What it is:
The employee experience is the culmination of your employees’ many small experiences at your organization. It is greatly impacted by your company’s culture and contributes to building your company culture. Employee experiences are all the interactions your people have with your organization: their physical work environment, conversations with colleagues and leaders, emails, posters in the hallways, messages from senior leaders, and the tools, technology, and resources they use.
In the past, the employee experience was synonymous with the employee lifecycle. Companies interacted with employees when they hit various milestones in their lifecycle:
Today, research shows that the employee experience is more than just the generic, top-down, company-wide programs organizations use to try and engage their people. The employee experience is the everyday, micro-experiences that employees encounter. The fun Monday morning conversations with coworkers about their weekend, the beautiful space they work in, a great meeting with their leader, all contribute to a positive employee experience. Within micro-experiences there are some peak experiences, which are exceptional moments like receiving recognition from a coworker or leader or finishing up a major project successfully that meaningfully impact the employee experience.
Conversely, negative experiences, like a degrading comment from a leader, a lack of connection in a team, or not being able to get much-needed resources for a project can contribute to a poor employee experience. Valley experiences also exist, which are exceptionally bad moments in the employee experience.
The employee experience is important: 1 in 5 employees, especially Millennials, leave because of a poor employee experience. Deloitte found 84% of employees and leaders rated the employee experience important, with 28% putting it in their three most urgent issues facing their organization today.
When organizations remember that the employee experience is the everyday experience, they remember that employees are people with human needs and create a more human experience that focuses on daily interactions instead of just onboarding and retirement.
Leaders play a critical role in determining what the employee experience will be—they set the tone for the organization and are responsible for the environment employees work in and most of the interactions employees have. They relay the messages from the organization and build the connections with their people.
How it impacts culture:
Company culture and the employee experience are intrinsically connected. They work synergistically. Culture affects the employee experience, but the employee experience also builds culture.
Employees in thriving workplace cultures rate their employee experience higher:
And companies with great employee experiences are:
• 6X more likely to have promoters on the net promoter scale
• 8X more likely to have high incidence of great work
• 13X more likely to have highly engaged employees
• 3X less likely to have layoffs
• 2X more likely to have increased in revenue
• 3X less likely to have employees experiencing medium to severe burnout
• 7X more likely to have employees innovating
The importance of an employee’s micro-experiences cannot be emphasized enough. If you want to build a thriving workplace culture, create great employee micro-experiences.
How to do it well:
Rather than trying to implement company-wide HR programs from the top down, design, with intention, an employee experience focused on micro-experiences that impact your employees every day:
1) Create peak experiences rather than trying to fix negative ones. It will be easier to create amazing everyday moments and it will be more impactful on the overall employee experience, as peak experiences have a longer lasting impact than just mediocre or negative experiences.
2) Rethink leadership. The traditional, hierarchical leadership style isn’t working anymore. Leaders must take a more mentoring approach with their people. Things like one-to-one conversations with team members strengthen connection better than micro-managing.
3) Build teams where employees feel included, supported, and psychologically safe.
4) Actively listen to understand your people–not just to check the box–and make changes based on that feedback.
Read more about the latest research and best practices for creating a great employee experience.
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