Fast-paced changes in society, the economy and business have made the way employees experience work an important factor. It’s become as critical to an organization as the ability to deal with transformation, disruption and economic instability.
Companies that focus on improving the employee experience have been found to generate 25% greater profits as compared to those that don’t. This is possible because a good employee experience boosts innovation and customer experience.
What is employee experience?
The employee experience (EX) refers to the perceptions of an employee across their journey through all the touchpoints of an organization, starting from the time they were job candidates to the time they quit the organization--and often even beyond it.
A detailed understanding of the major touchpoints in the employee lifecycle is necessary to build an effective employee experience strategy.
The areas that are affected by the employee experience are:
It measures the relationship between employees and their company. Gallup revealed that companies with highly engaged employees generated 21% greater profitability and 17% greater productivity than those with disengaged employees.
A good employee experience is likely to boost employee engagement.
Glassdoor states that 86% of employees and job seekers look up company reviews and ratings to decide where to seek employment.
This indicates that employees want to understand the experience they can expect at the workplace. A poor employee experience leads people to put up negative reviews and drives talent away from the company.
Employees tend to decide to leave early on in their tenure. McKinsey found that 40% of employees are likely to leave within 3-6 months of starting at a job.
However, proper onboarding processes can help people understand what to expect and influence their desire to stay, be productive and contribute to the company culture.
A strong employee experience can have a significant impact on a company’s revenues. Analysis has shown that companies with high employee experience scores had two times greater average revenues, four times greater average profits and a 40% lower turnover.
Factors in the employee experience
The three main components of the employee experience are the physical workspace, technology and culture.
1. Physical workspace
Everything in an employee’s physical work environment such as ergonomic chairs, temperature-controlled workspaces or hygienic cafeteria food affects the employee experience.
A good office design determines whether employees can find privacy when they need it or call impromptu meetings.
The goal of open office designs is to improve the physical workspace and promote a positive corporate culture.
Corporate culture has a strong bearing on creating or hurting a positive employee experience.
A rigidly hierarchical and autocratic culture may suppress employee creativity and career ambitions, whereas a disorganized or too-informal culture may generate mistrust or the desire to leave for better organizations.
Culture also includes factors like how well an employee gets along with their boss and with coworkers or whether after-work social activities are available.
The tools that employees use in the workplace to perform their jobs, most of which are digital, affect the employee experience.
If tools are intuitive and easy to use, employees feel empowered and more productive.
On the other hand, if tools are clunky and complex, the employee experience is degraded and people lose interest in performing the tasks.
6 benefits of a positive employee experience
Creating a positive employee experience benefits organizations in several ways:
- Higher productivity: Satisfied and engaged employees are more productive and produce better quality work
- Better employee retention: Engaged employees tend to stay longer at a company than disengaged ones
- Lower turnover: Better retention, in turn, leads to cost savings for recruiting and training new candidates
- More creativity and innovation: Satisfied employees feel free to think outside the box and generate creative and innovative ideas
- Less absenteeism: Happy employees are motivated to come in to work every day and perform at their jobs, so there’s less absenteeism
- Better customer experience: Satisfied employees deliver better customer service and tend to speak positively about the organization
Role of technology in employee experience
Technology has a three-fold impact on the day-to-day experiences of employees:
- Employees perform HR transactions and interact with the HR department using tech tools.
- Employees mostly use IT tools to perform their jobs.
- HR managers, departmental managers, and executives primarily use tech tools to execute the employee experience strategy.
Many technological applications support the employee experience:
Human Resource Management System (HRMS)
HRIS is a platform that manages internal HR functions, such as payroll, recruitment, employee data management, talent management, attendance and employee engagement. Employees have a certain degree of control over their data and information, and thus feel empowered.
HRMS platforms have evolved to include functions like social collaboration tools, contingent worker information and employee profiles and directories. This trend demonstrates the desire to have a unified system with enhanced usability for both HR departments and employees.
Service management tools
HR help desks enable HR departments to manage work requests and improve service delivery. HR service management tools improve communications with employees and save time by automating repetitive, manual tasks. Employees have visibility over work requests through their dashboards.
Service delivery applications are meant to meet needs such as improving HR operations and user experience, increasing employee engagement and enhancing the employee’s experience of workplace technology.
Digital adoption platforms
Digital adoption platforms (DAP) are walkthrough software designed to ease onboarding, simplify the user experience and ensure proficiency in workplace tech tools.
DAPs were created to facilitate successful digital transformations and increase ROI on workplace technology.
When employees struggle with unfamiliar tools and platforms daily, they tend to feel dissatisfied, burnt out and disengaged. This harms productivity and quality of work as well.
DAPs function by:
- Providing in-app training and guidance
- Automating aspects of employee onboarding
- Collecting and analyzing employee data
- Providing proactive support to resolve employee challenges
Health and wellness apps
Companies can monitor the health and well-being of employees - both physical and mental - using health apps.
Employees feel valued and cared for with such initiatives, as it adds to a positive employee experience.
Now that we have established the important role that HR technology plays in the employee experience, let’s see how it can be leveraged to improve the employee experience.
7 HR tech tips to improve the employee experience
Here are seven ways in which HR tech can be harnessed for a better employee experience:
1. Optimize self-services
Employee self-service systems save a lot of time by streamlining workflows, but they’re useful only when they’re intuitive and easy to use. If a platform is poorly designed or cluttered with unnecessary features, employees will get frustrated and adoption of the platform will be low.
A platform with UI flaws leads to issues with data integrity and forces HR staff to perform tasks manually. Such a scenario negates the purpose of having an ESS platform.
By streamlining HR processes, you can avoid the disadvantages of an inefficient workflow, such as:
- Errors in payroll and benefits
- Inconsistent reporting
- Reduced reporting capability
- Compliance errors
However, optimized self-service platforms that can also be accessed on mobile devices boost employee satisfaction and are an important factor in improving the employee experience.
2. Simplify and modernize hiring
Hiring can keep up with the latest technological developments by using recruitment tools that can streamline all processes from offer letter rollout to onboarding. It also gives the company an edge over its competitors.
Recruitment tech can automate background checks for candidates, streamline job postings, screen job applications, conduct an automated technical assessment or even deliver a live coding challenge.
Candidates want to work with a company that embraces the latest tools and technologies and stays up-to-date with the latest corporate practices.
A smooth experience from the candidate screening stage to the onboarding training stage increases the employee’s desire to perform their best and contribute meaningfully to the company.
3. Streamline task management
A successful employee experience strategy is dependent on having efficient and streamlined HR processes. It’s important to have the ability at both the employee level and the organizational level to complete tasks quickly and accurately.
Task management software has the following benefits:
- Improved ability to meet deadlines
- Efficient communication between coworkers
- Enables greater visibility on projects
- Increases productivity and focus by making it easier to handle multiple projects and tasks
- Centralized repository of documents, files, and data
- Access controls and user permissions
Task management tools save time and consequently costs by optimizing workflows and automating internal processes.
4. Offer personalized learning environments
Offering professional development programs is a good way to empower employees and improve the talent pool in the organization.
Most companies don’t go beyond onboarding training, but giving employees a chance to continually upgrade their skills enhances their experience at work.
Digital tools like learning management systems (LMS) and webinars can be used to help employees learn on the job.
Mobile learning systems are popular among employees because they offer the freedom to learn on the go and in bite-sized modules that can be easily understood. These systems also have tracking, customization and assessment capabilities to ensure that learning progresses smoothly.
5. Promote employee engagement
Highly engaged employees tend to be more productive at work and perform better at their jobs. A good employee experience has a positive effect on employee engagement.
HR platforms can be harnessed to provide employees with a means to communicate with each other and socialize online. This is especially important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic where most people are working remotely.
Employees can celebrate important personal milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries and offer recognition and appreciation for outstanding work contributions. This helps people feel connected to their companies and team members.
6. Improve communication and collaboration
When employees collaborate effectively, they connect and communicate much better with each other. This fosters better problem-solving and boosts innovation.
Collaboration at the workplace can enhance employee experience by:
- Creating a sense of community
- Building trust
- Breaking down organizational silos
- Improving the onboarding process
- Making employees feel less isolated, especially in remote work
- Helping in learning and development on the job
- Enhancing employee engagement
7. Apply people analytics
People analytics helps HR leaders gather actionable insights from employees and fill the gap between employee expectations and company actions.
It also enables them to capture metrics about how employees engage with content and tools.
Employee data analysis helps managers understand talent trends, examine business spending patterns and ensure pay equity.
The value of people analytics lies in data-driven employee management and analyzing the relationship between engagement and retention.
Key insights into how and why people are engaged with their jobs, how it can be translated into business metrics and what HR can do to retain employees helps companies understand where they stand concerning their goals.
LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 Report states that employee experience is one of the top four workplace trends that are changing the way companies hire and retain talent.
HR teams have been aware of this trend and are focusing on improving the employee experience to boost the company’s employer branding and retention.
High overall satisfaction levels strengthen the relationships between employee satisfaction, customer loyalty and profitability.