Your employee experience is critical in today’s competitive talent landscape. Great talent has many opportunities available to them, and can easily search the internet to learn what it’s like to work elsewhere. They also have many tools at their disposal to share their experiences with others, which can have a strong impact on your ability to recruit new talent. If you want to attract and retain the talent your company needs to be successful, it’s time to get serious about your employee experience strategy.
Here are six things you should consider if you’re just starting out, or planning to revamp your strategy:
1. A strong candidate experience
Every employee is a candidate first, and their experience is shaped by their very first interaction with your organization. Consider each step of the candidate experience, from their first career site visit and application process to your candidate communications and interview process. Iron out any kinks that you may find to ensure that you’re not only converting candidates into applicants but that you’re setting the stage for a positive long-term relationship with them.
Your candidate experience needs to be fully aligned with your employee experience to make a positive impression from the beginning.
2. World-class employee onboarding
Employee onboarding bridges the gap between the candidate experience and the employee experience. A thoughtful handoff is crucial to reinforcing the candidate’s decision to join your company and should begin with a welcome email and employee preboarding. It should then continue with a phenomenal first day and an onboarding program that guides new hires through their first 90 days. Things like goal setting, regular manager check-ins, and early learning and development opportunities are important to the early employee experience.
A world-class employee onboarding program will help your new hires assimilate and acclimate to their new role and company, so they can go on to become happy, engaged, and productive employees.
3. Regular communication
Regular communication should begin during employee onboarding and extend throughout the employee lifecycle. It’s important to clearly communicate goals and expectations during the onboarding process, and provide frequent feedback on progress during manager one-on-ones.
Employee recognition is also a key component of great employee communication, but only 45 percent of employees are completely satisfied with the amount of recognition they receive. Learn how each employee likes to be recognized, whether that’s public, company-wide recognition, or a handwritten note with a small token of appreciation.
4. Career pathing and development opportunities
Career pathing should also be done early in the employee lifecycle so people can see a future at your organization and work toward it. Consider your employee’s career goals, as well as your organization’s succession planning needs.
Once you and your employees are aligned on their current goals and future growth opportunities, build an employee development plan to ensure their success. Opportunities may include things like courses and certifications to help educate your employees, as well as stretch assignments and special projects to expand their work experience. It can also be helpful to provide things like job shadowing, or even a formal mentorship, to provide additional support.
5. A thoughtful compensation package
Compensation and benefits are often listed among the top reasons employees resign, which is a telling sign they may not be doing enough to strengthen the employee experience. It’s not necessarily about offering the highest salary, or the most benefits; because employees may choose to take or leave an opportunity for any number of reasons.
The most important thing is that you show your employees you care about them, and their future at your organization. When you offer development opportunities and promotions, reward your employees with a higher salary to match their new level of responsibility and impact. Even if you can’t afford a salary increase right away, communicate that with your employee and let them know they’re appreciated.
There are also many low- or no-cost ways to beef up your compensation package, including work from home or flex hour benefits. These can make a big difference in an employee’s experience with your organization.
6. Respectful employee offboarding
While high turnover rates can be costly and problematic, some turnover is expected—and even beneficial. Your employee will have the opportunity to learn and grow from another organization, and your team will have the opportunity to be infused with fresh ideas and insights from a new hire. If you approach your employee offboarding process with grace and respect, you may even be able to re-hire your alumni at a later date.
Congratulate your departing employee on their new role, and try to learn what it offered that your organization could not. Employee feedback at this stage can help you improve your employee experience and retention rates, and learn what it might take to get the employee back in the future.
Final thoughts on employee experience strategies
Executing on this strategy is a significant time investment, and would be overwhelming for any organization to tackle all at once. Instead, utilize your data to prioritize the areas that could make the most significant impact. Common HR metrics like candidate conversion rates and employee turnover rates are important to track but don’t tell the whole story. Add in qualitative data you hear from candidates, employees, and managers, as well as survey data to dig in deeper.
For instance, you may learn that you have a high 90-day turnover rate. This could be due to any number of factors: a poor onboarding process, lack of manager feedback, or even a more competitive offer that came through later. Regular surveys—from candidate experience and onboarding surveys, to pulse, engagement, and exit surveys—can pinpoint where to focus your employee experience strategy short- and long-term.