The Shift from Employee Engagement to Employee Experience

There’s a new buzz around the employee experience, and for good reason. Here, we’ll dive into the shift from employee engagement to experience.

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In today’s talent-tight market, employee retention is critical for most businesses. Keeping existing employees happy and productive has been top-of-mind for some time, but it’s more important than ever in today’s market. Employee experience is trending as the newest mission for business and HR is making it a priority– and every company that wants to attract and retain talent should do the same.

What is employee experience?

Employee experience is the level of satisfaction on the path into and throughout your company. It begins at recruitment and continues through a staff member’s tenure. Every touch point a job seeker or employee has with the company, their coworkers, their management team, is an opportunity to enhance or diminish your brand.

Employee experience is the level of satisfaction on the path into and throughout your company.

Assuring those touch points are positive can net a productive workforce, an attractive destination for job searchers, and a stellar employee experience. We know happy people work harder. An environment where employee experience is positive results in a happy workforce that strives for the best in every endeavor.  

Why does it matter?

No business can hide dirty secrets in the internet age. Online reviews have moved past the customer stage: candidates willingly post negative comments when they believe they’ve been mistreated by employers. Unhappy staff members vent their concerns online anonymously on massive employer-rating sites or spread the bad word via a host of social media outlets.

The result can be a reputation management disaster that deters talent from applying with your company and spreads discord within. Experience directly translates into your company’s employer brand. A negative one can be devastating: a positive one can attract and retain.

What drives employee experience?

In addition to candidate/employee touchpoints, organizational culture can influence employee experience. A positive culture boosts staffer’s perspective of the company. Businesses that are socially conscious, for example, may be held in higher regard by their people because of the good work they do. Some offer company-wide activism or volunteer opportunities to staff: others offer PTO for staff members to pursue their own volunteer causes. These initiatives boost employee pride in the company, enhancing employee experience overall.  

Another factor in employee experience is appreciation: are staff members aware of how they participate in the overall company mission and vision? Are they often reminded of how invaluable each staff member’s efforts are to company success? Everyone appreciates being appreciated: reinforcing how each person’s contribution supports the mission and drives achievement can boost employee experience overall.

How does the employee experience differ from employee engagement?

Engagement is the level of effort and participation staff members put forth for the work they do. They are enthusiastic about the job they perform; do their best and look for ways to improve and innovate. Even the most engaged employee may not have a positive employee experience.

Even the most engaged employee may not have a positive employee experience.

An example might be a front-facing staff member that loves working with the public but isn’t satisfied with their company overall. While they may be engaged in the work they do, these employees are often looking for a job where they’ll be more appreciated and have a higher sense of pride in the company that employs them. Losing top talent like that can be devastating to the business and its bottom line.   

How do I gauge the employee experience at my company?

Gauging employee experience begins with a desire to know and an openness to hear what staff members have to say. Whether through survey instruments, focus groups or informal discussions, it’s important to get a baseline understanding of how your employees feel about the organization as a whole, their department, managers, even colleagues.

To uncover how well your business fares on employee experience, anonymous surveys are likely the best choice to begin. These provide staff members an opportunity to give candid information about how they perceive the company, the work, and the overall mission.

You may want to start by asking employees their views on existing issues – their experience as a candidate, being onboarded, how their duties are performed and evaluated, how teams collaborate, and management concerns. An overall rating of the company can also be beneficial. Ask how they perceive the company as an employer, its level of social responsibility, how core values are viewed and if they’re executed.

With a baseline of data, you can begin to correct problem areas, enhance initiatives that are positive and look for ways to expand and improve the employee experience.

What are the benefits of a positive employee experience?

Positive employee experience translates into plusses business-wide. Candidates want to apply at companies where staff members are happy and proud of the work they do and the business they do it for. Employees are less likely to leave a firm that appreciates them and makes sure their experience on the job is positive.

Employees are most company’s largest investment. Taking care they are happy is as critical as keeping an expensive piece of equipment properly cared for and maintained. A company that keeps a pulse on employee experience moves forward like a well-oiled machine.   

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