“My company won’t sponsor my industry conference attendance.”
“My boss won’t invest in leadership development training for me, but expects me to be a stellar manager at the onset.”
These are examples of the comments I’ve heard from candidates when discussing why they’re interested in leaving their current company. These comments come from talented professionals who are at the top of their game. Yes, these issues may seem minor, and it’s easy for a company to dismiss these concerns. Doing so, however, would be a mistake. These comments are symptomatic of poor employee experience, indicating that the employee doesn’t feel valued or connected to their company– and that’s a huge red flag for turnover.
In today’s competitive talent market, HR leaders must think holistically about employee experience. This approach elevates the individual moments in an employee’s relationship with your company and fosters an engaging work environment where every employee thrives.
Here’s how to rethink employee experience in 2020:
1. Identify opportunities for improvement in the employee lifecycle.
Employee experience encompasses an employee’s entire relationship with your company, from the first interview to the final day. Trying to address the whole lifecycle at once can feel overwhelming, however, so focus on key friction points.
I recommend starting with the first day. How can you standardize the onboarding experience, from computer and email set up to team meet-and-greets? Effective onboarding is about more than just helping a new hire feel welcomed. An organized, orderly onboarding process speaks volumes about company priorities and values. It affirms a new employee’s assumptions about your company’s culture and sets the tone for their entire relationship with your business.
2. Address recurring pain points.
Daily frustrations like a long commute or broken video conferencing system are more than benign annoyances. Over time, these become defining aspects of your employees’ work experience, and they can be enough to sway top talent towards other companies.
Pain points are different for every employee, which is why it’s so critical that HR teams are empowered to understand and take action on individual employee frustrations. Did your company recently move offices? Ask employees how this move impacted their daily commutes and offer them the opportunity to work from home two days a week. Does your employee have school-aged children? Offer them flex hours so they can better match their schedule to childcare needs.
When employees are in the office, make their daily experience as seamless as possible. Technology that works, an espresso machine in the break room, a comfortable office temperature – these small touches can either reinforce your company’s commitment to exceptional experience or amplify a lackadaisical attitude. Make every moment of impact count.
3. Build emotional connections with employee events.
The opportunity to work remotely can be a critical benefit that helps retain top talent, but it can also create a fractured workforce where employees don’t feel connected to their coworkers or a company’s bigger mission. One of the most powerful drivers for employee experience is purpose. Employees who feel disconnected from their coworkers and company mission can struggle to find meaning in more mundane tasks, increasing the risk for burnout and turnover.
Meaningful employee events help to reverse this trend, building connections with coworkers and fostering a true sense of belonging and long-term buy-in. Think beyond a quick taco lunch or happy hour: be intentional in your events and connect them back to your company’s mission.
Value-driven events, like a company-wide volunteer day, reaffirm for employees that company leaders and coworkers are on the same page. They’re a powerful catalyst for creating an emotionally connected culture, which reduces the risk of turnover.
4. Invest in talent development.
Top companies are spending more on talent development than ever before, hiring coaches for executive leaders and throwing multi-day trainings for employees identified as “high potential.” Before you rush to hire an expensive motivational speaker, consider which trainings your employees would find most beneficial. Is it sponsorship to attend industry conferences? Management training? A real-time tool for leadership coaching?
Evaluate your options and recognize these aren’t “one-off” opportunities, but part of a thoughtful, intentional talent development program. From mentoring to skill training, meaningful growth opportunities signals your company cares about its employees and are invested in their success for the long haul.
What employee experience initiatives are priorities for your business this year?