The experience employed corresponds to the career path of an employee throughout his or her career within a company. For a long time, companies have focused on customer experience, to optimize their journey and their relationship with the brand in order to achieve satisfaction and loyalty. In recent years, the principle of “symmetry of care” has been gaining ground, highlighting the fact that in order to optimize the relationship between a brand and its customers, it was necessary to invest equally in the relationship between the company and its employees. What are the factors triggered by the experience employed? How can this experience be reinforced?
Attracting candidates, especially talented ones
The “talent war” has been in full swing for several years now and it is crucial for a company to stand out in order to attract the best candidates. This attraction is due in particular to the company’s image, which, since the appearance of company rating sites (Glassdoor for example), has been all the more exposed. Employees or former employees can freely give their opinion on their employer. It is important to note here that a happy employee in his company will not necessarily leave his opinion, while a disappointed or dissatisfied employee will be more inclined to share his bad experience. Moreover, what better ambassador than an employee, satisfied with his company, spontaneously sharing his experience during a discussion or on social networks?
Loyalty: from newcomers to rising stars
Retention has also been a key issue for HR for the past 15 years or so. Gone are the days when newcomers projected themselves into the same company for their entire careers. The arrival of the “millenials” on the labor market has reshuffled the cards, this new generation swears only by the multiplicity of experiences, challenges and environments, considering mobility as an obvious factor in training and skills development. The key to avoiding routine! With this in mind, companies are multiplying their initiatives to retain their rising stars, but without necessarily succeeding. Nevertheless, offering a strong employee experience, in particular by allowing regular changes (promotions, increases, mobility, etc…), a diversity of tasks, by giving access to related activities, makes it possible to differentiate oneself, reduce turnover and therefore build loyalty. Employee satisfaction is therefore enhanced by improving the employee experience.
Create and strengthen a sense of belonging
Finally, working on the employee experience allows you to involve your employees by developing a sense of belonging. A good employee experience includes feeling recognized and appreciating your work, your daily life. This professional satisfaction is the source of a strong commitment, which leads to better productivity. The concept of engagement, or involvement, is also essential in talent management. According to Gallup, these Talents are the easiest to hire and the fastest to leave the company if they are disengaged (the average expectation is higher).
How to improve the employee experience?
Corporate culture: communication, recognition and balance
To benefit the experience of its employees, the company culture must be developed around three main axes: communication, recognition and work-life balance.
Communication here includes management feedback and listening skills. Indeed, today it is crucial to know how to listen to the feedback and ideas of your employees. This listening can lead to changes at different levels within the company that will benefit the greatest number of people. In order to simplify this listening and regularize it, the concept of continuous feedback is being developed. This last trend is growing, employees are eager to be able to share their feelings, successes and difficulties with management in order to establish a relationship of trust while strengthening collaboration.
The principle of continuous feedback also helps to strengthen employee recognition. Studies show that financial recognition is no longer enough, it must be diversified. This recognition includes regular feedback on employees’ successes, sharing efforts on a particular project or allowing teams to meet during events outside the professional framework (AfterWork, team buildings, travel, etc….).
Finally, taking into account the life balance of its employees is not necessarily obvious in a certain number of companies today, although it is nevertheless quite desirable, if not decisive for employees. On the one hand, they want to give meaning to what they do professionally on a daily basis and will become more involved in their missions if they meet their expectations. On the other hand, they also want to be able to develop personally, and therefore find a rhythm that allows for family life or personal projects. Strengthening the work-life balance is possible, in particular by introducing flexible working hours or places. One of the most widespread elements of this flexibility is teleworking, practiced by 5.2 million workers in France, allowing them to save travel time and vary their working environment.
The work environment: technology and environment
The work environment, the second pillar of employee experience, refers here mainly to the workplace and the tools available to employees.
The tools, the technology that the company equips itself with to enable its employees to work more efficiently, is a vector of employee satisfaction. Indeed, modern and appropriate equipment makes it possible to reduce low value-added tasks and thus to give employees the opportunity to devote themselves to more interesting and rewarding missions. It also means giving them the means to achieve their objectives without being slowed down by factors external to their missions and to simplify their daily lives.
Finally, the importance of the workplace for employees was recently analyzed by Olivier Chappert, Partner in the HR practice at Bearing-point in an article on the work environment of the future, highlighting how work-spaces can promote collaboration, efficiency and well-being at work and thus improve the employee experience.
Employee experience is a hot topic for human resources departments, particularly because it enables them to activate strategic tools to support HR policies. Nevertheless, it is important to note that wanting to work on the employee experience implies profound changes within a company: rethinking its culture and disseminating it to the company requires time and the involvement of many actors, going beyond the HR sphere, by involving management, whether local or strategic.
The employee experience is an essential factor in attracting, retaining and involving employees, but it is not enough, on its own, to improve them in a sustainable way. The ambition to “put employees back at the center of HR concerns” must be combined with a coherent set of concrete actions for the benefit of employees, through a redesign of the company culture, to be effective.