What Is the Employee Experience and Why Does It Matter
Comparing the Customer Experience
Almost everyone working in marketing, sales, customer service or upper management is familiar with the concept of the customer experience. In its simplest terms, the customer experience is the reaction that customers have when interacting with an organization. The experience may be positive, encouraging the customer to take to every social media channel to sing the company's praises. If the experience is negative, the customer will still probably post to social media, but the posts will range from criticism and disapproval to outright condemnation of everything the company has ever produced, done or said.
The employee experience process shares many similarities with the customer experience. For one thing, you can bet that a disgruntled former employee is going to denounce your organization publicly, forcefully and frequently. Current employees will find sneakier ways to show their disdain of their employee experience. They may participate anonymously in surveys asking employees to rate their organizations, submit negative information to sites such as Glass Door or participate in forums dedicated to castigating the company.
Employee Experience - The Concept
The concept of the employee experience is relatively new. A few decades ago, employers held all the cards — and they kept them close to their vests. Many jobs required few skills and little training, so the value of an employee was not a consideration. Employees who were unhappy were welcome — sometimes encouraged — to seek greener pastures elsewhere. If the local unemployment rate was high, managers knew that they would receive dozens or even hundreds of applications for every advertised vacancy whether the job required a college degree or simply the willingness to show up every day.
Times have changed, so any company chained to the typical employee journey of the 1950s is asking for trouble. Thanks to the internet and social media, today's employees have more options than ever before when looking for a job. They can research potential employers, find opportunities in other states or network to uncover openings that have not yet been publicized. Furthermore, every generation since the baby boomers has come to expect more from their employers. They want employers to have a social conscience, be completely open about all employee processes and demonstrate that they consider the value of an employee to be extremely high.
Salaries alone have proven insufficient to safeguard high-performing employees against headhunters or competitors out to commit a little poaching. In an effort to attract and retain the best talent, an increasing number of organizations are taking innovative approaches to improve the employee experience. Forward-thinking organizations realize that the employee journey begins long before the interview, so they are taking steps to make candidates want to work for them. These companies look for opportunities to make every employee interaction with organization communications or personnel a positive one. Eliminating the stuffed-shirt language in job postings, painting an enticing picture of the organization's environment and emphasizing the ways that the selected candidate can contribute are some of the tactics currently being used. Perks that were once considered unusual, including catered lunches, customized office décor and valet parking, are becoming more common. Employee processes such as onboarding and mentoring have been given greater emphasis to help ensure that the employee journey is a smooth one.
Unfortunately, there is no one way to succeed at creating a meaningful experience for every employee. A company with offices on the beach, for example, might need to craft a different employee experience than a company with offices on the 40th floor of a skyscraper in New York City. The important point to remember is that every employee interaction with organization policies, processes and attitudes is another chance to win the hearts — and loyalty — of your employees.
The Employee Experience Cheat Sheet (Infographic) by Jacob Morgan