This article was part of our annual Cosmic Conference series and this year our focus was all about (re)Designing the Employee Experience. From Sept. 28th - Oct. 21st, 2022 we explored all things EX. Check out all conference sessions and insights here.
Having an impactful employee experience has never been more important.
We know (re)designing your employee experience can seem like an exhaustive process, so we will help you get started. Below are 8 things you need to know about the employee experience.
1. EX encompasses every touchpoint an employee has with the organization.
Contrary to popular belief, the employee experience includes but is not limited to company culture and engagement. In reality, EX involves every touchpoint the employee experiences during their time in the organization: from onboarding to offboarding, from collaborating and using work tools to interacting with coworkers and managers.
That’s why (re)designing a great EX isn’t simply about culture, it’s about (re)designing work.
2. There is a gap between how leaders and employees perceive their company’s EX.
According to EY, 81% of employees believe that creating and sustaining a positive culture is important to good employee experience, but only 58% of HR managers agree. And while 80% of HR leaders think they’re successfully providing employees with the tech they need to succeed, half of employees find said technology difficult to use.
Also, according to Gartner, only 37% of employees find that their organization understands what they need in their personal lives and for their families.
It’s necessary for leaders to regularly (re)evaluate their performance in terms of providing the EX, to know what needs to be changed, improved, or added.
3. Flexibility at work, which increases employees’ well-being and happiness, is becoming an increasingly higher priority for employees over other benefits, such as pay.
More and more of EX initiatives relate to flexibility. In fact, Zapier’s Future of Work Report tells us that 91% of survey respondents believe remote and flexible work hours contribute to their happiness and well-being. And according to Nick Bloom’s Research, employees value hybrid and remote work accommodations around the same amount as an 8% pay increase.
Flexibility isn’t about where people work from, but making sure your processes, structure, and policies allow employees to be flexible in how they work.
4. Human Connections at work help employees feel more engaged, productive, and happy. It’s up to leaders to design an EX that enables these connections.
According to a study by OfficeVibe, 70% of employees say friends at work are extremely important to have a happy work life. 58% of people would refuse a higher-paying job if it meant not getting along with co-workers.
Human connection creates a sense of belonging and meaningfulness towards one’s organization, which in turn improves performance and happiness. Norms are learned from the top - it’s up to leaders to show employees that making friends at work is not only okay but encouraged, and to implement initiatives where those connections can bloom. That means, carving out time for people to chat about things at work, have fun together, learn about each other, etc.
5. An EX that does not include learning and personal growth pushes employees to leave.
Many studies show that employees increasingly value growth and learning, as 83% of Americans leave jobs they feel they cannot grow in. From peer mentoring to hiring external coaches, there are many ways leaders can implement learning in their organizations.
It’s important to both listen to your employees’ preferences and create avenues for them to learn on the job, as well as actively setting a growth path for them by clearly identifying the skills they need to acquire and helping them set a plan for how they will do that.
6. Newsletters are not internal comms. Listen to the preferences of your employees and experiment with internal comms channels, messages, and cadence.
According to GlobeNewsWire, almost 50% of professionals experience ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and burnout related to having too many video calls. And data from Buffer’s State of Work 2022 shows that 52% of people would prefer working in an async-first company, 14% do not, and 34% are unsure.
What works for one company in terms of internal comms might not for another. While some organizations thrive asynchronously, others require more real time communication.
There are two ways to get this right:
Surveying your employees internal comms preferences. If you’re looking for a template, download ours for free.
Evaluating your synchronous and asynchronous channels, and ensuring each channel has a clear and agreed upon purpose. Check out our Synchronous vs Asynchronous worksheet for free here.
7. Getting onboarding right can significantly boost the employee experience. Unfortunately, many companies get it wrong.
A standardized onboarding process improves new hire productivity by 62% and retention by 50%. However, only 12% of employees feel like their organization does a good job at onboarding. Onboarding allows employees to understand processes, access the information they need, and learn about the culture and how things are done.
A good onboarding process needs to be comprehensive, while also being simple enough for the employee to take it all in. Make sure all your processes, systems, and structures are clearly defined and explained, as well as your values, rituals, and anything related to your culture and purpose.
8. A great EX is a business necessity, not a nice to have.
Marilyn Zakhour, our CEO & Founder, said in her keynote about the (re)designing the EX that “Creating amazing employee experiences is not simply a way to fulfill a romanticized view of leadership, it’s about managing the performance of the organization”. That is because businesses revolve around two groups of people; customers and employees. Focusing on one while ignoring the other will undoubtedly negatively impact the company - and vice versa. In fact, companies with engaged employees have 89% higher customer satisfaction.
We hope this article helped you better understand the EX, and the many ways in which you can (re)design it in your organization. Remember, while a holistic approach is needed for a great EX, taking it one step at a time can slowly make a difference if you don’t have the time or resources for a full redesign.
If you're looking for more content about the employee experience, check out our 2022 Cosmic Conference website.