Guide to employee experience management
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
In this article, we write about employee experience management. We will briefly address the customer experience, as a starting process related to the employee experience concept. We will use the abbreviation EX (employee experience) in the rest of the article.
The customer is the king! Or not so much?
Customer experience (CX), unlike EX, has been around for many years. The buyer is the king and accepting this rule makes it logical that we want to give these kings the best possible experiences when using our products or services. Therefore, almost every company actively manages the customer experience. But what exactly does that mean?
Managing a customer experience means researching, understanding, measuring, analyzing and optimizing all customer interactions and "touch points" with product, service or brand with the aim of creating positive experiences that will always make the customer to want to choose our product, service, brand. All companies facing competition want to improve the customer experience. With the growth of the service sector and digital products, this area is gaining importance and becoming a central topic in marketing departments around the world.
What does this mean for the work experience or EX? We have said that the customer is the king, but in the last 15-20 years this is no longer the absolute truth. Due to the already mentioned growth of the service sector and digital products, for increasing number of companies and products employees are the ones which have a major impact on the customers. Consequently, it is not logical to expect the customers to feel like kings if you provide employees with work experiences and conditions worse than "royal" ones. Of course you can, for some time, ignore this context and the importance of how your employees feel every day at work. You might end up with the same thing that causes a loss of customers - the competition will do its best to create a better EX and will attract better employees. That is why EX is an extremely important approach for HR departments, but also for all levels that have the potential to influence EX in your companies (management and all employees).
What knowledge and skills do we need to improve EX?
As with any area that is new and unfamiliar to us, we should start from understanding our own resources and knowledge which we lack to gain a quality understanding of the area. To address this topic comprehensively and strategically, we recommend the approach that follows these steps.
#1 Education and project preparation
If EX is an area you want to improve in your organizations, you first need to educate yourself in that segment and try to understand the areas of impact of EX and the effects it can achieve on the organization.
#2 Design strategic roadmap of an EX strategy
At least to some extent define what you would like to improve, write goals and objectives, what activities, budget and resources you will need. For example, if you want to digitize and automate certain processes, you will probably need to develop or buy certain tools and teach someone how to work with them. This step is important to understand what are all the other steps you will need to take to create an EX strategy. It will help you not to get lost, therefore it's a roadmap.
The purpose of EX management is to achieve a certain perception of your organization and the attractiveness of working in the organization (related to the employer brand strategy). It is not possible to have separate employer brand and HR goals from EX goals. Of course, it is only possible to have EX activities and goals, without employer brand goals, if the organization is not in the phase of more active management of the employer brand.
#3 Aligning EX strategy with employer brand strategy
EX is a comprehensive topic through which it is important to implement the intended employer brand strategy and "activate" it in the organization through the customization of EX. Simplified: managing an employer brand means recognizing the needs of your employees (and future employees) and promising them specific work experiences. The way this promise is fulfilled in companies is through the day-to-day management of EX. To achieve a particular perception of an employer brand, you need to create a targeted EX that will reinforce that perception.
You want to position your company as a place of work where high internal mobility and job transitions are welcomed and seen as a growth opportunities. This means that a number of work experiences and activities need to be created in order to promote this internal mobility opportunities in the employee life cycle. From the first to the last day, the employee should have the support and a number of positive incentives to take advantage of such opportunities, from the selection of training, direct manager support, the way to apply for internal positions, the speed of feedback, etc. This is how your desired perception of the employer brand (growth through internal mobility) will be seen as authentic because employees will experience this created experience (EX) through everyday examples.
#4 Aligning EX strategy to the culture of the organization
EX is the culture of the organization, the culture of the organization is EX. Similar to the employer brand theme, coherence of these activities is required so that you do not waste resources and create conflicting goals and activities.
#5 Aligning EX strategy to CX strategy
Ultimately, the purpose is to have aligned values and activities that will support greater work satisfaction for your employees and customers. If employees have certain positive experiences every day, it will be easier to pass them on to your customers. For example, Adobe has created a department that is responsible for both customer and employee experience, which is a logical direction because you want to align experience management in both areas.
#6 EX Analysis with a tool called Employee Journey Mapping
In marketing known as customer experience mapping.
You want to understand all stages of the employee work cycle and optimize interactions to manage and influence greater job satisfaction. For example, by analyzing customer experience in the sales department, you learn that your customers are dissatisfied with the support of their account managers at the time of contract renewal. In order to have an improvement of customer experience in that "buyer and account manager" touch point, you need to understand the EX of that account manager in that same touch point. Then you need to find a new solution that will improve EX, such as changing the process and how a customer renews a contract with your business, which will also affect the customer experience.
#7 Process design and job design (Job Descriptions and Tasks)
This is the stage where most companies will shake their heads, shrug their shoulders and continue on to doing work the "old" way. It's a shame, because in order to have a major impact on EX, in most cases there will have to be a change in the processes and tasks in your organisations.
#8 Change management and transformation processes
Starting from the beginning and building CX and EX as essential topics in your organization, over time you will embark on a series of changes and transformations for the organization to achieve the expected synergies and better manage these activities. This brings some new challenges and the know-how needed to successfully align such processes.
The employee experience is the perception that employees create through their experiences at work and a collection of three environmental factors: the culture, the technology we work with, and the physical environment (everything you can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste in the office). Today, it is considered that there is a high correlation between EX management and better work engagement, job satisfaction, greater employee involvement in the business, greater commitment to the topic of employer branding and successful employee retention. Please read more in this article by Robert Grover. This Robert's sentence is a great summary to our article:
Gaining an employee experience advantage means first understanding the concept.
For a broader understanding of the topic, we also suggest the book:
We do employer branding training and workshops, if interested to learn more and apply to our online workshop about Employee Value Proposition please click here.