6 elements of a winning employee experience
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Getting the employee experience right within your organisation not only improves retention and future talent attraction but also increases profitability and customer perception. With such compelling advantages every brand should invest in engagement and culture. Here are 6 elements that are essential in order to create a winning employee experience.
1. First Impressions
The perception of your company and the first impression that will be imprinted in employee’s minds starts long before their first day in the office.
It’s often the case that an individual will have started forming an impression of your brand, even before you engage with them, by browsing social networks, your website and online reviews etc.
Your online presence, whether on a personal level representing a brand, or as a voice of your brand, should always be authentic.
Engaging with potential candidates on social media or at events is a strategy that should be prioritised by HR as part of their overall recruitment efforts.
Consistent messaging, respect for individual’s time and attention and a personable approach are all vital when attracting and retaining new talent.
Even in social situations it’s essential that all employees are on message and happy to discuss the benefits of working for your business. If they’re unhappy and/or disengaged, then the message they share could be less than positive.
Employee referral schemes not only provides encouragement for employees to promote the company but also a chance for HR to advise employees on key points when discussing vacancies or the brand in general with friends and family.
Onboarding is an area that also requires particular attention and effort from everyone involved. Welcoming a new member of staff to the office and ensuring that they are integrated in the best way possible not only benefits them but also the employer.
Purpose is an essential element for a strong, sustainable, scalable organisational culture. It’s an underlying element that drives an organisation forward.
Does each and every employee know how their role in the organisation fits into what the organisation does as a whole?
While people are employed to perform specific roles within an organisation, they remain because they believe in the companies vision and goals. When an employee is focused on the day-to-day duties of their job, however, it’s easy to form tunnel vision and lose sight of the bigger picture.
According to The Guardian:
“Almost half the workforce (42%) now want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world, according to research carried out by consultancy Global Tolerance. The survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found that 44% thought meaningful work that helped others was more important than a high salary and 36% would work harder if their company benefitted society.”
By holding regular meetings that include the entire organisation business leaders can reiterate the part every individual has to play in the success of the business and provide employees a platform to direct questions to anybody within the business.
Listening to employee’s suggestions and comments, acting on them and feeding the results back also strengthens their sense of purpose. The knowledge that they have a voice and can make a company-wide change not only encourages a sense of purpose throughout the workforce but also one of belonging.
In a survey by Deloitte it was found that 73% of employees who say they work at a “purpose-driven” company are engaged, compared to just 23% of those who don’t.
“According to recent research from the EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business Review, purpose-driven companies saw 85% growth in their revenue over the past three years. In the same period, 42% of companies that can’t articulate their do good mission, showed a drop in revenue.”
A great company culture improves productivity, increases employee loyalty and retention, encourages team-work, promotes creativity and reduces negativity.
It helps a company attract and retain top talent, which leads to greater alignment, greater productivity and a better employee experience.
Statistics say that 68% of employees feel their company is not a culture in which they have a sense of purpose or a significant impact. This reinforces the importance of a relevant and inspiring company culture in order for a business to truly thrive.
Employees need to feel as if they are significant and involved in the progress of the company. In order to bridge the gap between management and employees, try leaving behind the traditional ways of closed doors and secret meetings and create a more open and engaging environment.
To have the most effective team and the best representation of a company’s vision, it’s also important to create a cohesive environment that provides employees with positive influences to support their learning and contribution to the brand. This encourages a company culture where employee “training” becomes “teaching,” and employee engagement thrives.
In an increasingly competitive business world, one of the most important steps a company can take is to create a strong and identifiable brand that employees can connect with and authentically promote.
Think of companies like Apple or Google. Both companies offer their employees a clear and immersive sense of their brand message in the workplace. Their employees popularly believe in the company mission, and ultimately love working for them.
This engagement and loyalty is one of the most advantageous tools that these companies have, and no doubt contributes greatly to their continually growing success.
Glassdoor recently conducted a ‘Shapely Value’ analysis (results can be thought of as a pie split into parts according to the answers given) and found that culture and values were the biggest factor when it comes to employee satisfaction, at 22%.”
Any positive working relationship is based on trust, whether between colleagues or with management and business leaders.
An office environment of trust encourages a message that you have each other’s best interests in mind. Feedback, whether positive of negative, is accepted more readily by employees when they trust the person providing it as they know that it’s honest and with sincerity.
According to Harvard Business Review the principles to remember are:
- Emphasize what you have in common — it helps employees believe that their goals are aligned with yours
- Share whatever information you can — when people feel trusted, they’ll trust you back
- Admit mistakes and accept responsibility
- Give orders — motivating employees to succeed on their own will earn you trust
- Badmouth anyone — people will automatically assume you’ll also speak poorly of them when their backs are turned
- Fake knowledge — employees need to see you are competent enough to admit what you don’t know
Once trust is lost however, it’s hard to get back. If trust fails, so too does communication, teamwork and performance.
Managers who can clearly communicate the company vision and goals and why everyone is doing what they’re doing are generally much more successful at employee engagement.
“Clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance,”
Being clear and concise displays your clarity of thought. Employees will have more confidence in what you say and do because you have demonstrated that you know exactly what you’re doing and what still needs to be done.
People like to be given clear and concise instruction and expectations, they’re easier to follow and take less time to absorb. Rather than vague requests and ‘fuzzy’ goals it’s far more beneficial to be precise in what it is that you want.
When it comes to the company vision and why it does what it does, it makes sense to convey the messaging in such a way that all members of staff can easily remember and convey it to their network as brand ambassadors.
“…a poll of 14,000 employees across Europe has suggested that those companies that provide their employees with a clear “line of sight” when it comes to vision and direction tend to have a much more committed, engaged and productive workforce.”
Feeling part of a team and working towards a common goal enhances the employee experience further. A sense of belonging and brand loyalty is difficult to nurture if individuals feel isolated and don’t communicate with one another.
Strong interpersonal relationships help nurture a support system within teams.
Setting team based goals, each individual’s role in achieving them and sharing information with colleagues should be encouraged by business leaders and ‘champions’ within the business.
It’s the role of leaders within the business to encourage, support and optimise the collaborative way in which employees work. They should be leading by example, listening to feedback and offering advice as and when needed.
It’s important for a leader to be able to understand and reconcile the strengths and weaknesses within their team.
Providing the right collaboration tools is vital if a culture that reflects teamwork is to thrive. Whether this is a simple messaging app or an employee intranet and self-service portal.