What is the employee experience and why is it important?

Over the past few years, the employee experience has become a focal point for many HR departments, from creating strategies to perfecting onboarding processes, it is an extensive area to cover. But why has it become so important and is it just another HR buzzword?

We all know that an engaging work environment can promote happier, healthier, and more fulfilled employees, enhancing both innovation and productivity. Right now, more than ever these are no longer desirable elements for businesses, they’re essential. Want to retain your key talent? Enhance your employee experience; raising salaries are no longer the quick fix answer. You could pay someone a million pounds, but if they’re not happy in their work, neither party benefits, so to achieve a positive employee experience is essential if you want your business to become an employer of choice.

So how can we achieve an enhanced employee experience within businesses, and should it be led by HR?

What is the employee experience?

The term employee experience pretty much is what it says on the tin, it is all about how employees feel about their jobs. We are all familiar with the terms “Sunday blues” when people dread going to work or feel tense when arriving at work or sitting at their desk. on the flipside, employees should not leave work feeling exhausted at the end of the day. A positive employee experience can prevent these negative feelings at bay and also stop them destroying an otherwise excellent workplace’s productivity and culture.

A positive employee experience has one objective; to create a healthy and engaging working environment for the employees that work there. This enables businesses to get the most out of their people by driving creativity and productivity and creating a high-performance organisation.

So, it’s another HR job, right?

A lot of the HR projects I have been involved in relating to the employee experience have actually been driven by the managers I work with. The opening for the business case has centered around topics such as recruitment “how do we recruit the best people for our business?” or “how do we get the best people, so we gain a bigger piece of the industry?” it’s all about people and how we treat, manage and engage them.

Don’t get me wrong, HR support and provide their expertise on these projects, but if HR actively listen, the problems are easy to identify by the stakeholders we work with. Therefore, there should be a collaborative approach involving all levels of the business in order for the employee experience to have a successful impact.

I’m a manager, what are the signs I should be looking out for?

Pay close attention to your employees. Do they arrive for work in a good mood, during the workday, are they working effectively? are the proud of the work they produce? and is it of the best quality? At the end of the day, do they leave in a good mood? Do they speak positively about the workplace, their peers and colleagues, or is it a glass half empty approach? 

Usually, line managers are the first to hear of workplace woes, often directly from the employees themselves! Line managers are the most exposed to all levels of the business, so it is essential that they raise any concerns and manage any negativity appropriately. They’re also crucial to the implementation of any changes the come as a result of the employee experience review so ensure you listen and engage with their contributions.

Remind me of the benefits again!

Here are just 5 of the many benefits enhancing an employee experience can do:

  1. Employees feel valued and that they belong
  2. Create a positive workplace culture where people want to be there!
  3. Create camaraderie within the team. A good, shared experience helps bring a team together
  4. Recruit and retain the best talent; you work hard to create and run the business, so why not make life a little bit easier by not spending on expensive recruitment and placing your company as an employer of choice?
  5. Creates a positive impact on the bottom line – need I say more?!

Remember that not everyone needs to be happy at work all of the time, but an employee’s experience with their workplace should never be the source of their dissatisfaction. If this is the case, it is time to redesign the workplace and the experience, once you do, you’ll be pretty glad that you did!

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