Taking a lifecycle approach to employee experience
Many employee experience programs still start and end with an employee engagement survey — a single, once-a-year activity that looks to understand the state of employee engagement and the impact of different drivers on engagement.
But think about your own experience at work compared to those around you. Some people will have only recently started, others will have been in seat for a long time and everyone will have had a different experience from the next person whether that’s going through a different onboarding process, attending different training courses or reaching different career milestones by the time the next survey comes around.
In short, everyone is at a different stage in the employee journey.
With an annual or biannual survey, it’s almost impossible to understand how those personal experiences shape the key outcomes of employee experience like engagement, motivation or productivity.
Increasingly, organisations are taking a lifecycle approach to employee experience that looks to capture feedback and insights at every stage of the lifecycle.
It allows them to understand the moments along the employee journey that matter most, how they impact the experience and what they can do, at each stage, to have a positive impact on metrics like engagement, attrition and productivity.
Understand the moments that matter with employee journey mapping
Much like CX professionals map out the customer journey to identify pain points and areas for improvement, HR teams can plot the end-to-end journey an employee has at an organisation to start to understand how each stage impacts the employee experience as a whole.
From recruitment all the way through to exit, it allows you to plot out every moment that matters and understand what you can do to improve the experience.
Here’s how to start building your employee journey:
1. Segment your employees
Throughout the organisation you’re likely to have plenty of different employee personas, and their interactions with the company will be very different. So start by identifying your employee segments. Ideally it should be based on their interactions with the company – for example, an engineer is likely to have a very different experience from someone in your marketing team — rather than demographics like age and gender (these should be splits you look at in the data later rather than as a guiding principle for your personas, as within those demographics there will be plenty of variance in the experience).
2. Establish the journey for each persona
Now you know your personas, you can start to map out the interactions they have with the organisation from their first contact (usually before they’re hired) all the way through to them eventually leaving. You’ll need to bring in a cross-functional team to input on this, as different teams and departments will likely have different interactions along the way. You may even want to consider looking at the interactions post-exit as in some cases retirees or past employees may come back or have an interaction with the organisation later on or act as advocates for the organisation.
3. Map feedback and insights to the employee journey
To truly understand the impact of each interaction on the employee experience, you need to be able to map feedback to each stage in the lifecycle. So for each persona, make sure there is a feedback mechanism attached to each stage in the journey that meets them where they are and provides them with the opportunity to give feedback in the moment — this is much more useful than waiting up to 12 months to ask them about it, as you’ll get the most honest, useful feedback while the experience is still fresh in their mind.
4. Align your measurements at different stages in the employee journey
It’s likely that different stages in the journey will be managed by different teams. For example, your recruiting, training or onboarding teams. In order to link insights across the journey, you need to make sure that everyone agrees on a consistent approach to measurement whether that’s using a simple metric like eNPS with open-text follow-up questions or something like a 5-point Likert scale. Taking those two examples, one gives a numeric value, the other a text value — it makes it much harder to compare if they’re each used by different teams. If every team follows the same approach however, it’s much easier to bring that data together into a holistic data set and start to make connections to see how the experience at one touchpoint impacts others.
5. Use automation to manage feedback at scale
Manually sending out a survey every time someone takes a training course, goes for promotion or interacts with any of the other moments that matter along the journey is a drain on resources. So make sure you integrate your employee experience program with your HRIS and set up triggers to automatically send a request for feedback when an employee hits a certain milestone.
6. Combine the employee journey with your engagement survey
A lifecycle approach to employee experience doesn’t mean giving up on your employee engagement survey altogether. In fact, the engagement survey should be your cornerstone — a less frequent, but more in-depth view of the state of employee experience and the key drivers that are impacting it either positively or negatively. Many organisations choose to do shorter, more frequent surveys like bi-annual engagement surveys or monthly employee pulse surveys as an alternative to the annual survey. However you run it, it’s essential you connect it to your feedback mechanisms across the lifecycle.
To use an example like onboarding feedback, on its own, it will likely show you how your onboarding process is perceived and what can be improved, but it won’t necessarily show the impact on engagement, productivity or attrition. When you combine it with your engagement survey (which does measure these things) you can then start to see connections – how did that improvement to onboarding affect engagement for employees in their first year? Did it reduce attrition? Did it promote cross-functional collaboration? Do those employees who went through the new program understand better how their work contributes to the organisations success? It’s only by connecting all these different feedback mechanisms that you’ll know the answer.