Employee Experience refers to the employee’s observations and perceptions about their employment with the company they work for. It includes their experiences and reflections during their journey as an employee. It is the place where culture, physical environment and technology collide. It is what happens when employee expectations, wants and needs overlaps with the company’s expectations, wants and needs.
As we shift from a society whose approach to work is more “gig” and project based than the traditional career journey, Employee Experience becomes increasingly important to attract and retain top talent. The best people want to work at companies where the Employee Experience is excellent. Anything less will ultimately result in the brightest, value-adding employees seeking a new gig elsewhere — or worse: staying in your company while being disengaged and serving you mediocre effort and results.
Employers fear addressing Employee Experience because they think improving their culture, facilities and technologies will cost more than they are wanting or able to spend … I’ll be honest. Excellent Employee Experience isn’t going to be cheap — but, with proper planning, it doesn’t have to break your bank.
To get you started, here are 5 elements for an excellent Employee Experience that are generally very affordable:
- Self Service … Excellent Employee Experience begins with self-service. Employees need to easily complete routine tasks for themselves and be able to view their full employment record without a lot of rigmarole. Nowadays, I can buy an island online if I want to — so changing my address on my paystub shouldn’t take an inch thick stack of forms. Most HRIS systems offer integrated self-service options. Invest in this and use it as much as you can.
- Adequate Common Areas … This isn’t about state-of-the art gaming rooms, Foosball tables and such. What it actually means is refrigerators with enough space for everyone’s food, vending machines with affordable and healthy options, ample microwaves and other equipment that work, tables and chairs that don’t wobble, a bulletin board with consistent and relevant updates. If you’re looking for a modern upgrade, consider converting a storage closet or small office into a place where employees can make/take personal calls, access the internet and print/scan personal items from time to time when needed.
- Clear metrics and performance standards … Employees are at their best where expectations are clear and consistently measured. They thrive in environments where everyone is consistently and honestly coached and held accountable for results. They flourish when management take active interest in their learning, development and growth. Feedback is free — and it has a high ROI! Pour it on like hot sauce.
- Practical scheduling and paid time off options … Employees lives outside of work are just as important as their performance inside work. Their outside lives are so important that they bring it with them in one form or another to work every single day. Sometimes their lives require them to be away from work for all or part of their scheduled work day. When an employee is allowed to do this without being made to feel badly or as though their job is in jeopardy or as if their financial stability is at risk, they perform better. Companies who support employees with practical scheduling and paid time off have higher engagement, longer retention and greater customer satisfaction. Leave donation, unlimited PTO and employer paid short-term disability are a few options to achieve this that are surprisingly cost-effective.
- Transparent comp and pay … Knowing how their pay is calculated and when they will receive their pay is important to employees. So is knowing why. Remove the mysteries surrounding your compensation strategies and structure. Even companies who are not the most financially magnanimous can still achieve high engagement and retention when they are honest about their reasons.
There’s nothing to give from an empty vessel. You want employees to give world class service to your customers? Show them what that looks like! Give it to them first.