Employee experience has been one of the emerging HR trends of the last few years. It is principally concerned with the experiences that employees have throughout their working day.
And good experiences make for good employees. According to research carried out by the Social Market Foundation, happy employees are 20% more productive at work.
So, what makes a good employee experience, and what tools can be used to improve engagement and enthusiasm?
What is Employee Experience Design?
Employee experience design can be broken down into three essential environments: cultural, physical, and technological.
A company’s culture can be defined as how employees ‘feel’ at work. It can be attributed to aspects like decision-making, company structure, career progression, and benefits. Traditionally, employee experience has been focused on company culture, but today’s increasing trend suggests that good employee experience requires more than a positive culture alone.
The physical environment relates to everything that employees experience with their five senses. It includes everything from the layout of desks and the height of chairs, to the locations of meeting rooms and break-out areas. The physical environment can have a significant impact on people’s health, wellbeing, performance and productivity.
The technological elements of a company are concerned with employees having the tools they need to do their job well. Technology will continue to influence employee experience into the foreseeable future, particularly given the rise of flexible working in the UK.
The following video from economic consultancy North Highland, provides an additional overview of what constitutes employee experience:
Why Employee Experience Matters
Companies with a good employee experience design perform better than their peers. According to statistics reported by business analysts Gallup, a highly engaged workforce can outperform its competitors by 147% in earnings per share.
When employees feel happy at work, they’re less likely to take sick days, and experience better health and wellbeing. According to Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, unhappy employees take an extra 15 days sick leave per year. Good employee experience can help reduce workplace absenteeism, thus saving companies more money.
And healthy, happy employees mean less staff turnover. According to figures cited by the Telegraph, the average cost of replacing a staff member is £30,614. Employees who feel that they have a future with a company and believe that their work is valued, are more likely to demonstrate loyalty.
Tools to Improve the Employee Experience
Given the impact that employee experience design can have on a company’s revenue, it pays for companies to invest in the type of tools that will improve employee happiness. At CWJobs, we recommend five essential tools to promote engagement and enthusiasm:
– Mapping the employee journey
When an employer understands the typical journeys of its employees, it can better create the type of working environment that makes people happy. Employee journey maps are a great way to understand how employees progress through a company, and to identify the points at which they tend to leave.
By having an insight into people’s typical working days, employers can identify ways to make their working lives more comfortable.
– Analysing employee analytics
Gathering productivity data on a workforce can help companies make necessary adjustments that lead to improvements. Having access to information like clock-in times, and productivity rates throughout the day can help solve underlying issues with employee experience.
And from a bigger picture perspective, employee data can help companies identify which months are their most (and least) productive. With this type of insight, employers can identify ways to improve productivity during those periods where it’s needed the most.
– Creating employee personalities
Much like customer personas, mapping out employee personalities can bring a human element to the process of employee design. By seeing a company from the perspective of its individuals, employers can get a better sense of what their staff might need to be happier at work.
Every individual has their own preferences for how they work and even the smallest of changes to their working day can improve their overall experience of being in work.
– Designing environments
Design-focused thinking in the workplace isn’t restricted to physical layout. Although the physical set-up of a working environment undoubtedly influences an employee’s experience, so does processes and workflows. Addressing how employees are onboarded to new roles, how performance reviews are conducted, and even how employees apply for annual leave can affect what workers feel about a company.
– Communicating data
The way in which data is communicated can affect how it’s actioned. In most cases, numbers alone aren’t enough to affect change in an organisation. People need context in order to fully understand and get on board with data-based suggestions. Storytelling can be a powerful way of engaging employees, as can case studies and real-world examples. The more ‘human’ data is, the better it’s received.