The Employee Experience
Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst and Founder and Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, gives his thoughts on the employee experience and its ability to add value to the overall business.
The understanding and optimisation of the employee experience has emerged as a key priority for HR and business leaders, but what do we mean when we talk about the employee experience?
The employee experience encapsulates the journey of an employee while at an organisation. It is an expansive view of the relationship between the individual and the company, taking each step within the employee’s lifecycle into account – recruitment, training and developing, and eventually exit. An employee-centric way of thinking about the organisation, it takes into account how an employee may hear, see, believe and feel about all aspects of their employment. All of these aspects become an important lever in impacting both the culture and performance of an organisation.
The employee experience encapsulates the journey of an employee while at an organisation.
Here are a few things I have discovered to help you get started when wanting to improve your employees’ experience, productivity, wellbeing and output:
- Start with the basics: look at the common “moments that matter” at work first, and flatten these issues completely. Onboarding, job changes, relocation, and all the little things can really bog people down if they’re difficult. Every company can look at these topics and map out better solutions.
- Design thinking: this really matters. It’s time for you to “empathise” with your employees, follow them around, survey and interview them, and sit down with them in workshops. They will tell you what bugs them at work, and you’ll hear all sorts of things that make work difficult.
- Partner with IT and Finance: none of these problems are HR’s alone. Bring finance and IT into the team, immediately, they are going to be part of the solution.
- Practice Co-creation: every solution you develop should be “co-created” with business people and leaders. There’s no way to improve the employee experience without employees being involved. We have to work with them to fix old and broken processes, design new systems, and make work easier. Job shadowing is a good practice to use.
- Look at new tools: the ERP and HCM platforms may not help as much as you think. Every client I met with in Europe told me that their HR systems project did not necessarily improve the employee experience. In some cases they did, but only if they looked at the platform project as an “employee experience project”.
- Practice process simplification: every “process harmonisation” project I uncover comes down to one thing. We have a tendency in business to make things too complicated. As your company grows, acquires, and changes, people keep tacking on new steps, approvals, and branches to everything.
- Segment the workforce: we can’t possibly fix every employee’s experience in every way at once, so we need to segment the workforce. After we take care of the basics, we can move into specific strategies for the workforces or personas that matter most.
It’s time for you to “empathise” with your employees
There’s no way to improve the employee experience without employees being involved. We have to work with them to fix old and broken processes, design new systems, and make work easier
Examples of what to do
Let me share a few things I have seen to help you get started:
- Avoid system projects without a focus. Several of the companies I have met with told me that they are implementing a new system because they have too many systems which are not integrated. And guess what. That new system is not going as well as they hoped. Why? They didn’t design the system around the employee experience, they designed it around the back-end. Employees want simplicity, ease of use, and a single place to go. You may not need a new system to accomplish this – an employee experience platform sitting in front of existing systems may be far easier.
- Create employee personas. One of the companies I met with created a set of personas that they now use to design solutions. They build these personas with help from the business unit and then mapped all the various HR transactions against the personas. Each persona had its own design session and they created a role called “innovation consultant” in the HR department to re0think the way things get done.
- Look at everything. Re-engineer your processes and save time, effort and money on simple things.
- Work on on-boarding. Work on a strategic on-boarding process that is no longer complex or incomplete.
- Engage the people analytics team. These problems are all about measurement. Where are people wasting time? How much effort is going into doing something? Where are people clicking and who are they emailing? If you have a good ONA tool, a good survey system, and a good set of instrumentation on your workforce, you’ll need the data. It is instrumental in gaining employee feedback. Data and analytics should always be a part of your plan.
The employee experience is becoming an essential topic in business today, and the practices and tools are now becoming much clearer. It is important that organisations become more aware of the impact of employee experience and the effects it can have on a business. Just remember, “the customer experience is dependent on the employee experience.” Every time we make our employees’ lives better, we better serve our customers as well.
Josh Bersin is a Global Industry Analyst and Founder and Dean of the Josh Bersin Academy
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