What is employee experience (EX)?
U.S. companies have been prioritizing employee experience (EX) en masse, particularly throughout the pandemic, and especially now. But what is EX exactly? Gallup defines employee experience as “the journey an employee takes with your organization: every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager and wellbeing.” That’s a big definition, and it involves a great deal…which is why it’s as critical as it is.
Can we assume that this definition inherently defines a holistic approach to EX? It sure would be nice to think that way. But we shouldn’t…and we can’t, especially during what experts are referring to as The Great Resignation. Experts forecast dismal struggles for employers as a veritable tidal wave of employees bid farewell to their job.
After nearly 18 months of constant, drastic changes and uncertainties, employees are done. They’ve had enough.
The starting point for a new EX
It’s fairly common knowledge – particularly among HR professionals – that employee experience can wane after new hires navigate a structured onboarding program. But with this intrinsic knowledge, both HR and management have the ability to prepare for and ultimately exceed a new hire’s expectations!
Click’s Head of Marketing, Michelle Graham, agrees. “Every people leader can appreciate the importance of employee engagement right out of the gate. It’s a no brainer. Unfortunately, even the best managers tend to lose momentum as their new hires get settled in,” Graham acknowledges.
But she also underscores the emphasis on taking advantage of this incredibly rare timeframe within an employee’s tenure. “It’s such a lost opportunity! What leaders don’t realize is that this is the pivotal time for them to really step on the gas. It’s vital to double down on engagement by investing in your newly acclimated team member for the long haul,” she admonished. Graham added it’s the only authentic way to foster a positive, cogent employee experience.
How to create a holistic employee experience
After all we’ve been through during this pandemic, every single one of us is tired. So naturally, you’d think creating a holistic employee experience at your organization would be painfully difficult, a feat only possible by the bravest of heart.
Thankfully, Team Click is a united team of brave souls, each with lots of heart. Architecting all-encompassing experiences for your employees isn’t impossible or even out of reach. But like everything else that actually matters, EX does require advocacy from the top down, a pragmatic strategy and a forward-thinking perspective.
Whether you want to establish, further develop or completely revitalize the employee experience at your organization, Click Boarding’s three-point methodology can help you achieve your EX goals.
1. Look beyond the first 30, 60 & 90 days
When you make the initial investment in a new hire, your organization likely has standard 30-, 60- and 90-day check-ins or assessments to ensure role alignment and progress. These strategically cadenced milestones are part of the overarching onboarding process. They afford new employees the chance to ask candid questions about their progress against their role’s defined goals and objectives, team-related questions, company culture and more.
Once new employees segue past the 90-day mark, Graham stresses that people leaders can’t forget about employees once they’re settled. “This is the optimal time you can really make a difference and positively impact employee engagement,” she explains. “Always make sure your employees are satisfied. The experiences you’re delivering must be holistic, from Day 0 through exit.”
Graham also recommends connecting with employees at each of their employment milestones (e.g., shift in role, promotion, one-time activity, training or compliance sign-offs, etc.) as they grow with your organization and within their role. It’s a rare window of transparency to hear firsthand what workers think about the employee experience at your company.
Finally, your new hires don’t want to “go it alone,” especially during those first few weeks. Instead, Graham encourages leadership to connect each new employee with an onboarding buddy or mentor. In fact, research from Software Advice indicates that 74% of new hires consider their peers to be the most helpful source of support during the onboarding process.
If neglected as we struggle to make our way through the rest of the pandemic, the collective EX efforts will undoubtedly be in vain…meaning your rock stars and superstars will find another stage on which to perform.
2. Normalize consistent, two-way communication
It’s important to engage with employees consistently, not constantly. Make open, honest communication a normal part of your approach with outreach efforts, but don’t forget to ask for feedback (and not solely at performance review time).
Graham says one-on-one meetings will effectively keep the momentum going. “It’s going to depend on the employee. Some prefer weekly check-ins while other team members like bi-weekly or even monthly status meetings.” For higher engagement, she suggests allowing employees to dictate check-in timing specifics. See’s Candies SVP of HR, Chad Paulson, contends frequent communication with employees is essential.
“The key is constantly getting input from the employees, whether it’s direct communications between managers or HR, or pulse checks, or training programs. The #1 priority should be to understand the employee’s perspective and then to translate how it matches the employer’s goals.”
Although feedback is an indispensable part of creating a holistic employee experience, Graham insists it must go both ways and offers these insightful tips:
- Be open to constructive criticism from your direct reports; this type of open dialogue builds trust.
- Ask employees how they’re feeling, and actually listen to them.
- Commit to long-term, ongoing improvement and provide the necessary support.
- Build employee experiences that are important for their job, skill set d company.
- Strengthen their ability to shift and evolve along with the company.
You can’t viably succeed without the right infrastructure that combines people, process and technology. Without it, it’s just good intent with no follow through or progress.
3. Develop an employee-first mentality
According to president and chief recruitment officer at Magnet Culture, Cara Silletto, “we have to treat our candidates and new employees as internal customers and focus on making that a smooth transition for them, integrating them into the team, making them feel welcome, listening to them. New hires are the greatest flight risk today.” Silletto’s comments are both timely and justifiable, and it’s up to HR and management to understand the individuals who make up their workforce.
How can leaders develop an employee-first mindset? It may sound utterly oversimplified, but a bona fide employee-first mentality can only be achieved by prioritizing the employee and the employee’s needs first. Only until the necessary time and effort are invested in gaining understanding will employee experience be genuinely effective or productive.
Remember: one size does not fit all. Therefore, you need to think creatively and perhaps even unconventionally to produce creative solutions. Further, Graham recommends that you build variations in engagement opportunities, based on the unique needs of certain groups or demographics within your employee base.
What are the benefits of a holistic employee experience?
As you regularly engage with employees throughout their tenure at your company, you motivate them to stay with the organization, despite changes to their role. This ultimately creates a triple-header win:
- Employee retention and engagement is significantly increased.
- Your workforce’s skill set is widely expanded with your investment in them.
- Employee growth and development raises performance and the organization’s bottom line.
As organizations learn more about the employee experience during the coronavirus pandemic, data has emerged suggesting that employers will have to adopt new approaches and invest in technology that helps them listen, learn and improve the worker experience. HR managers will also have to lead as they build mature employee experience programs.
The Click Platform: a holistic employee experience, delivered
Your employees expect more from Day 0 throughout their entire tenure at your organization. And it’s your job to keep them engaged, motivated and retained, especially right now. It’s time you maximized the investment you’re making in your employees.
From onboarding and offboarding to employee transitions and one-time events, the Click end-to-end employee experience platform enables the intuitive configuration of workflows for seamless transitions throughout the employee lifecycle:
Crossboarding for internal mobility
- Departmental shifts
- Geographic relocations
- Employee promotions
HR activities for one-time events
- Signatures & sign-offs
- Compliance & training
- Leave of absences
Offboarding for exits & alumnus
- Manager checklists
- Resource sharing
- Voluntary / involuntary process flows
Don’t risk losing your talent, today or in the future. Discover how our seamless, mobile-first and automated platform elevates the employee experience and meets new hire engagement expectations. When you’re ready to learn more, connect with our team!