Employees are the backbone of every organization. So it comes as no surprise that employee engagement has turned out to be a crucial factor in a business’s success. Organizations with higher levels of employee engagement outperform their competition, and their employees have a vision of how their work contributes to the organization’s success. How to improve employee engagement? The answer is simple: A wholesome Employee experience is an input for increased employee engagement at every stage of the employee lifecycle. Employee Experience is an employee’s perception of his journey with the company, right from the onboarding process to the final exit interview.
A Positive Employee Experience leads to motivated employees, exhibiting higher productivity levels and often going above and beyond to excel at their work. Richard Branson, CEO of the virgin group, once said “Clients don’t come first. Employees are the ones who come first. If you take care of your employees, then they will definitely take care of your clients. “That goes to show that the first step to ensuring a satisfying customer experience is providing a meaningful employee experience.
How to improve employee engagement and employee experience.
Improving the employee experience has various benefits such as increased work quality, lower rates of absenteeism, more engaged employees and an overall improvement in job satisfaction. But many challenges arise as a part of improving employee experience. The primary challenge is that organizations have not made employee experience a top-most priority. Employee Experience should be seen as an ongoing process for HR managers to understand employees’ expectations instead of limiting it to a one-time thing.
Companies need to focus on a brand new approach to improving employee experience. One that involves employee engagement, organizational culture and employee wellness.
Here are some practical ways that companies can work on how to improve employee engagement and employee experience:
1. Create a culture of Recognition and Rewards
Employee recognition has always been an essential part of effective management. It is one way an organization shows that they value their members and acknowledges the dedication they have shown to their work. This can promote a sense of belonging and a connection with others, in addition to re-affirming their ability to make an impact on the long term goals of the organization. A culture of recognition is a sign of a positive workplace. Showing that you can appreciate an employee’s effort, regardless of who it is, proves that good work matters, and there is no room for favouritism.
Here’s an employee benefits survey created using SurveySparrow to understand employees a tad bit better..
To create similar employee surveys, you can sign up on SurveySparrow for FREE.
Why is creating a culture of recognition so important?
Ever since we were little, we have always craved for recognition from those around us. Positive affirmation of our efforts was so crucial that an absence of it often disappointed us. This mindset has extended into our work life as well. Employee recognition is seen as one of the significant steps to improving employee engagement, retaining talent, and improving performance.
Recognition comes in various shapes and sizes:
- Public recognition is one that includes an award like an employee of the year award or a certificate.
- One to one recognition: This form of recognition is more private and personal. It can be from your boss, colleagues or your customers. A simple thank you, a nod or a pat on the back can motivate employees. It goes to show that little things go a long way!
- Recognition based on performance
- A promotion that usually involves a salary hike and increase of job responsibilities.
Different rewards can be included in the recognition program. Some of the common ones are monthly and annual awards for excellent performance, occasion awards, and service awards that recognize them for the long duration they have served in the organization and team lunches for the entire team to acknowledge their hard work on a project. This works to improve team morale between the employees.
2. Implement the best Onboarding experience
The Onboarding experience is one of the first stages of the employee journey. It is also one of the stages during which he/she gets the first glimpse of the organizational culture; its working atmosphere and the company’s basic details. A successful onboarding experience will create a long-lasting positive impact in the minds of the new hires and research suggests that such employees who receive effective onboarding are likely to stay for a longer time.
Additionally, it is also a great way to improve employee engagement.
Create a people-focused onboarding process.
While designing an onboarding process, it helps to think from the new employee’s perspective:
- What would the new hires want the most?
- How can this process help to make them feel prepared?
- What should be the outcome from this onboarding program
Devise a plan of action that would help them become familiarized with company policies and get acquainted with the new work culture.
How To Improve Employee Engagement: Ensure a two-way communication
For any program to be truly effective, there should be two-way communication. The new hires should be given a chance to voice their opinion about the onboarding program. This can be arranged via a formal one to one session. Apart from one to one sessions, it would also be a good idea to share qualitative and quantitative surveys during the program itself. This way, information can be gathered quickly, and we can also expect their honest feedback. SurveySparrow’s Employee onboarding surveys, for instance, allows you to collect their feedback instantaneously. They can access it through a QR code, a unique link or share it via social media. Consistent feedback provides you with a treasure trove of information with which the onboarding process can be improved. It also makes the new hires feel like they are heard and that their opinions matter. This is likely to improve employee engagement and creates an excellent first impression of the organization they are going to work for.
3. Build an effective Internal Communication Strategy
Internal Communications(IC) is imperative for any organization to function properly. Promoting effective communication among the employees in an organization makes sure that everyone is in the know-how on the latest happenings within their company. It may be that of announcing a new policy, informing them of an upcoming event or a company-wide audit.
Building an effective communication strategy is a must for organizations who wish to inculcate transparency in their processes and create a sense of openness. A good internal communication strategy recognizes that employees don’t like to be kept in the dark-whether it’s the projects the company is working on or a change in rules, employees wish to be updated on all the latest happenings. A good internal communication strategy further helps to ‘how to improve employee engagement’ process. It also functions as the backbone of organizational culture. A culture that emphasizes open communication always wins!
Apart from all this, Internal communications also play an essential role in times of crisis. Every business has its ups and downs. Being transparent about what happened, how it affected the company and how a crisis has been solved or negated will earn stakeholders respect from the employees.
When we hear the term internal communications, we usually consider it a top-down communication-Messages from the management to the employees. But it is a two-way street. It is not just the HR department and the PR team who can disseminate information. That option should be provided to all the departments in the organization so they can share their voice. This inter-departmental approach can shed light on the latest happenings within all the departments and ensures a holistic view. Internal communication should be of top priority these days as our workforce has become dispersed and are working remotely. While many channels enable internal communication within a company, the most common ones are face to face meetings, the intranet, the company newsletter, email and social networks. Applications like zoom, slack and google meet are increasingly used in recent times.
4. Employee feedback makes a huge difference!
Companies worldwide are beginning to realize how crucial it is to gain employee feedback. In recent times the focus on employee feedback has improved, but the change has been gradual. Most organizations roll out employee feedback surveys only once a year. The problem with annual employee surveys is that they tend to be too long, the employee response happens to be low, and by the time the insights are ready, it would have lost its relevance. There arises the need to capture Employee feedback continuously. The perfect way to obtain regular feedback is through employee pulse surveys. These surveys are short, easy and quick to answer. It is rolled out more frequently, and the results from the pulse surveys can be monitored over time. Employee pulse surveys from SurveySparrow are perfect for an increased response rate. They offer a conversational experience and are an ideal way to improve employee engagement by receiving real-time feedback. Through Regular Employee feedback, many of the modern-day challenges faced by the workplace can be solved. Employee feedback surveys can give us a glimpse into employees’ minds, and we can act on their feedback immediately. It ensures that you gain a real-time understanding of the issues an employee faces and improves employee engagement.
We all know that Net promoter scores or NPS are commonly used to measure the customer experience. What if I tell you that it can be used to measure employee experience as well. Aptly called eNPS(Employee Net Promoter Score) it asks one question: “How likely are you to recommend our organization to friends and family?” Employees can rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. Based on the rating, they are classified into Detractors, Passives and Promoters.
In short, employee feedback and surveys that gather them act as the cornerstone of the employee experience. SurveySparrow has surveys for each phase of the employee journey- from pre-hire to recruitment, onboarding and finally exit. Gathering feedback is the only way the employer can understand the ever-evolving employee expectations. Employee experience software is an enabler of collecting and analyzing employee feedback data.
5. Reinvent your performance reviews to improve employee engagement
Performance reviews or appraisals is yet another important milestone in an employee’s journey map. They are also a critical aspect of the employee experience. Through performance reviews, line managers can assess the employee’s knowledge and provide feedback. Employees gain an overall understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, how well they perform tasks and whether they reach their long term goals. Performance reviews sound good on paper. But it’s a whole different story when we try to implement it practically. Only 30% of employees find a performance review useful. Many believe it is a time-consuming process. Both managers and employees are often uneasy when they hear the term “performance review”. One of the significant challenges to a performance review is that it focuses on the past. In the current dynamic business environment, what employees need to flourish is daily feedback and conversations around performance. Not one that happens once or twice in a year.
A perfect way for an employee to get feedback on his performance from multiple entities like their manager and peers is by utilizing SurveySparrow’s 360 feedback survey. Employees’ performance is then evaluated based on many factors that assess him/her from a 360-degree perspective.
Moreover, another way to revamp the performance review would be to use performance management systems to help managers obtain accurate performance data. These systems can help set clear objectives for the employees and career development programs. Performance management tools enabled by technology simplifies the evaluation process and converts employees to active participants in the review process. Revamp your performance review processes and improve employee satisfaction levels with your firm.
Wrapping it Up..
Employee Experience is the employee’s overall experience at each stage of the employee journey while he was a part of your organization. A positive employee experience affects your retention rates. It is one of the critical factors that help retain and attract top talent into your organization. Employee experience extends well beyond what benefits you can offer to your employees; it encompasses myriad factors like organizational culture, internal communication, values and constant feedback. Instead of merely focusing on how to improve employee engagement, organizations have begun to incorporate an integrated approach to employee experience management. Perfect your employee experience strategy as it plays a vital role in shaping your organization’s overall health.