of men won’t join an organization with a bad reputation.
How can your company make itself a place the best talent wants to join? It starts with building a standout employee experience.
What does employee experience mean?
The employee experience is defined by the interactions employees have with your organization — from their first contact during the hiring process to when they leave or retire. A stellar experience can dramatically influence employees’ outlook on and relationship with your company. Happy employees are a pleasure for your customers to interact with and are a magnet for good talent as well. Ninety-two percent of people would consider leaving their current job for an opportunity at a company with a great reputation.
The employee experience affects each stage of the employee life cycle. During recruitment, you want the candidate to feel like they belong and match your organizational culture. Once new hires sign on, employers should greet them with a well-planned onboarding experience. Organizations must then continue providing employees with an engaging, supportive environment each day to incentivize them to stay and give their best.
What are the benefits of a great employee experience?
Here are just a few of the many reasons your organization should prioritize the employee experience.
More engaged employees
Engaged employees feel excited about the work they’re doing and are motivated to do it well. Bain found that engaged employees are 44% more productive than those who were merely satisfied at work. Employee engagement also translates to a better customer experience — companies with engaged employees had 89% greater customer satisfaction. And with higher customer satisfaction comes better financial performance. The University of Pennsylvania found that organizations with higher-than-average employee engagement exceed the financial performance of their peers by 73%.
Retention is a top concern for most companies. Fifty-two percent of employees say they’ll job hunt in 2021 — up from 35% in 2020. This trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. By 2030, the US will lose an average of $430 billion annually due to low talent retention.
Today’s companies are at an inflection point: they can either produce an unbeatable employee experience or run the risk of turnover — and experience its high cost. A great employee experience makes people feel good about their work, helps them develop meaningful relationships with their managers and peers, and ultimately makes them want to stay with your company.
Stronger organizational culture
According to the 2021 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Survey, 45% of executives cite building a better culture as the most important action they’re taking to transform their companies’ work — and for good reason. Organizational culture is a key part of a winning employee experience. You might even say culture is the employee experience, as it goes far beyond a set of values or mission statement. It’s all the traits and behaviors that make your company unique. It’s the difference between a company where employees are excited about coming into work each day and a workplace that feels uncomfortable and tense. Developing a top-tier employee experience naturally leads to alignment between a winning workforce and an equally strong culture.
How can you improve employee experience at your organization?
There are many factors that make up the employee experience, some more impactful than others. Follow the recommendations below to start changing employee experience at your company for the better.
Make recognition a part of your employees’ daily work experience
Getting recognized for a job well done goes a long way. It feels great when someone notices you’ve completed a training course, made a new sale, or facilitated a product launch. Recognizing employees inspires confidence and demonstrates that you’re paying attention to the exceptional work employees do. It’s no surprise that employee recognition is the number one driver of engagement. And recognizing good behavior reinforces it, driving improved culture and performance going forward.
The best and fastest way to get everyone involved in showing appreciation is a recognition and reward (R&R) platform. With robust mobile capabilities, the best R&R solutions make it easy for employees to show recognition anytime, anywhere. Social recognition becomes engaging thanks to interactive features that allow employees to like, comment on, and award additional points to other team members’ messages of appreciation.
Everyone can get in on providing monetary recognition as well with reward points that employees accumulate each month. Team members can dole out a certain number of points each month to their colleagues and direct reports who are doing amazing things every day. Employees love watching their points balance rise, and they can then redeem points for rewards of their choice using a built-in rewards marketplace.
Listen to your employees and show them their voice matters
Sending out a lengthy annual survey is all many organizations do when it comes to soliciting employee feedback. Unfortunately, these surveys set organizations up for failure. By the time the data is collected and processed, it’s months later, and the issues raised by employees have either had that much more time to grow or have already been resolved. Seeing a lack of quick action on feedback disheartens employees who took the time to fill out the survey thoughtfully. In fact, failing to act on employee surveys leads to lower engagement than failing to survey at all.
Proactively seeking employees’ input on a consistent basis, analyzing the data, and taking action on feedback shows employees that you’re listening. When employees have a real voice at your organization, they feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. Team members who feel heard by leaders are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work.
To facilitate quick action on feedback, companies should adopt an employee engagement platform with tools that allow them to gather employee input in real time, like pulse surveys. These consist of a relatively brief series of questions focused on a set of particular topics, like workload, leadership quality, and manager-employee relationships. They help you keep tabs on changing employee sentiment so you can react nimbly to new trends as they arise.
There will be times employees want to express their voice outside of a survey, of course, so you should establish an anonymous, always-on feedback channel they can turn to whenever they have something to share. You can achieve this and make the feedback experience interactive by using an intelligent, AI-powered HR chatbot. The best HR chatbots can learn from employees’ responses, predict questions they might have, suggest relevant training or courses, and relay feedback to employees’ managers.
Of course, gathering feedback is only the start of the process. Look for an employee engagement platform with analytics features that make it easy to see what team members’ are feeling and how to best respond. When managers are equipped with the tools they need to quickly develop collaborative action plans together with their teams, issues that would otherwise drag your organization down turn into the catalyst for business success.
Build an environment of psychological safety where everyone belongs
If you’re afraid to ask for help, discuss a revolutionary idea, or broach a difficult issue with your colleagues because of the potential repercussions, you’ll have a hard time performing your job well – or enjoying it. That’s why psychological safety is a critical step on the way to delivering an outstanding employee experience.
Psychological safety describes a team environment centered around trust and mutual respect. Employees at organizations that nurture a sense of psychological safety build strong relationships with coworkers and are more likely to share great ideas for improving your business. They know that team members won’t humiliate them for speaking up about problems at work or expressing their genuine thoughts.
Psychological safety isn’t a one-and-done deal. It requires constant effort to maintain as a fundamental aspect of your company culture. Fostering psychological safety starts with the relationship between managers and employees. Teach managers to listen to their direct reports and establish a two-way dialogue as part of acting like a coach rather than an enforcer. And prioritize diversity and inclusion as part of developing a culture of belonging that welcomes fresh perspectives.
Support employee wellness and prevent burnout
Your employees’ health should be one of your top concerns. After all, if team members aren’t healthy, they won’t show up to work. Even if they do, their performance will suffer. And of course, wellness goes beyond physical health. Burnout is becoming more and more prevalent, and it’s negatively impacting your employees’ brains. Burnout results from the emotional and physical exhaustion from chronic stress. Addressing the drivers of burnout is a necessary part of making the employee experience positive.
Your company can start supporting wellness by encouraging healthy eating, exercise, and sleep. Integrate your wellness and recognition programs so employees receive rewards when they achieve wellness goals. You can even have teams compete with each other, earning points for their wellness achievements and developing stronger relationships along the way.
When it comes to emotional wellness, bring in experts to train your employees on meditation and mindfulness. And give employees the time and space to explore their creative side, even if that means switching up their responsibilities. Provide team members with the flexibility to work when and when they’re most productive as well, and ensure managers set an example for work-life balance by taking their vacation days.
Revolutionize the employee experience
A great employee experience serves as the foundation for sustained business success. From attracting the best talent to inspiring employees to achieve new heights, focusing on the employee experience pays dividends across your organization. But with so many factors at play, how can you make a positive impact quickly?
Look no further than the Achievers Employee Experience Platform. It serves as a centralized hub for your employee experience strategy and gives you the tools to focus on the two biggest drivers of the employee experience — recognition and employee voice. Achievers Recognize enables frequent social and monetary recognition, with comprehensive reporting and analytics to demonstrate the benefits of your recognition program. And Achievers Listen is an always-on feedback tool equipped with scientifically-designed pulse surveys and an AI-powered HR chatbot. It makes turning insight into action easier than ever before.
Compared to users of other solutions, Achievers customers are 3.6 times more likely to give recognition multiple times each month, 2.5 times more likely to see increased employee retention, and 36% more likely to see an increase in employee engagement.