TIP TUESDAY: Improving the Employee Experience

by Bridget Miller, HR Daily Advisor

Employee retention is key to the successful management of your organization, and one thing you can do to keep valued employees is to focus on the “employee experience.” Here are some tips for improving the employee experience:

Remember that the employee experience begins during the recruitment process. First impressions play a big role in how future employees view any given interaction. If applicants viewed the organization as kind and responsive, they’re more likely to view a setback in a more positive light than if they had reservations about the organization before they even came aboard. Take steps to assess and improve the candidate experience as step one in improving the employee experience.

Train managers and HR professionals to recognize signs an employee may be struggling. Employees don’t just leave their home life at home ”no matter how hard they try. Our home lives intersect our work lives and have a direct impact on everything we do, even when we’re making a concerted effort to ensure that’s not the case. That means that problems at home can impact work. This may manifest as tardiness, frequent absences, higher-than-normal stress levels, snapping at others, making simple mistakes, etc. (This list is not comprehensive.) The key is that when employer representatives are trained to recognize the signs, they may be able to better respond to an employee who is struggling rather than inadvertently making it worse.

Create a culture that supports frequent feedback. Getting feedback is something that most people need. People want to know they’re doing a good job. And they want to know (in an appropriate way) when they’re falling short so they can make it right before it’s too late. By creating a culture that supports feedback ”and not just at annual performance reviews ”you’re more likely to have an environment where employees understand what’s expected of them and are, thus, more able to meet their goals and be satisfied with their job.

Communicate well about what’s going on with the organization. Employees like to be in the know.  When communication is withheld, employees feel they’re not trusted ”and rumors can spread like wildfire. Frequent communication at all levels of the organization can show the employees they’re trusted and enable them to make decisions that take into account the organization’s big-picture goals.

Create employee development programs. Employee development should include employee training where appropriate. These types of programs let employees know what their career progression within the organization will look like. This also helps to create realistic expectations and lets employees know that the employer is investing in their future.

Promote employee well-being. This can be through health insurance benefits, employee wellness programs, employee assistance programs (EAPs), good paid-time-off (PTO) benefits, etc. Ensure your benefits also take mental well-being into account. The key here is to take steps that show employees the organization cares about their well-being. This not only has direct impacts (employee well-being means fewer absences) but also impacts retention.

Take note of the types of benefits that your employees value and see if those can be offered if they’re not already. This likely will entail taking a survey of employees to get this information. For example, employees may want better flexibility of work hours, or they may want more insurance options, or they may simply want a better 401(k) plan. Be careful not to make assumptions on what employees want without asking them.

What steps has your organization taken to enhance your employees’ experience?