What is Employee Experience?
The term “employee experience” refers to the amalgam of factors that determine what it’s like to work for and at a company. These include:
- Company culture
- The extent to which collaboration is enabled
- The extent to which creativity is encouraged
- How supportive and approachable are the company’s leaders
- As well as the comfort, convenience, and customizability of the company’s physical and digital environments.
If the term “customer experience” refers to any/all experiences a client or user might have with a company or its products, employee experience encompasses the totality of an employee’s experience with a company or its environment.
Improving the employee experience is also simply a smart investment. According to a study conducted by IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute, organizations that score in the top 25 percent of employee experience surveys “report nearly three times ROA compared to organizations in the bottom quartile.” Jacob Morgan—author of The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture they Can Celebrate—has found that experientially sophisticated organizations “have four times higher average profits, two times higher average revenues, 40 percent lower turnover.” According to MIT, meanwhile, organizations that inculcate and sustain “a great employee experience” prove “more innovative and profitable, and report higher levels of customer satisfaction” than organizations that don’t.
But what exactly does that look like? Here’s where to start.
1. Prioritizing and increasing employee engagement
Employee engagement—or the extent to which employees feel motivated, intrigued, and intellectually stimulated at work—is an important facet of the employee experience. According to Gallup, only 13% of employees feel engaged in their jobs. Unengaged employees tend to be less productive, innovative, and inspired. It’s crucial operations teams work to reverse this trend. (Gallup also reports that employees who feel engaged at work generate 21% higher profits for their companies. )
- What does “good” look like? 95% of employees reporting feeling engaged in their work in company surveys; 100% of employees reporting feeling inspired by the company mission in company surveys; 95% of employees reporting feeling like they’re enabled to focus on the work they were hired to focus on in company surveys; > 8 employee NPS; high internal promotion rate
- What do you need to achieve that? An automated process for fielding feedback from employees regarding their experience at work; systems for implementing that feedback; systems in place for educating employees on and familiarizing them with company mission and values; no-code automation platforms that can be used to create work experiences that empower employees to spend more time focusing on work they want to be focusing on, rather than menial, custodial tasks, such as repetitive data entry or tedious follow ups
Dive deeper: improving employee engagement is a multifaceted endeavor. It requires ensuring employees feel some kind of connection with the company mission and its values. It also means ensuring that employees feel intellectually engaged at work, empowered to work on things that interest them and that they feel are important to the company mission. To this end, creating processes that automate for employees elements of their work that are not interesting and that they were not really hired to do is crucial. Your operations, in this sense, should be designed to empower. With empowerment comes engagement. Which brings us to…
2. Cultivating empowering digital experiences
Operational complexity, or processes predicated on siloed technology environments that foist upon employees lots of manual work, context switching, and redundancy (having to update several different systems with the same data, or search different systems to find data), cultivate a negative experience. Operations teams must create the opposite kind of digital experience: one that empowers employees to do more.
- What does “good” look like? 100% of employees reporting they have the tools they need to do their jobs well; 100% of employees empowered to operate predominantly within their system or tools of choice; an integrated technology stack that enables employees to update auxiliary systems from within their system or tool of choice; 100% of employees empowered to operate in a true agile fashion.
- What do you need to achieve that? No-code automation platforms that can be used to automate menial, repetitive tasks and that nontechnical domain experts can manage themselves, so that they’re not fundamentally dependent on developers; process orchestration capabilities that enable operations teams to meet employees where they are, and that cut down on the need for change management
Dive Deeper:To cultivate a more productive, enjoyable, and empowering digital experience, organizations must find a way to make better use of the tools their employees already like using. Teams should have access to tools and support tailored to their unique needs and contexts, and not be forced to constantly learn how to use new tools and systems tangential to their work. (It’s unproductive for members of the legal team, for example, to be forced to change their behavior and learn how to use a new intake system.) Rather, employees should be enabled to interact with centralized, cross-functional systems from within their tool or environment of choice. So, too, should automation be used to cut down on the amount of menial, repetitive work employees are forced to conduct. And no-code interfaces should be used to ensure nontechnical employees are able to iterate on internal solutions and processes without remaining fundamentally dependent on developers—which is unpleasant and unproductive. No-code automation, in this sense, should be used to enable all employees to operate in a true agile fashion. Your technology, in other words, should put your people first.
3. Fostering a transparent, supportive, and comfortable company culture
Your company’s culture goes a long way towards determining what kind of employee experience your company provides. What does it feel like inside your office? How accommodating are the digital and physical spaces? To what extent is collaboration encouraged? How transparent is the company? How supportive and approachable are managers and company leaders? All this matters, and tells you much about how enjoyable and empowering employees find your company culture.
- What does “good” look like? 95% employee sentiment scores in company-wide surveys of company culture; 90% attendance at company-wide events such as social functions; 95% positive reviews of managerial support and comportment in employee reviews; 100% awareness among employees of company values; transparency into company priorities, goals, and initiatives facilitated by leadership
- What do you need to achieve that? Automated processes for collecting and assessing employee sentiment data; systems for implementing changes aimed at improving company culture and iterating on them over time; centralized documentation detailing all company values and goals; means of transparently sharing updates from management and company leadership; systems for fielding feedback on managerial behavior and seeking constantly to help company leaders improve
Dive deeper: Improving company culture does not mean showering employees with perks. It means cultivating an environment in which employees feel valued, respected, and empowered. It means creating systems through which employees feel comfortable sharing feedback and asking—and via which process designers, managers, and company leaders can be relied upon to act on that feedback and make positive changes. That last point is important. Company culture often stems from company leadership. A Gallup study found that at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is driven by who the boss is. Organizations must choose what kind of culture they want to optimize for, and create systems to help company leaders move the organization in that direction. This comes down to creating processes designed for assessment, feedback, coaching, and iteration.
4. Providing an efficient, effective, and enjoyable onboarding experience
Employee experience starts in earnest on an employee’s first day. Providing an orderly, efficient, logical, and ultimately enjoyable onboarding experience goes a long way towards setting up employees for success—and for making a good first impression. Losing employees is also expensive. Employer turnover statistics show that every time a salaried employee is replaced, it costs the company, on average, the equivalent of six to nine months of paid salary. Good onboarding goes a long way towards ensuring employees enjoy a solid foundation atop of which they can build a long career at your organization.
- What does “good” look like? < 25% sales rep turnover annually; < 8% employee turnover overall; < 3 years avg. tenure for sales employees; < 5 years avg. tenure for employees overall; 95% reported onboarding satisfaction in employee surveys; < 5 months time-to-productivity for new hires
- What do you need to achieve that? Easier and more effective knowledge management systems; automated onboarding processes that minimize context switching and meet employees “where they are”
Dive deeper: how do you onboard employees faster and more effectively? One way includes improving processes related to knowledge management, which refers to the variety of methods related to creating and sharing the knowledge and information of an organization. Another is utilizing automation and process orchestration technology to minimize the extent to which new employees have to go fishing through systems they’re unfamiliar with to find key bits of information. The more efficient your onboarding process, the faster employees’ average time-to-productivity.
If you’re ready to learn more about how no-code automation, AI, and process experience software can help Ops level up, sign up for a Tonkean trial.
Glossary of terms
- ROA – Return on assets
- ROS – Return on sales
- Time-to-productivity – How long it takes new employees to become productive
- NPS – Net promoter score
- Context-switching – The experience of having to shift from one unrelated task to another