Employee experience matters more now than ever before, so much so that 92% of HR leaders say it’s their number one priority this year. It matters to employees and it matters to HR, but it also matters just as much to employers.
Why? Because when organisations provide a great employee experience, they report significantly higher levels of profitability, customer satisfaction and innovation, according to MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research.
Given all the turmoil of the past 18 months, with employees having to rapidly transition to new ways of working, how they experience work and working life has really been under the spotlight.
So, what is the employee experience?
There are lots of different definitions of employee experience, but Gallup encapsulates it well: “The employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organisation. It includes every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager and wellbeing.” Some organisations talk about the employee experience in terms of ‘moments that matter’.
Essentially, the employee experience encompasses the whole employee lifecycle, from the moment a person applies for a role to the moment they leave and everything in between. And it includes how a person feels about working for their organisation day-to-day.
Creating a positive employee experience
Our research and our conversations with customers and people in the marketplace tell us that there are some key challenges facing employees that can negatively impact their experiences at work. Typically, we see these three problems:
- People feel disconnected from the company and its goals
- People are unsure where to go to find the information they need
- People feel they are not supported in their development
And there’s another common problem that also impacts the employee experience and that’s a lack of knowledge-sharing. When knowledge isn’t shared freely around an organisation, it prevents diverse opinions and ideas from surfacing or being expressed.
The seven ways to improve employee experience
With that in mind, we think there are seven ways to improve employee experience. It involves focusing on: development, knowledge, communication, leadership, technology, wellbeing and lastly, trust, social cohesion and inclusion.
The first of these three – development, knowledge and communication – relate to 5app’s three pillars of agile learning To support the development of individuals and teams, by curating the digital learning people need to develop their skills. It’s so important that employers invest in employees’ skills development. It helps employees do their best work and ensures a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Oil and gas operator Spirit Energy use 5app to develop their staff. They created SHIELD – the Spirit Hub for Improvement, Education, Learning and Development, enabling employees to access learning and development opportunities when they need it, how they need it.
To improve operational performance by curating the information and resources people need to do their job. This is what employees need – easy access to learning and knowledge. When learning and knowledge is shared around an organisation, it enables innovation and creativity to flourish and it enables diverse voices and opinions to be heard. It also encourages collaboration.
To connect people with what is going on in the organisation by curating the news and information people need. Collaboration and communication are central to how the learning and development organisation Hemsley Fraser operates. Hemsley Fraser has used 5app as a communication tool in several ways:
- to keep people aligned to core messages
- to keep people feeling connected
- to help leaders communicate with the workforce and maintain visibility
That flow of communication from leaders to and with the workforce is vital to a positive employee experience, particularly during times of crisis such as a global pandemic. At Hemsley Fraser, leaders have used 5app to keep employees up to date and to signpost them to a range of resources, including wellbeing.
Wellbeing has shot right up the priority agenda during Covid-19, for obvious reasons. Many employers have taken the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce seriously and taken steps to provide extra resources.
The effective use of technology is key to delivering a positive employee experience. A study by the research and advisory company Forrester shows that IT leaders are also involved in the drive to improve employee experience, with almost half (41%) saying it’s one of their top current business priorities. The 1,000 leaders polled say their most important EX considerations are:
- Empowering employees with the right environment where employees can be productive 77%
- Offering technology that enables collaboration 77%
- Inspiring employees with mechanisms for feedback 70%
- Offering technology that enables productivity 76%
There has been an acceleration of digital learning during the pandemic, with many organisations implementing new approaches to learning.
What stands out here is that none of these are standalone issues. There’s crossover with so many of them – if you have the right technology in place, for example, you can enable communication and collaboration to flourish, knowledge to be shared, productivity to increase and great learning to happen, when it needs to happen. This is when you get a positive employee experience.
Trust is key to the employer-employee contract and it’s strengthened by efforts to build social cohesion and inclusion. This is linked to communication, leadership, wellbeing and knowledge sharing.
7. Social cohesion and inclusion
So this leaves social cohesion and inclusion. When organisations have a cohesive and inclusive culture, it builds trust, wellbeing, communication and knowledge-sharing.
Having all of these seven elements in place benefits employees and employers in so many ways. And it definitely leads to a positive employee experience. Covid-19 and repeated lockdowns have really highlighted the need to focus on employee experience. That need is not going to go away, even when we transition it to another new normal, when the worst of the pandemic is over.
Use a learning and communications platform that supports new ways of working, and promotes positive employee engagement. 5App supports your L&D strategy, creates a learning culture, and aligns learning with the business needs and objectives.