The concept of “employee experience” is evolving. It’s no longer enough to make sure everyone has a place to sit and the tools they need to perform their job—employee experience goes well beyond setting up a few ping pong tables and making sure kombucha is on tap. People and Talent leaders now think about how they can create the best possible environment to help employees thrive and excel, both personally and professionally. The employee experience begins once a candidate finds and applies to a job and continues through to an employee’s last day at your company.
We recently gathered a panel of People professionals to dive into this topic in the “Why You Need an Employee Experience Strategy” webinar. What exactly is employee experience and how should companies approach their strategy?
Jeremy Cosme, Senior Associate of People Operations at Namely, Kristie Kuo, People Operations Coordinator at Namely, Stacey Nordwall, Senior People Operations Manager at Culture Amp, and Kara Sang, Employee Experience Manager at Greenhouse shared a few stories from the field and strategies to help you improve your own employee experience. Keep reading to catch the highlights from the webinar, or watch the full recorded version here.
Defining employee experience
To kick off the conversation, Kristie Kuo, People Operations Coordinator at Namely shared the following definition of employee experience:
The employee experience is what happens when and employee interacts with your organization. It starts with how they first find and apply for a job at your company and ends with how they leave and includes everything in between
– Jacob Morgan, Author, Forbes
Kristie also surveyed the live webinar audience to find out how many attendees currently have an employee experience strategy. The vast majority—71% of attendees—do not have an employee experience strategy in place at the moment. If your company falls into that group, we’re going to outline some practical steps you can take.
Jeremy Cosme, Senior Associate of People Operations at Namely, explained that the concepts of employee experience, engagement, and company culture are distinct but related.
Engagement relies heavily on a strong and consistent culture and ultimately a meaningful employee experience.
– Jeremy Cosme, Senior Associate of People Operations, Namely
Which elements contribute to employee experience?
When you’re beginning to consider how to positively influence employee experience at your organization, it helps to think about the various touch points that affect employees. These include business rhythm (what employees can expect on a recurring basis, especially regarding their workload and relationship with their manager), employee recognition (which includes feedback and appreciation), culture, positive work environment, meaningful work, and internal mobility (which can include both vertical and horizontal growth opportunities that allow employees to explore their interests). Many employee experience initiatives can be tied to one or more of these touch points.
Stories from the field
Stacey Nordwall, Senior People Operations Manager at Culture Amp, shared a few successful initiatives at Culture Amp, including the company’s Wellbeing Guide, different Learning & Development programs, and volunteering opportunities. While each of these programs touches a different part of the employee experience, Stacey explains that they were all guided by unifying themes that led to their success. Culture Amp strives to involve employees in the development of programs and give them flexibility in adapting the programs to their individual needs. For example, any employee has the opportunity to participate in the Learn Yourself Up program, but they get to choose what and when they learn.
Jeremy and Kristie shared that an employee experience survey helped them discover that Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging are key concerns for Namely employees. The People team has supported several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), giving employees from different backgrounds the chance to organize events and provide educational opportunities to their coworkers. They recommend letting ERGs be a grassroots effort that’s spearheaded by employees while also having someone from the People team present at meetings to help guide them towards concrete actions.
Kara Sang, Employee Experience Manager at Greenhouse shared a few examples of employee recognition at Greenhouse, including the “Employee Warm Fuzzies” channel on Slack. The channel is powered by a bot that shares birthdays, work anniversaries, and promotions, but the real fun happens when employees use this forum to give shout-outs to coworkers, whether it’s for something small like bringing a snack to the office or a big accomplishment like taking on a particularly tricky project.
These stories provide a cross-section of the employee experience—we’re just scratching the surface of all the possible initiatives and programs you could put in place in your own company The panelists suggested that a good place to start is by understanding what matters most to your employees. You can conduct surveys or focus groups to gather data and try out pilots with small sub-sections or departments to see what sparks interest and participation.
Tune in to the full webinar to hear more about the strategies our panelists use to get buy-in and measure the success of their programs. You can watch the full recording here.
Watch the webinar