By taking an individual approach to your employee experience strategy, you can make changes to address the unique needs of your employees.
The modern workplace has been undergoing a major change in how it views and treats employees. Prior to the 20th century, most organizations focused on creating and selling a product as quickly and efficiently as possible. It wasn’t until research into human motivation showed the importance of employee morale that companies shifted focus. Employers eventually realized that recognizing employees as individuals and fostering engagement at work resulted in increased productivity, which in turn meant less turnover and higher profits.
This shift led to employee experience becoming the new focal point of workforce management. However, despite its popularity among HR leaders, most companies are still unsure of how to apply employee experience on an individual level. According to a recent report by Deloitte, 80% of executives rated employee experience as important, but only 22% reported that their companies were excellent at building a “differentiated employee experience.”
Like any organization-wide initiative, employee experience must be strategized to address variances in needs and expectations. Employee experience strategy relies on understanding company culture, using employee feedback, and investing resources into making changes and improvements.
Use your culture to build an employee experience strategy
In order to build a successful employee experience strategy, you have to understand your organization’s culture, the expectations you have for employees, and the expectations they have for you as their employer. Every company has its own culture–commonly defined as the values, traditions, and beliefs that shape employee behavior and attitudes.
Your employees interact with your culture at every single point during their workday. In fact, your culture is communicated in ways you may not even expect. An employee’s environment, their relationships at work, and the resources they use all have a part in forming their idea of your company culture.
To get an accurate idea of what your culture is like, look at it like your employees do. What elements do they interact with on a regular basis? Do they access certain systems or technology? How do they use the physical workspace? What about their personal interactions–do they seem friendly and engaged when socializing?
Of course, all employees will have their own interpretation of your culture. Since employee experience is all about the individual, the only way you can discover what your employees really think, feel, and want is by getting in touch with your workforce.
Feedback is the foundation of your employee experience strategy
Feedback should ideally be collected throughout the employee life cycle, beginning with onboarding all the way through to when they leave the company. So rather than depending on an annual engagement survey for all your feedback, reach out to employees on a consistent basis using a variety of methods like one-one-one chats, company focus groups, and anonymous, more frequent pulse surveys.
As you gather feedback, you should keep in mind the different elements you observed when you analyzed your culture. Ask questions that directly tie back to those elements, such as:
- What do you need in your workspace to make your job function more smoothly?
- What are the biggest obstacles preventing you from accomplishing your daily goals?
- Do you have access to the right technology to get the information you need?
Concentrating on personalized questions will help you determine whether your culture is reflective of what employees expect from you as their employer. Once you begin to spot misaligned expectations, you’ll know where to focus your improvement efforts.
Measuring and acting on feedback
It’s important to remember that employee experience cannot be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s impossible to make changes that meet the needs of every single employee, especially when there are budgetary limits. But this doesn’t mean you have to lose the individual, employee-centric perspective to your strategy. Instead, look at overlaps in feedback and then drill down.
For instance, a larger portion of employees may have responded in your latest pulse survey with concerns about flexibility. By gathering a bit more information about what flexible work options would appeal to the most employees, you can craft an approach that’ll benefit the largest portion of employees.
One of the biggest indicators of positive employee experience is high engagement. Along with surveys focused on meeting and aligning culture to employee expectations, sending out short engagement pulse surveys will provide a means of gauging how your strategy is making improvements to the overall employee experience.
Keep the individual at the center of your employee experience strategy
Implementing changes and improving employee experience requires patience and determination. After all, change doesn’t happen overnight. You must invest time, commitment, and focus. By being transparent about the effort and time a new initiative requires, you’ll increase employee trust and keep expectations realistic.
When you make an investment in providing the best possible employee experience that you can, you demonstrate to employees that you don’t just see them as a means to an end, but instead, view them as individuals with their own unique needs, goals, and expectations. When employees know you care and are committed to their overall well-being, they’ll place the same care and commitment into their jobs.