In your company, are you confident that the employer experience is a positive one? If you asked your employees how they felt about their overall experience, working for you, would the results be favourable?
Getting employee experience right – making sure your employees have a positive experience when they are working is beneficial for both you as an employer and, of course, the employee.
And for young people, whether graduates or school leavers, a positive employee experience is right up there when they list what they are looking for in a company.
Following the pandemic the ‘Great Resignation’ continues as more and more people reassess their lives and take action to make any necessary changes.
This means it is more important than ever for employees to put strategies in place where the employee experience is more positive. Not only dıes it boost staff retention but it also attracts young talented people to apply for your vacancies because yours will be a company where people want to work.
But what is ‘employee experience’ and what can you do in your workplace to make sure that the employee is positive?
Employee experience is about your employees’ perception of their workplace. The set up, the atmosphere, the culture, the management style.
A positive employee experience is about team leaders and managers showing appreciation and recognition of the work employees do in the workplace. This is done by having clear strategies in place that both leaders and staff know about. Showing this appreciation and recognition means a happier, more engaged and, therefore, more productive staff.
How To Improve Employee Experience
So, how do you go about improving the employee experience in the workplace? In this article, we’ll take a look at some ideas and strategies that could be put in place.
Ask The Employees
Where better to start than by asking your existing team of staff. Afterall, it’s their experience that you are looking to improve. Hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Depending on the culture of your workplace, this doesn’t necessarily need to be done face to face. Some staff might not feel confident saying exactly what changes they would like to see.
It can be done anonymously where staff can make suggestions about what they think would improve their experience via something as simple as a suggestion box.
This process can be given more structure by designing a survey so that your staff are answering all the same questions and you get a better idea of how they feel about different aspects of their role within the company.
For your young graduates, Apprentices and other young recruits, this type of process can make them feel valued and listened to. Your young recruits can also give you a valuable insight into how you are stacking up for them as an employer. If they’re happy, they’re more likely to stick around.
If there are changes to be made, they might be simple ideas that you could implement that could help your company more easily attract young talent at future recruitment drives.
Of course, the main outcome of surveys or meetings like this is not just to ask your employees about any changes that need to be made and then forget about it until the next meeting.
Make sure there is follow up on suggestions that are made. If changes have been made, where and how have they been made?
If someone has made a suggestion that is just not possible, rather than push that to one side and ignore it, discuss with staff why it isn’t possible. Is it something that could be looked at again in the future or is it something that is unable to be carried out in your company for whatever reason.
If staff can see they are being listened to and having their suggestions taken onboard, this will contribute to a much more positive employee experience.
Have A Programme In Place For New Staff
Especially if you are a smaller company, perhaps with no designated HR team in place, you might have no programme in place for your new staff. Or, at the very least, it could be tweaked and improved.
Especially for young people who might have little or no previous experience of being in the workplace, when they start work at your company, this can be a daunting prospect for them. New faces, new environment – and a new job where they need to learn the ropes.
Having a structure in place where young staff know what is expected of them and where they can get any extra support they might need will improve the employee experience.
You might choose to have a buddy or a mentoring system for new young recruits, for example so that they have a go to person. Depending on the size of your company, you might have a system in place where young recruits are gşven the opportunity to work in – or shadow other staff – different departments so that they get the bigger picture of how the company operates.
Importantly, holding meetings with new young recruits and outlining a map for them will be a positive start to their career. What happens in week 1, week 2…after 1 month…after two months?
If they have targets to meet and training and development programmes that they know they will be attending within certain time frames, they will feel they have something to work towards rather than just arriving for work day to day and wondering what is next.
Young people are increasingly looking for roles where personal and career development is taken seriously.
Set Achievable Goals & Targets
We all know that feeling of achievement and satisfaction when we have completed a task successfully and on time – and ticked it off.
For young people starting in your workplace, achievable goals and targets that have a short time frame can really boost the employee experience.
For example, if a school leaver is about to begin an Apprenticeship programme with you, they have a rough idea of how long their Apprenticeship will take to complete. If this is a two year time frame, that can seem like a distant goal.
Mapping out each section with them and outlining targets and dates within those two years will give them more achievable targets to work towards and give them a more concrete idea of theşr progress.
It also gives you a clearer picture as to how your Apprentice is progressing and how engaged they are.
Communicate With Staff
Another way to help create a positive employee experience is by having a culture of regular communication.
Hold meetings with staff to keep them in the picture about where the company is heading and what is coming up in the future. If you have attended meetings outside of the workplace to do with your sector, what was the outcome of the meeting?
Keep staff up to date with any new contracts the company might have won or any big targets that have been met. If training, courses or other staff development processes are upcoming, make your team aware of them.
Share customer feedback with them. If you have received some excellent customer feedback, share it with your staff and show them that you appreciate what they have done. This boosts morale.
All of this contributes towards staff feel like they are trusted and that they belong to the company. This sense of belonging and the knowledge of the state of the company can give them a why for theşr role and make them more motivated and engaged.
Have Wellness Programmes In Place
We have written in the past about mindfulness and wellness in the workplace. If your staff are stressed and feeling burnt out by their workload or the culture of the workplace then their employee experience will be negative.
This means they are more likely to look for a new role elsewhere or, even if they do stay with your company, they will be less engaged and likely to take time off sick.
Taking wellness and mindfulness seriously shows staff that you value them, not just for the work that they do but also as human beings.
Obviously, if you are a small company, you are not going to be able to add a state of the art gym to the side of your building but there are lots of strategies you can employ that demonstrates to your staff that their positive physical and mental health is taken very seriously.
For example, it can be something as simpöe as walking or running groups. Or you could introduce a meditation session at the start of each day.
Again, you can ask your team of staff what they would like to see, in this regard.
Show Appreciation & Recognition
This is obviously important for all staff but it can be especially valuable for new young recruits who might feel a bit swamped and invisible; especially in bigger workplaces.
Appreciation can be something as simple as a thank you – it doesn’t need to be something that costs money.
And recognition can take many forms from pay increases to promotion to bonuses and gifts. Again, if you are a smaller company, these gifts don’t need to be lavish. A simple card or a certificate can make individuals feel recognised and valued.
For smaller companies, it can be easier for managers and owners to witness employees who might be going above and beyond or who are performing really well. It can be easier for them to spot a younger employee who might have been struggling to grasp an aspect of their job but they are now finding their way around it and improving quickly.
Acknowledging this is important.
In larger companies, if you are a CEO or in a position of higher management, don’t just leave the appreciation to team leaders or department managers. Communicate with them so that you know how different departments, teams and individuals are performing. Use this to show your personal appreciation and recognition.
Appreciation like this can be the difference between young recruits staying around in your company or leaving because they feel invisible and unvalued.
Trust Your Younger Recruits
Whilst we have mentioned the need for support and guidance for young school leavers and other young recruits, it can also be beneficial to trust them with more challenging tasks in the workplace and giving them a degree of independence to complete those tasks.
A challenge in the workplace can make younger employees feel more engaged and involved and accepted if you can show they are trusted to be able to do the task and ask for any support from more experienced staff if needed.
If they feel like you are investing in them by encouraging them to learn and progress, this will boost the positivity of the employee experience.
Depending on the culture of your company and the size of the operation you are in charge of, creating a completely positive employee experience is not going to happen overnight. But it is easy to start taking immediate steps to do this – and to make your team of staff aware that this is what is going to happen.
These are just a few of the steps that can be implemented for starting to create a positive employee experience. Perfection might be impossible but there are always strategies that can be put into place to head towards perfection.