Seven ways to improve employee experience

7 ways to improve employee experience cover image

Employee experience has never been more important.  In fact, a staggering 92% of HR leaders say it’s their number one priority. 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... and what business leader is going to say no to that?

But building a good employee experience isn't easy. It doesn't happen overnight. It can take months, or even years to cultivate, and employers need to earn the trust of employees. HR is usually the driving force behind improving employee experience - no pressure, right?!


So, what is 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’. These moments will happen at key touchpoints, often in times of transition or change, such as the onboarding period, earning a promotion, going on parental leave or finishing a big project. The way leaders, colleagues and the business as a whole treats these moments can make or break the employee experience. Do employees feel respected, cared for and celebrated, or ignored, irrelevant or burdensome?

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.

Employee experience


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: 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. Employees don't bother sharing their good ideas, innovation stagnates and the business starts to decline. That's why it's so important to constantly strive to improve the employee experience.


How to improve employee experience

With that in mind, we've come up with seven ways to improve employee experience. It involves focusing on: development, knowledge, communication, leadership, technology, wellbeing and, lastly, trust, social cohesion and inclusion.

1. Development

It's up to L&D and HR 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, because it helps employees do their best work, taps into one of the key employee desires and ensures a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

8 in 10 people say that learning adds purpose to their work.
- LinkedIn Learning, 2024

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, in a way that suits them.

2. Knowledge

It's important to improve operational performance by curating the information and resources people need to do their jobs. 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, as well as encouraging collaboration for the best employee experience.

3. Communication

To keep everyone in the loop about what is going on in the organisation, HR and L&D should be 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:

  • Keeping people aligned to core messages with notifications about new, important learning and content
  • Keeping people feeling connected with regular company updates sent via their 5app learning and comms platform
  • Helping leaders communicate with the workforce and maintain visibility, such as with the CEO's 'Diary of Your CEO' video series

That flow of communication from leaders to and with the workforce is vital for a positive employee experience, particularly during times of crisis such as a global pandemic. At Hemsley Fraser, leaders use 5app to keep employees up to date and to signpost them to a range of resources, including employee wellbeing.

4. Wellbeing

During the global pandemic, employee wellbeing shot up the business agenda, for obvious reasons. As a result, many employers have taken extra measures to look after the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce.

55% of millennials believe that their employer takes employees' mental health seriously, and 59% would feel comfortable speaking openly with their manager about feeling stressed or anxious. This is encouraging, but there is still clearly more to do.

Looking to boost employee wellbeing? Take a look at 5app's Plug and Play solution - the fastest way to access top-quality wellbeing content by Hemsley Fraser.

5. Technology

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%)

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.

6. Trust

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.

A big part of this is rooted in the need for transparent, open communication, especially from leadership to the rest of the workforce. Part of this means communicating with people in the right places to ensure messages aren't missed, and sharing information in the right formats. For instance, business leaders can switch from sending emails for every important business update to sharing quick videos, allowing everyone to understand the tone of the message and helping boost the visibility of your leaders.

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.

The inclusion process starts with great employee onboarding, and doesn't stop until the employee's very last day at your company. Ensuring you have a robust DEIB strategy underpinning your entire employee lifecycle is key to making every single employee feel included, respected and like a valued part of your team.


The bottom line on employee experience

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, supports the building of a healthy learning culture and aligns learning with the business needs and objectives.

Ready to level up your employee experience?

We'd love to help! Find out how we've helped businesses like Hemsley Fraser, Greystar and Spirit Energy create better employee experiences by booking your free demo today.


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