We talked about the experience economy in our previous blog and why the employee experience is so important. To create the optimum employee experience, it is first necessary to understand where the areas of friction are. Only then can a positive experience be designed that will increase productivity, improve retention rates, and enhance brand reputation.
The McKinsey report, The Future of Work after Covid, says that “workers are hungry for trust, social cohesion, and purpose. They want to feel that their contributions are recognized and that their team is truly collaborative. They desire clear responsibilities and opportunities to learn and grow. They expect their personal sense of purpose to align with that of their organization. And they want an appropriate physical and digital environment that gives them the flexibility to achieve that elusive work–life balance”.
Here we’ll look at the factors impacting the employee experience as well as how companies can offer the appropriate support.
The workplace has changed, and employers need to change with it
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changed working practices, and they are here to stay. Working from home and hybrid working is becoming an expectation for many workers in companies where the work offers that possibility. It has also precipitated the so-called “Great Resignation”, with record numbers of people leaving their jobs as they reassess their work-life balance and their future prospects. Many have left because the employee experience their job offered was not in line with their values or the way they wished to live their lives. If you’re concerned about losing talent from your organisation, check out four of the key factors below that might be the root cause of your attrition problem.
Four Factors that impact the employee experience:
Trust and safety in the workplace An employee who feels trusted by their employer, and, in turn trusts them, is more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to the company. They are therefore more invested in their employment and more likely to be positive about the brand and its values. This also means they are likely to stay longer in their job. For companies, increasing retention rates is particularly important, especially currently: as we learnt in our previous blog, “the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary”. Safety is important on both a literal and metaphorical level. Obviously, a safe working environment is both a legal and moral requirement, but an environment where an employee feels mentally safe is also important.
A meaningful, positive work environment People typically spend more time at work than anywhere else, and they want to feel a sense of purpose and a degree of comfort. Employees want to be in a meaningful and positive working environment and people need to be fully engaged in their employment to be properly productive. With this in mind, company culture is key; Managers should encourage honest dialogue and offer helpful, truthful feedback that enables an employee to grow and learn, rather than fear censure or feel unvalued. The relevant support networks need to be made available and clear boundaries should be respected between work and home life. Mental health support should be made a priority and clear pathways indicated for all so those who need access to help are not discouraged from seeking it. In addition to this, line managers should be appropriately trained. After the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted mental issues, particularly in toxic, difficult, or meaningless working environments, people who were spending their working hours in these environments are now actively looking for alternative employment.
Effective and appropriate technology and tools The sudden switch to working from home with the global lockdowns was a difficult one for many companies. Without the right technology, working environment, or support many people found it incredibly difficult. Many were trying to do their jobs while looking after and teaching children. They may not have had a dedicated workspace, a good enough internet connection or adequate equipment. Processes may have been complicated and laborious. Many felt isolated and as if they had been left to ‘get on with it’ without the support the office environment offered. Companies need to streamline their technology and processes, as well as making sure that employees have the right training, tools, and office equipment to ensure that conditions for working from home are optimum.
Clear pathways to progression Employees need to know how and when they are likely to progress, and leaders need to be clear on how performance will be managed. A defined and understood means of progressing will create goals and allow employees to envisage their future at a company. They should have access to all the learning necessary to develop their skills and that provide opportunities to grow and develop, ultimately encouraging them to stay, rather than seeking out better opportunities elsewhere.
The employee experience encompasses all aspects and interactions an employee has with their company. What makes this so challenging for employers, is that it only needs one aspect to be wrong for an employee to feel that they are undervalued by their employer.
Utilising the principles and tools of service design can enable companies to create a working environment and employee experience that is beneficial to both the organisation and the employee.
In our next blog in the Employee Experience series, we will be looking at exactly how service design is key to uncovering opportunities to create a world class employee experience.
If you think your company could benefit from the service design process to improve your employee experience, select a time and date below to book an initial call with a service design expert.
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