If you are starting to think that the term “employee experience” (or EX) is just another HR “buzzword”, you are not alone. There have been plenty of “hot topics of the month” being thrown around and from one trend to the next it can be hard to keep things straight. You may even think that employee engagement is the same as EX as the terms seem to be interchangeable. Employee engagement and employee experience are two very distinct (and important) components to your HR strategy.
Let’s take a very quick look at the difference between the two:
Employee Engagement is the output, or the result of the employee experience. It is usually a one time assessment (think yearly surveys) to measure employee commitment…..more or less. Think of it as a portion of the story from a slender slice of time.
Employee Experience is how employees perceive, interact, and function in all touchpoints of the employee lifecycle (from hire to employment end). In a nutshell, EX is what work life is really like on a day-to-day basis that will feed their engagement (pride, commitment, and advocacy of the business).
But it is so much more than an engagement score. EX is tied tightly with retention. Where an organization has a highly employee-centric approach they will generally see higher retention rates with much happier employees (which by the way ultimately improves the customer experience). When we think of EX and the employee journey, we should think of it with a start, a middle and an end. Through each touch point we should be asking questions related to how the decisions we make and the processes we implement enhance or distract from a positive response from our people. I tend to look at the timeline like this:
In order to assess how employees move through these phases you need to first understand what your processes are, what system you use and what actions you currently have in place. Then you can start asking the relevant question: “With every action/decision/process you make, or have, within your organization, how does it impact your employees?”
To help you get started here are a just few simple questions I use when I am working with organizations to help identify opportunities for meaningful change.
How does the candidate move through the recruitment and selection process? Is it a user-friendly application system or are there unnecessary barriers?
Is the selection/hiring process structured with relevant criteria? Are all hiring managers engaged and plugged into the appropriate or said values of the organization?
When a new employee starts employment, are we simply providing an “orientation,” or do we invest in actual on-boarding practices? What do we do to make sure a new employee feels like part of the team? Can they relate their job tasks to the overall goals of the department/organization? Do they have the necessary support system in place to promote learning and connection?
How often does the employee receive meaningful feedback on their performance? How is the information delivered to the employee? What actions do we have in place to ensure the employee has the necessary tools/equipment/knowledge to be successful?
Do our processes and systems support the physical and mental well-being of our employees? Do they feel supported, encouraged and part of a team?
How and where do we offer areas for professional growth?
Exit What system is in place when an employee decides to leave? How do we handle the exiting phase of employment (whether voluntary or involuntary)
Was their employment meaningful? Did they feel valued? Were they fairly treated?
In the end, organizations (small, medium, and large) should never under-estimate the value and power of the employee experience. Poor employee experiences at any point in the employee journey will often lead to disengagement, poor retention, lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and decreased quality of work, to name but a few. Encourage transparency with your employees and integrate their lived experiences into your decision making so you are working to enhance their overall journey.
Remember the best question to ask will always be: “With every action/decision/process you make, or have, within your organization, how does it impact your employees?”
Author: Tracy Brown
Tracy's background and focus in HR and Recruitment will provide impactful and meaningful insight to improve how organizations approach employee engagement, recruitment and retention.Her passion lies in connecting people processes with operational excellence to create true HR partnerships.
Tracy is also the proud owner of Tart, a recruitment agency located in Ontario, Canada.