Employee experience is about breaking down silos to make people feel different about work. It aims to create a positive work environment in which a culture of respect, inclusivity and open communications can thrive.
Just how important is your employee experience? It’s a question many organisations are asking themselves. And if, as an organisation, you're not asking it… you really should be!
Gallagher identifies the necessity of championing employee experience as one of its 9 Hallmarks of world-leading internal communications, so let’s explore its importance in a bit more detail.
10 years ago the concept of employee experience (EX) was not something anyone other than HR specialists ever talked about, and even then it would be a struggle to define what the term meant. In the years up to 2020, IC professionals were just beginning to realise the importance of understanding and defining their employee experience and the part it plays in attracting and retaining good people – then of course the pandemic hit, and Covid changed everything.
In Gallagher’s State of the Sector report 2023, 72% of respondents now believe that employee experience is on their leadership team’s radar. Around a third of companies surveyed say they have a clear mandate to improve it and this portion rises to 44% in organizations with more than 10,000 employees.
EX is about breaking down silos to make people feel different about work. It aims to create a positive work environment in which a culture of respect, inclusivity and open communications can thrive. If we delve a little deeper, we can see from the State of the Sector (SOTS) report that there are many aspects to it, including:
- Purpose and Strategy
- Reward, Benefits and Recognition
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Ways of Working
- Digital Experience
From the SOTS survey, it is clear that some of these are given greater priority whilst others are being neglected. For example, those components where companies scored well (over 50%) include Purpose and Strategy, Rewards and Recognition and Learning and Development. There are three components lagging behind however, with 36% of respondents citing no digital experience strategy, 33% reporting lack of activity around environmental and social impact and 28% with no structured workplace experience. So it is clear there is still plenty of work to be done by organisations with their EX.
Employee Experience and Company Culture
So how and where does your company culture fit into all this? Here are four key points to consider:
- First of all, a great phrase borrowed from an ex-colleague: Culture eats strategy for breakfast! You need to tell people that ‘how we do things’ is far more powerful than explaining ‘what we do (or plan to do)’. It’s quickly becoming the role of professional communicators to understand and champion their employee experience as a way of enabling the culture of your organisation to shine through.
- With any new initiative, you need to consider the potential impact on your EX, to ensure you maintain a cultural fit. Challenge your leadership – ask ‘who owns the employee experience’ – and make sure you validate the important role internal communication has to play, to establish, maintain or re-develop the experience and its components across the employment lifecycle.
- Employee experience is the emotional connection to your organisation. So if there are socio-political-cultural changes that may impact that experience, you need to react to them. More than having crisis comms plans in place, EX practitioners need to pivot and adapt your modes and methods to maintain the experience.
- And finally, be proactive and look for trends and anticipate challenges which may impact the employee experience. IC specialists need to anticipate the challenges ahead and any changes that may affect ways of working, and consider the cultural initiatives needed, for e.g. frameworks for use of Teams in hybrid settings.
Why is your employee experience important?
There are a number of key touchpoints, at different stages of the employment lifecycle, that point to why getting your employee experience right is so crucial:
- At the recruitment stage, you can make a vital first impression with a potential employee if you invest in your experience from the first point of contact.
- To retain your employees, you need to make them happy! Employee turnover is expensive, and keeping your top talent has to be a priority. Thriving employees are much more likely to stay in an organisation, and with the current ‘employees market’ retention is critical.
- Engaging your employees leads to increased productivity. It’s not rocket science but Gallup cites that companies with an engaged workforce outperform companies with disengaged workforces. A well-done employee experience is a key driver for employee engagement.
- Your employees experience very often translates across to your customer’s experience, so making a positive step to improve your EX can only help with customer satisfaction. And no matter what business you are in, we all want happy customers.
The Employee Experience Odyssey
In summary, we are seeing the increasing importance of employee experience in organisations, with employers recognizing its role in attracting and retaining talented individuals. There is a clear need for championing EX, considering its impact on company culture, and addressing various aspects such as purpose, rewards, diversity, wellbeing, and digital experience.
If you’d like to explore your employee experience in more detail, or would benefit from a conversation on how to implement an EX strategy, please contact our consultants today.