Just like the effort needed to change a solid to a liquid, and then a liquid to a gas, changing a prospect into a new starter, a new starter to an employee, and an employee into a highly skilled advocate requires significant investment and energy.
Your employees are no longer simply a business resource; they are consumers of your workplace. They make decisions at every part of their journey with you. They look for meaning in their work, a supportive, collaborative environment and a business that can offer the kind of lifestyle they want to enjoy.
Optimising the employee experience is now a strategic business priority
Right from the very start of the attraction process, they build a picture of your employer brand; drawing from personal experience, their contemporaries, social media and sites like Glassdoor. They look to get ideas of what it might be like to work for your organisation, such as opportunities for promotion, flexible working practices, employee benefits and remuneration. But, they’re not only swayed by what you say – they want to know what your employees and customers really think.
Ensuring that your employee proposition clearly demonstrates the kind of culture that will attract top talent across all your channels is key. At the same time, it’s important that what you convey is an authentic reflection of your organisation and the employee experience of your existing staff.
It is important to:
- Align your organisational purpose, brand proposition and culture to your employee experience to attract and retain high-quality talent.
- Focus on the stages of the employee lifecycle (diagram 1) and identify what is needed to support each stage.
In the early stages of employment, employees move from a solid to a liquid state, one in which you’re able to mould them, guide them on their journey, help them mix with other employees and become part of the team. They need:
- An environment that is nurturing, one that supports their wellbeing.
- An appropriate physical workspace (lighting, temperature, ergonomics, ambiance) that gives them the freedom to work privately or collaborative, depending on the task at hand.
- To be placed in a collaborative team with people they will grow to respect and trust, and whom they can learn with, and win with in the future.
- A great manager who is clear about their role sets realistic goals and helps them to see their current value and future with your organisation.
Research shows that, currently, 63% of employees believe it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they could find a job as good as the one they have. And 51% of current, employed workers say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. In fact, the number one reason people change jobs today is “career growth opportunities”.
The last thing you want an employee to do is stagnate. But unfortunately, far too many employees’ basic needs are not met. They need to see a path forward in your organisation. Just like a customer, one negative experience can create problems throughout their journey. It can mean that an employee is less likely to recommend your organisation to other highly talented individuals. It can influence how they interact with other members of their team and how they perform. And it can sometimes bring your relationship with them to an abrupt end.
The average cost of replacing an employee in the UK is up to £11,000, without considering an individual’s salary.
The exit itself is also compounded by the impact that it can have on their colleagues. If they don’t feel they are being heard and appreciated the exit of a colleague can be just the pill they need to make their next move.
When employees have their basic needs met, they can focus on task performance with exceptional results. Engaged employees are truly present physically, emotionally and cognitively. As they grow and become more independent, they move to a gas like state. They find ways to improve, excel and
generate the most creativity and excellence in your organisation. It’s important that you give them room to grow and evolve, combined with just the right level of structure and support to keep them engaged and on track.
Your managers are key to ensuring that the employee experience is effectively delivered. Their own employee experience shapes the way they manage their colleagues. It’s vital that line managers at every level in the organisation feel integral to the business and able to share its future direction: they need to be part of your organisational DNA. Without their commitment and alignment, cracks are likely to form.
One way to ensure that your teams are highly engaged is to consider how you can bring storytelling into the workplace. Challenge yourselves and your managers to identify experiences that reflect your vision and values. Use these to demonstrate to your employees the truth that you want them to reflect, and empower them to do the same. Encourage collaboration and unity. Recognise contributions and reward these regularly.
We all feel the need to be validated in what we do; this is especially important in the workspace. After all, we spend on average 50% of our waking day in work. Check in regularly with team members, taking time at the beginning of meetings to do just that. Ask people how they are feeling, what is on their minds. Is there anything that will take them off task? And most importantly, do they feel equipped for the task in hand? This shouldn’t be an opportunity for a long-winded personal reflection of their circumstances at work or home, but more of a candid reflection of how they feel at that particular moment.
Demonstrating compassion through attention and positive reflection can really contribute to a better work/life experience for all. It can help ensure that tasks are completed by those who are able to commit and can inform you of the temperature of your team.
It really is a win, win. Committing to your workforce means they will commit to you and your customers.
At Six we’d love to hear your experiences and share ours. Please feel free to call one of our employee engagement experts for a coffee and a chat. Or sign up for one of our free employee engagement sessions.