When employees have a positive experience in the workplace, they demonstrate a greater sense of: Belonging – feeling part of a team, group, or organization. Purpose – understanding why one’s work matters. Achievement – a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done. For example, daily uplifts by contrast, are positive experiences in the workplace that make employees feel good. Receiving positive feedback about one’s performance, receiving support from a supervisor, or experiencing joy from relating well to co-workers are examples of daily uplifts.
Employee engagement isn’t just a nice to have. It has a very real impact on business success. According to Gallup, businesses with higher levels of employee engagement showed 21% more profitability and 17% more productivity.
When employees are engaged, they are inspired and motivated to do — and to want to do — their best work. It’s up to leaders to help nurture an environment where their employees can not only succeed, but thrive. A recent study from Deloitte found that 80% of executives said they consider the employee experience to be either very important or important, yet only 22% reported that their organizations did an excellent job of creating a differentiated experience for employees.
It’s important to think holistically about the key factors that affect your employees’ experience (their role, their relationships, their work environment, and the organization as a whole)— and what you can to do improve the way they all coexist.
Best ways to Create a Positive Employee Experience
1. Reinforce the desired employee experience through all touch points. Make sure all high-level touch points of the employee experience (Employee Value Propositions, performance management, learning and development, onboarding, etc) are consistent in the messages and desired mindsets they convey
2. Support your employees’ development. Make it known that you are committed to each individuals’ professional growth and career development — and provide them with resources and opportunities that support this. Support your employees journey through regular coaching, feedback, and check-ins, as well as tangible learning methods like e-learning, training tools, and courses
3. Create space for peer-to-peer support. Cohorts, Employee Resource Groups, and peer networks are a great way to increase the amount of connecting employees are doing. The more connected teams are to each other, the more effectively they can work together.
4. Keep an open channel of communication with your team. Connect with your employees through storytelling and transparent communication. Give them feedback and encourage them to give you feedback in return. Keep employees feeling connected through executive hosted two-way communication forums, social media campaigns, and town halls. Be explicit in telling employees their perspective is welcome and encouraged
5. Listen to your people. Understand what inspires and motivates them, and in turn, what demotivates and disengages them. Put yourself in your peoples’ shoes and truly understand their day-to-day experience — by listening to what they have to say in focus groups, surveys, and through crowdsourcing
Essential elements of a positive employee experience
1. The task experience: how easy it is to get the job done. This includes having the right tools and resources to efficiently accomplish the necessary work. According to Wilson, “Bad task experiences, which can happen on a daily basis, create real frustration among employees. They get the feeling that their employer doesn’t appreciate their value or their time or their skills.”
2. The social experience: people need to feel a sense of belonging. This involves whether or not employees like the people they work with, if they feel like part of a team, and if the team has a good dynamic working together toward shared goals. “Good social experiences can really make employees feel effective, supported, and included,” said Wilson.
3. A sense of fulfillment: does the job provide what employees want or expect from work. This can be unique for everyone, and it can change over time. According to Wilson, “Everybody has a different sense of fulfillment. Some people might work because it allows them to do things outside of work with their families. Others fortunately get to do work that they truly enjoy that helps them feel fulfilled.
Ways to Improve Your Employee Experience Strategy
Deliver Excellent Communication
The key to improving relationships with your employees is the same as in any other relationship – communication.
Most HR leaders and business professionals agree that communication is important, but they ultimately spend more time communicating with the media, with stakeholders and with their target audience than with their own employees.
To improve communication, make sure you’re offering a conversation platform, that’s more than just email. Use communication tools to share good news and bad news, to celebrate major accomplishments in your employees’ professional and personal lives, and to clearly identify your purpose and values.
Provide Meaningful Work
According to a study by Deloitte, the ideal organization will provide its employees with meaningful work by:
Encouraging autonomy: Empower your employees by allowing them to shape their work environment in ways that help them perform at their best. Hire autonomous people, don’t overreact when mistakes are made and give your employees the tools they need to reach their goals.
Creating small, independent teams: Be open to new ideas, recognize and encourage your employees regularly, and give team members the authority to make decisions. If you’re afraid to give employees that kind of authority, consider giving them the training they need to make wise business decisions autonomously.
Make Management Supportive
Great managers make employees feel supported during day-to-day operations. For example, they set clear and transparent goals for teams and for the organization so that no one is left in the dark when big-picture decisions are made.
Great managers also provide coaching for employees by giving frequent feedback, encouraging employees to learn from others, building their confidence and sincerely asking how they can help the employee achieve their goals.
However, great managers are made, not born. Without investing in manager development, your organization may find itself lacking the leadership it needs to improve the employee experience.
Respond to Feedback
The best way to know what your employees need from you is to ask them, and then to listen when they respond.
Today, many tools are available to help capture continuous employee feedback, like pulse survey tools, open survey tools, and performance management tools. Using them freely and frequently will allow you to understand what employees like about your organization while also learning what employees still feel they’re missing.
To receive honest feedback, however, it’s vital that a culture of respect and open communication already exists in the organization. If your employees feel neglected or disrespected in regular, day-to-day communication, they’re not likely to take the time to communicate honestly with you.
Offer Growth Opportunities
Research by DecisionWise found that only 43% of employees feel that their employers offer good opportunities for growth and development. This is an alarming statistic since findings also suggest that high-performing employees will only remain in jobs that challenge them and provide meaning.
There are many kinds of growth opportunities you can offer employees to improve their experience with your organization, including:
As workers around the world reevaluate the purpose of work in their lives, we will see a gravitation towards employers who are more humane—not just in the way they treat their employees but also in the way that they conduct their business and show up in communities