Welcome back to alfii’s What The Buzz series!
Once a month, we choose a trending industry term we see buzzing around LinkedIn statuses, blog posts, articles, lunch break conversations, or memes. We then explore what the term really means and come back to you with everything you need to know to be “in the know.”
Buzz it, let’s get started:
This month, we’ve selected the term employee experience (EX); it's a term you’re likely to have heard before, but what does it really entail? Simply put, employee experience is the sum total of all interactions, perceptions, and feelings that an employee has about their job and the organization they work for; starting at the point of attraction and ending at the point of exit. It's the holistic view of what it's like to be an employee in a company, and it encompasses everything from recruitment to onboarding, job satisfaction to career development opportunities and more.
In this article, we'll dive into the nitty-gritty of employee experience, and get real about what it takes to create a positive and fulfilling one for your team. So, whether you're a manager, an HR professional, or a founder looking to create an awesome work environment for your people, you’re going to want to keep reading.
Today, employee experience has become more important than ever – even getting a massive boost after COVID – and not only are employers making active changes to provide better employee experiences, but employees are far more willing to pack up and leave when theirs isn’t up to par; in fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021—hence, The Great Resignation.
Coaching platform BetterUp explains it in a nutshell: “The pandemic reframed us as humans first, employees second. Employees now want to work for an organization that enables them to bring their full selves to the job. And employers are expected to support or create the conditions that lead to healthier lives.” So, let’s get to it:
Here’s what employee experience is:
- The set of interactions an employee has with people, systems, policies, and the physical and virtual workspace.
- Both the small details of day-to-day work and the periodic events and transitions.
- A holistic approach to understanding and improving the employee's journey within the company.
- What is experienced, lived, and felt by the employee, including their sense of security and safety in the workplace as well as their sense of belonging and inclusion within the organization.
- The physical wellbeing and psychological safety of the employee.
- The tasks, team, and career development opportunities that are given to the employee.
And pretty much everything in between!
Here’s what employee experience isn’t:
- Solely associated with HR systems and tools.
- Solely the responsibility of HR or management, instead of being a collective effort from the entire organization.
- Only focused on employee satisfaction or engagement.
- Limited to certain departments or teams.
- Just the employee benefits package.
- Only about the immediate experience, but not about the long-term impact on the employee's career and wellbeing.
- A one-size-fits-all concept.
- Micromanagement and excessive control.
When it’s going well:
- Employees are onboarded smoothly and efficiently.
- They feel valued, trusted, heard, and understood.
- They have a clear understanding of their role and feel empowered to make decisions and bring new ideas to the table.
- They get paid on time no with no issues, delays, or errors in salary.
- They have a positive work-life balance and feel a sense of purpose and meaning in their work.
- Administrative processes are easy and hassle-free.
- The company is responsive and attentive, offering access to reliable HR support.
- They feel supported in their development and have opportunities for growth and advancement.
- They feel a sense of community and connection with their colleagues and the company culture, and they feel like they can be completely themselves without any judgment.
- They’re aware of how well they’re doing and what needs improvement at all times due a well-established feedback-first culture.
- Languages of appreciation are comfortably and commonly expressed.
When it isn’t:
- Employees may feel overworked, undervalued, and unsupported.
- They may have unclear expectations and lack of autonomy in their role.
- They feel excluded and misunderstood, lacking a sense of connection with their colleagues.
- They may see no path for growth and development, leaving them feeling lost, redundant, or lacking purpose.
- They may also feel afraid to speak up, share their opinions, or stand up for themselves.
So, what can you do to create a positive employee experience? Well, for starters…
- Listen to your people: Employee feedback is essential to understanding their experiences and making improvements. Regularly gather feedback through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings to ensure you have a clear picture of what's working and what's not.
- Communicate effectively: Clear and consistent communication is key. Set clear expectations, provide regular updates on company goals and progress, and be transparent about any changes or challenges.
- Invest in your HR department: Make sure HR teams have the bandwidth to effectively support your people, and that internal processes are efficient and not a pain for employees to deal with.
- Support professional development: Invest in your employees by providing opportunities for learning, development, and upskilling. Offer training, mentoring, and coaching programs to help them reach their full potential.
- Prioritize work-life balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements and promoting a healthy work-life culture
- Create a positive environment: A positive and inclusive culture is created with intention and effort. This includes fostering a sense of community, promoting open communication, and recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions.
In conclusion, a positive employee experience is cultivated consciously with efforts from everyone in the organization, and this starts with creating a supportive culture through and through. EX encompasses pretty much every work-related element you can think of; it's a wild ride with ups and downs and twists and turns, emotions included, and it certainly isn’t just about the benefits package or the fancy office—it's about creating a positive and fulfilling work environment for all employees no matter where they fit into your organization, irrespective of how long they’ve been there for.
That’s it for now, friends! Be sure to keep an eye out for our LinkedIn polls, where you’ll get the chance to vote for which What The Buzz we’ll be diving into next month.
Image sourced from pexels.com