How to measure and improve your employee experience

Employee satisfaction barometer
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What defines and differentiates your company's employee experience? Knowing how to engage your existing staff and attract new ones is vital when creating an environment people are proud to be part of.

Every organisation has a unique employee experience, and to improve this means rethinking more than just tools and processes. It’s important to consider the entire employee journey, from interview to exit. 

That said, every employee’s experience is unique. They are often influenced by the attitude to managerial control, the level of trust between employee and employer, the competitor landscape and even the business’s sector. 

Why now?

Why is employee experience so important in 2019? Well, we’re now seeing staff who are far less likely to put up with an experience that doesn’t suit them. More people are taking second jobs or starting their own ‘side hustle’. 

These side hustles are providing staff with an easy way out of their 9-5. And it’s not a small market either. In fact, the BBC found that a quarter of UK adults run at least one side hustle business and the average side hustle makes about 20% of an employee’s annual income, collectively contributing an estimated £72 billion to the UK economy.

Companies need to improve their employee experience to better retain staff and keep staff happy in their place of work.

With engagement scores either slowing or declining and happiness at work falling to new lows, the industry is at a crossroads. There’s been a massive shift in the power that employees hold, and fewer people believe they ‘need’ their day job to pay the bills. There’s more searching around and less desire to put up with what’s being offered. 

Essentially, companies need to improve their employee experience to better retain staff and keep staff happy in their place of work.

Best practice model

Personal Group have found the best method for reviewing an employee experience is by utilising the Tell, Show, Grow, Evolve model.

This method can’t be used to determine whether an employee experience is negative or positive, instead it helps define the stage in which the employee experience currently lies. 

Tell approach: rigid measures for success

Employees are told as they join the business of the company’s values and instructed that they will believe them. If they don’t like it, then tough, this is what the company believes. 

Parts of the armed forces would be a perfect example of an organisation with this approach. Using the ‘Tell’ approach isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some business work most effectively in the Tell phase, and progression beyond that phase may negatively impact overall organisational performance.

Show approach: more flexibility

A company defines their own values and show its employees how it should feel to work there. Often they reward employees who demonstrate these same values in their behaviour.

Grow approach: ask questions

A company would ask how employees feel about working there and ask how the employee experience could be improved. This method relies on employee feedback to make impactful and meaningful changes.

Evolve approach: employee-led & facilitated by employer

Employees shape and evolve the company’s reason for being and they define what it means to work there. These organisations give employees the freedom to move the organisation in the direction it needs to go and trusts them enough to follow their lead. 

Compatibility

Identifying the stage of your employee experience is only half of the battle, to make the experience work as well as possible your employees must thrive in that organisational design, sharing the same desires, needs and wants.

If an employee’s preferences and behaviour are incompatible with the employee experience you have designed, there will be a reduction in productivity, retention and overall staff engagement. 

If the employee profile and employee experience are incompatible, employers must choose between: focusing their efforts on retaining the current employee base (by changing the experience to suit them; or attracting new employees (to suit the current experience).

To make the experience work as well as possible your employees must thrive in that organisational design, sharing the same desires, needs and wants.

The former requires the employer to rethink their current employee experience and evaluate the needs and desires of their existing employees, creating the experience in which they can thrive.

The latter moves the focus to the employees themselves and requires the employer to rethink their current recruitment strategy, the way in which jobs are advertised and the interview process in order to attract the right recruits who will thrive in the employee experience you currently have. 

Long-term approach for success

Crafting and maintaining an employee experience that is compatible with the workforce, while positively contributing to your organisational goals, requires continuous attention. 

Measurements must be taken regularly and employers must regularly reassess their employee pool to consider what type of experience best suits their needs.

In short, while there is no one size fits all when it comes to the employee experience, your current experience can be boiled down to four distinct stages. The challenge is to ensure that the employee experience and employee population are compatible.

About Wendy Melville

Wendy Melville

So a little bit about me, my name is Wendy Melville and I am Head of Marketing at Personal Group.

Personal Group is a leading UK provider of employee services, including employee benefits, reward, communication and wellbeing products. We help UK businesses improve productivity through better engagement with their employees using our simple and easy to use employee engagement platform and app.

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