A competitive wage, great benefits, and plenty of leave time are often considered enough to keep an employee happy. But a great employee experience relies on more than just compensation.
Organizations also need to enable, empower, and entice their team to do their best work. This is where many managers and business leaders come up short. Read on to get some tools and processes to improve the employee experience.
Why creating a great employee experience is so challenging
Fostering great employee experiences is hard.
Firstly, it requires alignment and prioritization from the top — and getting buy-in from the C-Suite often competes with other priorities such as sales enablement, brand awareness, and compliance.
Secondly, creating great employee experiences requires time for training and reinforcement, and time is a limited resource.
Lastly, having the right tools and resources is critical. It’s often easier to justify investing in customer-facing tools and systems than in internal ones. This means many teams are often under-equipped and underperforming.
The benefits of creating a great employee experience
There are many ways that great employee experiences impact your business, including:
- Happier customers: A happy employee treats your customers better and goes the extra mile to retain their business.
- Better referrals: Delighted employees spread the word about your organization to their friends, families, and peers. This makes it easier to recruit top talent and service providers through employee referrals.
- More engagement: Happy employees are more active on your chat channels, social media posts, and in meetings and events. They are also more committed to your company and goals.
- Higher retention: A happy employee is less likely to jump ship. High employee retention boosts morale, productivity, revenue growth, culture, customer experience, training and development, and institutional memory.
This is why the employee experience is crucial to your long-term success.
The elements of a great employee experience
The factors that make up a great employee experience vary by industry, company, department, and role. That said, there are 5 common elements we will address here.
- Onboarding: First impressions are important, so ensure your employees start off on the right foot.
- Goals: Help your team set and accomplish goals to improve job satisfaction.
- Communication: Provide your team the right channels and training to work together effectively.
- Tools: Give your team modern tools and resources to perform at their best.
- Offboarding: Part ways amicably and use the opportunity to gather feedback to improve your employee experience.
Let’s go through each one in turn.
1. Nail your onboarding experience
Onboarding is where you establish trust and set the tone of the relationship with a new employee. It should start with clearly defined and well-communicated expectations.
Enablement and empowerment are key factors in creating a great onboarding experience. You need to provide the resources new hires need to do their job well. This means granting new employees access to product and service guides, training materials, and customer and region history logs.
Focus your training less on content memorization and more on using available resources to find answers. You don’t need a new employee to know how to process a refund, but you need them to know where to look for answers about the process.
Teaching your team how to use available resources to do their job helps create an empowered work culture. Check out our article on How to Improve the Employee Onboarding Experience and Reduce Time to Productivity.
2. Set and track goals
Your team members are working toward their own goals, whether that’s advancing up the corporate ladder or developing valuable skills.
The key is to give them company goals that align with their personal goals to maintain focus and engagement, influence their development, and set them up for success.
For example, if you have a sales rep on your team who wants to advance into sales management, they need to know the requirements for sales leadership. If they think great sales numbers are what’s needed, but you prioritize the ability to assist new team members, that might create a performance misalignment.
Tracking progress towards those goals is also key. For our hypothetical sales rep, this could mean tracking the amount of feedback provided to new team members or the number of training sessions delivered.
CRM (customer relationship management) software or BA (business analytics) software are invaluable to goal tracking. These tools can capture employee activity in real-time and turn that data into customized reports that provide detailed insights.
Many of these tools allow team members to track their activity so they can keep abreast of their progress and development.
3. Enable cross-team communication
Communication enables great employee experiences. Invest in the right tools and resources and develop guidelines for how you communicate.
A communication guide provides rules around the use of profanity or offensive language, off-limit topics, and similar issues. It should also include processes for providing feedback to fellow team members, escalating workplace issues, and communicating with customers.
Another helpful resource is a messaging matrix. This document details how you talk about your company, products, services, roles, mission, and values internally and externally. It also establishes in-house rules for things like capitalization and punctuation.
The next step is to provide the tools your employees will need to communicate. Chat software like Slack and video conferencing software like Zoom are must-have tools.
The challenge with implementing these tools is finding the balance between easy communication and unwanted distraction. With chat software, you can mitigate this by creating channels that address specific needs so your team only receives relevant notifications.
With video conferencing software, limit the number of meetings to just the essential ones. Ask yourself: would you still set that meeting if everyone had to attend in person?
4. Avail the right tools
The tools your team uses every day have a big impact on the employee experience. These tools should make each person’s job easier, not harder.
If they have to leave one program for another to complete a simple task, that’s added complexity. If it requires redundant work like re-entering data points or customer info, adoption will tank.
On the flip side, tools that automate tedious tasks like data entry get universally adopted and are loved by all.
As you assess the value of a tool, try to look beyond the ROI and examine the impact of a tool on employee happiness. Learn more about implementing tools that make the lives of your employees easier in our article on how to implement a CRM.
5. Leverage the offboarding experience
The offboarding process is the last chance you get to leave a good impression on an employee. There are many lessons you can learn here to help you create better employee experiences going forward.
Employee offboarding is about more than just deactivating accounts and returning equipment. It’s a chance to show a soon-to-be-former employee that you still value their feedback and want to improve.
Exit interviews are challenging enough, so provide a safe space for your employees to share their experiences with you.
How will you know your employees are happy?
To assess the quality of employee experiences at your company, track the following key metrics:
- Employee performance: Happy employees perform better. If your team is consistently hitting their targets and quotas, this could be a sign they are happy and motivated.
- Employee engagement metrics: Top engagement metrics include interaction on company chat channels and social media, low or no absenteeism, and willingness to go the extra mile or take on added responsibility.
- Retention rate: Happy employees stay with a company longer. If your employee turnover is low, that’s a good sign people are happy. A good result is a churn rate of less than 10%.
- Employee referrals: If your team is referring friends and colleagues to work or do business with your company, it means they trust the business. Few people want to put their reputation on the line (even for a referral bonus) unless they are sure their networks will get a great experience.
How a CRM helps you deliver better employee experiences
A CRM can impact every factor we discussed previously.
First, a CRM helps new employees onboard faster and easier, and can be used to help existing employees transition between regions, handoff accounts, and take on new roles.
Next, CRM software greatly aids collaboration. Team members can get context on client communications, products, and key accounts during key projects. A CRM is a centralized hub that your whole team can work from. You can integrate third-party tools with it to cut down on app-juggling and redundant work.
Additionally, CRM features like task alerts and reminders keep your team on track, and workflow technology can streamline complex processes that pass through several hands before completion.
Finally, CRM reporting features help you track your goals and metrics to improve performance.
The experience matters
The world of work is changing. More people are seeking jobs that go beyond financial compensation. Fostering an environment that supports great employee experiences gives you a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.