The newest term circulating around the HR industry is the “employee experience”. It’s not just about employee engagement, which, while proven an important factor to consider, is difficult to foster and leverage for tangible results, it’s about the collective journey from interview to long-term employee, and every interaction in between.
As technology disrupts traditional business practices, some employee roles are no longer cut and dry; many managers and employees alike are working collaboratively between departments and perform functions not necessarily anchored to any particular job description.
The changing landscape of organizational hierarchy means HR departments are no longer siloed, and many are involved in the decisions and functions of multiple business divisions. The workplace is growing increasingly complex, creating the need for agile business practices, structural modifications, and a focus on employees.
From recruitment to benefits, employees are looking for companies that value work-life balance even before accepting an interview. Thus companies are beginning to take the entire experience of each new hire into consideration. Enter: the employee experience. Deloitte’s latest research shows that the importance of aligning professional and personal lives of employees increased by 23% from 2016 to 2017 among surveyed participants.
The employee experience can be defined as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work. This means that every aspect of the company an employee comes into contact with–not just being hired and receiving a 401(k)–is an opportunity for the employee to trust, value, and ultimately remain loyal to an organization.
Employees are hyper-connected digitally. If any doubt in a company arises, they are able to quickly and efficiently draw comparisons to other organizations, and take an in-depth look into the cultures, values, and perks offered by them. One in three employees have changed jobs in the last three years according to Gallup. Not only is transparency important, but a holistic approach to employee relations is vital for attraction and retention.
The employee experience must be given more thought than a quick, experimental project to boost retention would require. As with a recognition program, an employee experience initiative needs a designated ‘pilot’ to manage and maintain the employee experience. This may be someone in the HR department who’s given a new set of responsibilities, or a new hire whose role is specifically designed to elevate the employee experience. In fact, running a simple Linkedin search tells us that there are more than 2,900 open positions pertaining to “employee experience” this month. General Electric has recently appointed a Head of Employee Experience to build a people-centric environment that allows employees to learn, evolve and perform their best.
When considering employee engagement, take a step back and consider the entire experience to incorporate into overall business goals. Invest in your people. Make them proud of the company they work for, and their loyalty and satisfaction will pay you back.