When thinking about user experience, it is easy to prioritize a front end consumer as the “user” in question. But, in reality, there are many different kinds of users that interact with a brand’s product or service on a daily basis. Some of the most important users to consider are the organization’s employees. Their workflows and engagement have a direct impact on a brand’s ability to connect with consumers and meet business goals.
At Agency 39A, we work to improve employee experiences from a strategic digital perspective. We assess the internal user experience and identify any gaps or inconsistencies across the organization. Then, we work to create new tools and integrated technology processes that allow employees to better understand their role in the organization and ultimately succeed.
Understanding the Employee Experience Framework
Employee experience (EX) is a core element of your company’s underlying user experience. Your employees are vital to the operation of your brand and directly impact your ability to reach key performance metrics and grow as an organization. The practice of employee experience refers to how you engage with your workers at every phase of the employee journey — from recruitment to retention and beyond.
In today’s digital age, there are many ways to enhance the employee experience with technology and tools that can streamline tasks and help employees succeed in their roles.
Agency 39A partners with clients to develop an employee experience strategy that prioritizes a healthy work environment and strong performance. We start with a 360-degree view of your company culture, processes, and work environment. This occurs over interviews, direct observation, and collaborative workshops with key stakeholders from every department. This is an important thing to note: improving employee experience is a responsibility that does not fall on human resources alone. This should be a whole-company effort to attract, engage, and retain your core talent.
Here are a few questions we consider when developing our employee experience framework:
- What does the end-to-end experience for your employees look like today?
- How are you currently providing employee experience touchpoints during onboarding and your employees’ first 90 days?
- How are you collecting feedback from your employees about their satisfaction (or lack thereof)? Better yet, how are you responding to and incorporating that feedback into your operations?
- How often are you updating your internal tech stack to better support and optimize your employees’ workflows? Are there any areas of friction that need to be addressed?
We position these questions to the internal team and analyze the results to identify any gaps or inconsistencies in the current employee experience.
Beginning with the Employee Onboarding Process
The employee onboarding process is a key element of employee experience because it creates a first impression of company culture for your new team members.
An effective onboarding experience begins prior to the employee’s official start date. How are candidates communicated with before and after their job interviews? Once they’ve accepted an offer, how is information shared about the new hire process? The communication that occurs during this period often sets the tone for the employee’s experience later on. A great onboarding process involves clear communication and defined next steps.
Agency 39A examines the current onboarding process and finds areas to challenge and improve it. We also examine the new hires’ first few months of employment through observation and inquiry to better understand the transition and understand how to measure success.
Major considerations during the onboarding process include:
- Are additional onboarding resources available for employees throughout their initial 90 days?
- How are new employees supported as they get up to speed with internal information technology?
- How are new employees welcomed into the broader company?
- What does corporate communication look like?
- How do employees enroll in the organization’s benefits program?
If any elements of the onboarding process are complicated, underwhelming, or even outdated, it’s time to rethink your new hire strategy and see what digital practices can be incorporated to improve this important phase. We work with clients to pose recommendations and introduce new workflows that can heighten employee engagement and retention during this crucial time period.
On the other hand, it’s also important to think about the offboarding process. What does it look like when an employee prepares to leave the organization? Is it a smooth transition, or is it unnecessarily complicated? It might seem trite to spend time and energy on this area, but it’s an important one: how an employee feels when they leave a company has a huge impact on whether they return in the future and, more importantly, what they share about their experience on your team.
Promoting Employee Development
Keeping your employees engaged during their tenure at your company will create a positive employee experience for the entire team. One way to do this is through employee development, or providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills and grow in their career and professional passions.
Employees leave when they do not feel challenged, listened to, or appreciated in their role. Continuing education, access to industry conferences, and internal workshops with cross-department presence can help foster an environment where employees feel encouraged to grow, thereby increasing job satisfaction and reducing employee turnover. These days, many large organizations also offer memberships to online curriculums or subsidize a portion of higher education courses for eligible employees.
At Agency 39A we believe that prioritizing your employees’ personal development can also increase individuals’ motivation, performance, and career trajectory within your organization. Further, engaged employees offer a heightened customer experience, which in turn will create brand loyalty and help you reach your bottom line. We work with you to offer the best development opportunities for both the organization and the internal team.
Enhancing the Employee Experience
In order to improve the employee experience, you need to first understand how employees feel about the company. One way to do this is through program management, or monitoring your employees’ attitudes towards work and their process at work.
Agency 39A specializes in enhancing EX with innovative program management techniques. During the initial user experience research phase we observe and inquire with current employees to gauge their levels of engagement and interest at work. Based on these findings, we recommend new or improved methods of connecting with employees for increased satisfaction and performance.
A pulse survey is a popular type of employee experience survey that is sent to employees on a regular basis to assess how they feel about specific topics. This type of survey allows employees to share feedback more frequently than an annual engagement survey, and also allows the company to react faster and implement change in a timely manner. Plus, data from Qualtrics shows that employees feel more valued when they are able to supply feedback on a frequent basis.
Agency 39A recommends the pulse survey method to gather feedback on a variety of topics:
- How likely are you to remain at this company over the next 12 months?
- On a scale from 1-10, how engaged do you feel with your current work?
- What changes could be made to help you feel more comfortable at this company?
By sending the pulse survey out on frequent intervals, we can measure employees’ responses over time. For example, if you send a quarterly survey asking about changes to make to increase employee satisfaction, monitor the responses each quarter and implement changes in-between the surveys. Then we can measure the difference in responses after the next quarter. The goal is to see your numbers positively change according to your ability to react quickly in response.
Another term for this practice is employee experience management. This measures how your employees perceive company initiatives and operations. Experience management is about listening to employees and gathering feedback to improve their sense of purpose, belonging, and engagement within the company.
At the end of the day, employee experience is all about supporting your employees. Agency 39A works with companies to improve EX and make sure employees have the right tools and technology to do their job well.
Prioritizing this key element will result in countless benefits. An improved employee experience often leads to increased employee retention, a more positive work environment, and ultimately a better customer experience on the front end. When your employees are happy, your bottom line will reap the benefits.