The workplace is an ever-evolving component of businesses that can impact the success of a company. As the modern workforce continues to change, businesses of all sizes are re-examining how they keep their employees happy and productive
Over the last decade, employers put a lot of effort in boosting employee engagement
to help achieve growth and success. And while this HR trend boomed, organizations and HR experts are starting to see that employee engagement, while important and necessary, is just a short-term boost.
This has led to the rise of something more encompassing around today’s workforce and how to improve happiness, productivity, and overall engagement – the employee experience
Now one of the hottest HR topics, more and more companies are focusing their time and resources on improving the employee experience rather than just employee engagement.
What is Employee Experience?
It’s imperative for both large and small employers to know about employee experience. This article on Forbes
defines the employee experience as the “sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organization — every employee interaction, from the first contact as a potential recruit to the last interaction after the end of employment.”
This definition, which other publications and articles seem to agree with, shows just how much employee experience and employee engagement differ, and helps to explain why companies are now more focused on the overall experience that employees have with their employer.
It's important to note that, according to a SHRM article
, there are three things that shape all employee experiences:
- Culture: Workplace and company culture are critical for businesses today. Not only does it shape your company and its brand, but it also plays a large role in recruiting, retention, and the employee experience. Positive company cultures that encourage growth, happiness, and productivity are beneficial for both employees and employers.
- Technology: Companies both big and small rely on technology to achieve goals and growth. However, perhaps the biggest impact of workplace technology is on the employees who must use it to do their jobs on a daily basis. Companies must focus on creating, investing in, and providing the right technology, resources, and tools that meet the needs of employees and improves productivity.
- Workspace: As you might imagine, the area where employees do their work plays a critical role in shaping employee experience. Ensuring that the workspace meets the needs of your workforce is a must for improving the overall experience employees have. Things like free meals and snacks, lounge areas, and quiet spots are all easy things employers can look into.
How Can Employers Improve Their Employee Experience?
The first and most important step employers need to make to improve employee experience is to talk to and ask employees for their input, ideas, and suggestions. Employee feedback helps to guide employers on which cultural, technological, or workspace changes should be made a priority. It also prevents employers from spending time and resources on initiatives that won’t impact the employee experience.
Employers should also re-examine their current technology stack. We mentioned how SHRM listed technology as one of the three main components of employee experience.
Business leaders should look at current technology offerings, seek the feedback of employees, and determine if this tech is helping employees to be as productive as possible. If current technology is causing frustration, headaches, and consuming too much time, you can bet that productivity, happiness, and the employee experience will all be lacking.
Further aligning with the previous section of this post, employers should routinely look at ways to improve the workplace. New office layouts, updating organizational structure, and new additions to the workspace that make it a fun and productive environment all go a long way to improving employee experience.
Perhaps the most important way employers can improve their employee experience is with the buy-in and participation from senior leaders and management. When business leaders believe in improving the employee experience and invest time into new initiatives, chances are significantly higher that they will eventually be implemented.
Business leaders, more than any group, can truly help improve the experiences of their employees and help create a better, more productive company. Some large companies have even created new positions that are solely dedicated to enhancing the employee experience.
While this might not be possible for smaller companies, designating one senior leader to oversee and spearhead employee experience projects will help to ensure their success. Many small and medium-sized businesses have already taken this approach and are seeing ROI on their employee experience initiatives.
Improving the Employee Experience Benefits Everyone
It is becoming evident that focusing on improving employee engagement alone doesn’t move the needle for businesses or employees. While engagement is still important, and boosting it should still be a company-wide goal, more needs to be done. To increase happiness and productivity, while lowering turnover, requires companies and business leaders to look at the bigger picture
This is why employee experience is gaining steam and growing in importance for companies today. A recent survey by Deloitte
found that almost 80% of executives
rated employee experience as very important or important.
Additionally, research from Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage
, found that organizations who strive to improve employee experience see tangible organizational benefits:
- Companies that focus on the experience of employees have 4 times the average profit and 2 times the average revenue
- They are 11 times more likely to be listed on Glassdoor’s best places to work
- These businesses are also 25% smaller than other companies, suggesting higher productivity and innovation
These outcomes – along with hundreds of additional studies, articles, and research – lend to the credibility that employee experience really does matter, and why employers of all sizes should look to make improving it a priority this year and beyond.
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