Attracting talent is always tricky. But in the current hiring environment, retaining the talent you have has gotten more complex than ever. And without substantial raises, organizations are putting more resources toward cultivating the employee experience. But what exactly is the employee experience?
The employee experience
We’ve written about how culture can be key when it comes to recruiting. But what about the ways that culture aligns with your employees’ day-to-day experience in the workplace?
Maybe you work in an office, a busy retail environment, or a campus that includes warehousing, offices, and a retail spaces. No matter what your workplace looks like, your culture is all around you.
Some organizations define their culture as “fun,” or “creative, or even “work hard/play hard.” They know that culture is always present and alive in the background of the work day. And ideally, it’s something that your employees actively embody and contribute to.
The employee experience can be a reflection of that culture. It can also influence the culture, and the way your company performs.
For instance, recent research shows a strong link between employee and the customer experiences:
- Companies with a strong customer experience demonstrate a more engaged workforce, and vice versa.
- Customers view some companies in a positive light on account of the reputation of their employer brand.
- And companies that invest in their employee experience tend to be more profitable.
What can you focus on when you explore your company’s employee experience? We’ll take a look at three guiding concepts below.
Keeping your workers engaged is something that businesses cannot overlook, especially if retention is an issue. And when wage growth is slow, it’s vital to focus on employee engagement. Download our recent Spotlight, “Wage Stagnation,” for insights into the current wage trend, and steps that can help improve retention.
Engaging with your workforce
The employee experience—be it positive or negative—can be the tipping point when it comes to job seekers choosing or passing on your company. That’s because plenty of them look at your culture and employer brand before they even start a job application.
- Workers routinely share reviews of past and current employers on job search sites.
- These same workers will also share their opinions via social media.
- Job seekers take these reviews to heart when deciding whether or not to apply for a job.
As you consider whether or not your company is doing everything it can to engage with your employees, and foster a positive employee experience, here are three things to keep in mind:
1. The employee experience is not just an “HR thing”
The employee experience cycles through every department in your organization. Therefore, the burden of building, fostering, or even “fixing” the employee experience does not rest solely on HR’s shoulders.
HR can research and recommend options like flexible work schedules, or new work space solutions. You can even work hand-in-hand with leadership to implement changes. But in the end, each department will have different needs.
It might be okay for members of certain departments to work remotely, or take advantage of flex time on a regular basis. But what about other work groups that need to work together on a consistent basis, or positions that absolutely have to be onsite on time?
Like so much else in business, focusing on the employee experience isn’t about throwing out blanket options, but working as closely as possible with managers and employee groups to uncover and launch specific changes, updates, and nuances where necessary.
2. Not all employees want the same things they wanted in the past
For plenty of employees and job seekers, the idea of working at one company for 20 or more years is a thing of the past. Many of these workers define their employment in more fluid terms than ever before:
- A survey by the Freelancers Union suggests that more people than ever are working as freelancers. In fact, 55 million people—35% of the nation’s workforce—consider themselves freelancers.
- One-third of millennial workers identify as independent contractors.
- The recent Intuit 2020 report suggests that 40% of the nation’s workforce will be freelance within three years.
In the minds of many of these workers, stability and comfort are less important than flexibility, and being able to apply an entrepreneurial spirit in their work. Whether or not your current workers are freelancers in waiting or not, consider ways you can make things more flexible.
It could involve making flex work options available. But it could also look like a company-wide tech upgrade that improves internal communications, so different departments have an easier time collaborating.
3. Employees care about perks and benefits
Company culture, and employee experience, is wrapped up in nearly every facet of the work day. That includes employee perks and benefits.
Employer-sponsored benefits, starting with health plans, make up a larger share of compensation than in recent years. Part of this has to do with rising health insurance costs. As employers direct more money toward benefits, there’s less money available for raises.
At the same time, benefits can be the key to keeping your people happy. Conversely, they can turn your workers into passive job seekers.
When your benefits align with your overall strategy, mission, and values and more, this can help foster a new level of commitment from your employees.
Many organizations are offering new types of benefits to help employees overcome debt, save money on wellness, and even access paid leave when they’re starting a family. Some even provide voluntary health benefits for their part-time and contract workers.
One way to strengthen the link between benefits and the employee experience is to reinforce positive messages about the benefits you offer.
- You can’t force employees to use their benefits. But your leaders can help employees gain a better sense of what’s available to them.
- The way you communicate your benefits picture can demonstrate how much the company cares about employees staying healthy.
Wages aren’t the only thing that make employees happy. As you consider ways to engage with your workforce, find ways to give them more positives to think about before they open a job app and scan for new opportunities.
Retention starts by making the right hire. myStaffingPro’s applicant tracking software can help keep you organized throughout the hiring experience, all the way through the first days of the employee’s journey. Contact one of our representatives today, and find out how we can help you get more out of the hiring process.