Why Employee Experience is Becoming as Important as Customer ExperienceWritten by Madisyn Villamil
Employee experience is becoming a top priority for businesses to counteract turnover and foster a positive company culture that directly impacts their bottom line.
The last few years have seriously challenged our previous notions of what makes a company a great place to work. Following an unprecedented mass resignation and heightened conversations around work-life balance, companies recognize the need to improve their employee experience to attract and retain top talent.
What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience, often referred to as EX, is how a worker perceives the total of their experiences with a company through every step of their employee journey. From the interview process to their exit, every employee collects unique experiences that shape their attitude towards the company and its culture.
EX is often confused with employee engagement. Although they’re connected, they’re two different concepts.
Employee engagement is the level of dedication and motivation a worker feels towards their job. EX encompasses every aspect of working for an employer throughout the employee journey. High engagement is dependent on a positive employee experience.
Positive EX is more than a competitive salary, PTO, and a fully-stocked snack bar. Employees seek a work environment where their values align with the company’s, so they can perform their best and grow in their careers. This includes policies that promote work-life balance, technology that fits their needs, learning and development opportunities, an inclusive atmosphere, and more.
The EX movement is gaining momentum as employees place more importance on working for a company whose values align with their own. People realize they have options on where to work, even more so in a virtual career. Wise employers are focusing on building a positive employee experience to keep their best people.
Why is EX Important?
Increased Engagement and Productivity
It’s not easy to stay engaged and productive in a negative work environment. That’s why building a positive EX can directly affect your organization’s productivity. Employees who feel their company cares for their well-being tend to care more about the quality of their work.
Research suggests happy emotions and engagement boost creativity and the ability to find unique solutions. This is an even better predictor of creativity than IQ or intellectual skills. Employees’ happiness levels will show up in their work, leading to better company performance.
Workers are considering employee experience more than ever when looking for a new job or considering whether to stay with a company. The COVID-19 pandemic drove home the importance of a positive EX for employees. It’s easy to get stuck in the mundane, day-to-day work routine, but the pandemic forced many of us to work from home, evaluate where we are on our career path, and reflect on how our employers treat us. Simply put, employees were given a unique opportunity to reflect on the question: am I happy in my job?
The Great Resignation told us an overwhelming amount of people in the workforce answered this question with a no. 48 million people quit their jobs in 2021, signifying the time spent reflecting on their company’s EX led them to seek better opportunities.
Employers are now shifting their focus from customer experience to employee experience to attract and retain excellent employees. Willis Towers Watson’s 2021 Employee Experience Survey of 1,550 employers found that 92% of employers say enhancing EX will be a priority over the next three years. In the long run, creating a stellar EX can reduce turnover and give your company a competitive advantage.
EX Directly Affects CX
Customer experience (CX) involves creating meaningful experiences for clients and customers when they do business with a company. CX has been a primary focus in the last decade, especially in competitive and service industries. However, these efforts may be in vain if employee experience is neglected.
Because companies harnessing the right EX strategy are more likely to provide successful customer experiences, employers should also focus on how they take care of their employees. After all, workers are the ones serving customers. Happy employees create a more productive business, and this can lead to more satisfied customers.
Improved Financial Performance
Research shows prioritizing employee experience can improve your overall business performance by 78%. This is because better employee productivity, reduced turnover, and an improved customer experience all impact your bottom line. For employers who want to improve business practices and keep their best employees, continuously investing in employee experience is critical.
Determining What Your Employees Want
You may already be considering investing more in your organization’s EX. For these efforts to be successful, it’s essential to understand what your employees want. Here are a few tips for getting to the bottom of that million-dollar question.
Recognize EX Differs Across the Board
Every employee has a different experience with their company, making evaluating and changing EX even more challenging. This is why evaluating different personas in your organization is critical. A persona is a segment of a company with unique characteristics, values, wants, and needs. Understanding the personas in your company can help you tailor EX initiatives to suit them.
Personas can differ by the stages of the employee journey, age/generation, department, and diverse groups. For example, a new hire might have a significantly greater need for training and L&D opportunities than a seasoned employee nearing retirement. On the other hand, a Millennial employee with young children might value flexible working options more than a Baby Boomer.
If you aren’t sure how your employees feel about working for your company–ask. You can even survey what they’d like to see more of in the company culture, compensation, and training programs.
Many companies conduct yearly or quarterly surveys but never update the questions. Tailor your questions to recent events, changes in the organization, or even different personas. It’s also beneficial to keep surveys anonymous, so workers feel comfortable giving honest feedback.
Once you’ve collected feedback, dedicate the necessary time and resources to analyze it. Review the findings with your leadership, human resources, and learning and development (L&D) professionals. Then, design and follow through with solutions that target your employees’ concerns.
It’s impossible to create a one-size-fits-all approach to improving your organization’s EX–especially if you haven’t determined what your employees want. Continuous surveys are a great way to stay in touch with their desires and pain points.
Ways to Improve Employee Experience
Connect Work to Company Values
Your core values should be authentic and show up daily in the company’s leadership and decision-making. We spend one-third of our lives working, so it’s no wonder employees crave a sense of purpose in their work. People want to work for a company with values that align with their own.
When employees don’t consistently see the organization’s values demonstrated by leadership, workplace policies, and behavioral norms, they can lose their drive to do their best work and advance the company. If a company’s values were motivating factors during the hiring process but are not present in the day-to-day, employees can feel confused and misled.
Connect work to company values by ensuring management adheres to them. From the CEO to team leaders, all decision-makers in the business should be well-educated on core values and motivated to act on them.
Another way to strengthen the presence of values is by integrating them into every employee-related process, including the hiring process, performance-review systems, and even dismissal procedures. Through every step of the employee journey, your workers should feel the company values align with their experiences.
Invest in Employee Well-Being
A study by Asana found 70% of workers have experienced burnout in the last year. Leadership often dismisses employee well-being as a personal matter, but employers who invest in it can reap significant benefits.
How can you invest in well-being? First and foremost, your workplace culture should promote self-care and physical and mental health. This includes encouraging workers to attend regular health screenings, take their PTO without judgment, and participate in wellness programs.
Provide valuable physical and mental resources such as gym memberships, psychological aids, healthy lunch options, child care aid, and more. Continuous investment in the well-being of your employees improves your overall EX and leads to a more engaged and loyal workforce.
Provide Flexibility and Trust
Now more than ever, employees value flexibility in the workplace over other important factors like salary and promotions. The pandemic showed us the benefits of being able to work when and where we want and drove home the idea that a bonus or salary bump doesn’t buy happiness.
More companies are beginning to implement flexible work policies that allow employees to determine the best schedule and location for their work-life balance. In 2022, a McKinsey survey found 58% of employees have the opportunity to work from home one day a week, and 35% can work from home five days a week. It also found 87% of people would want to work flexible hours if given a chance.
Many workers prefer skipping the traffic to have more time with their families or not having to take precious PTO for a quick doctor’s appointment. Flexible work policies improve overall EX by creating an environment of trust and demonstrating your company’s commitment to work-life balance.
People value an employer who invests in their learning and development (L&D). A study by the Pew Research Center following the Great Resignation found that the second most relevant reason for the resignation was “no opportunities for advancement”. Yet, according to LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, only 15% of L&D professionals have active upskilling programs.
Employees feel more valued when their company invests in upskilling, and consequently feel more motivated and engaged. By upskilling, employers can simultaneously cut down on turnover and hiring costs, too.
Investing in L&D builds a culture of continuous improvement that enhances the employee experience. Edstutia’s enterprise solutions improve your upskilling program by taking your learning and development strategy to the next level with immersive technology.
Elevate Technology for Employee Experience
Technology can either set your organization up for growth or stagnation. Using the right technology helps employees be more successful in their roles. Provide your employees with user-friendly tech that promotes collaboration and keeps up with the current pace of technological development.
Can you imagine connecting to a meeting using 3D virtual avatars rather than a 2D Zoom call? What about participating in a gamified training module in VR rather than a dry slideshow presentation? This is all becoming possible with implementation of the Metaverse in corporations across the globe.
Forbes named immersive technology one of the four biggest workplace trends of 2023. The Metaverse is impacting a growing number of businesses as they seek to provide their people with collaborative working environments regardless of their location.
Companies can also create personalized learning sessions for onboarding and upskilling with immersive technology. Edstutia helps employers craft fully-customized training sessions in our VR campus. Immersive learning programs yield a high engagement and information retention rate.
Nurture an Inclusive, Collaborative Culture
As previously mentioned, EX can vary between the different personas in your organization. Diversity and inclusion are critical for any modern business, and contribute to whether or not you have a positive EX. Ensure your executives and hiring managers are working towards building a diverse culture.
Workers also want to bring their full selves to work and feel included. A team of employees acting as their full selves promotes a healthy work environment that drives creativity. To improve EX, employers need to focus less on taking transactional care of people and more on creating positive human experiences that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Employee Experience is Always Evolving
When done right, enhancing EX can improve engagement, retention, and overall workplace culture. It can also lead to favorable financial outcomes for your business.
Overall, a positive EX can support the sustainability of your business in an incredibly competitive landscape. The pandemic showed us just how important EX and a strong workplace culture are to overcoming unprecedented changes.
However, employee experience isn’t a one-and-done effort. To build a culture that attracts the best people, you need to prioritize EX on an ongoing basis. Continuously dedicate time and resources to evaluating and enhancing the experiences of your employees.
The evolution of technology, for example, demonstrates the need to improve EX continually. Companies that stay ahead of the technology curve and take a forward-thinking approach set themselves apart from competitors and create an exciting workplace.
Employee Experience: Wrap-Up
Employee experience has become just as important as customer experience as businesses try to stay competitive for the workplace of tomorrow. This places business leaders in a unique position to listen to what their employees need to do their best work and stay loyal to their company. Giving employees the right tools to be successful in every step of their employee journey is a crucial part of designing a positive employee experience.
Immersive technology is helping companies provide their employees with engaging onboarding programs, skills development, and team collaboration. Edstutia guides you through implementing immersive technology in your corporate learning and development programs to enhance your employee experience—even helping you create fully-customized training programs in VR.
Learn about our enterprise solutions and how Edstutia can improve your company’s employee experience with immersive technology.