The employee experience is a journey that begins the moment someone is recruited and ends when they move on to the next opportunity. According to Gallup, an exceptional experience is the result of “frequent, meaningful interactions over the course of their employment.” That experience is shaped by the employee’s manager, role in the organization, the team they work on, their workspace and their wellbeing. Organizations that have a greater focus on employee experience tend to outperform competitors by 122%.
The employee experience lifecycle generally follows several steps and, as mentioned, begins with recruiting and hiring top talent and ends with a positive exit experience. In between are the onboarding process, employee engagement, expectations, and career development steps that really reflect the bulk of time at an organization and have a big impact on employees’ opinions of their workplace. This is why it’s imperative that any organization look at the employee lifecycle as positive experiences lead to better productivity, retainment of top performers, increased employer branding both online and off, and creates an atmosphere for continuous improvement.
A big part of that positive journey comes from the workplace culture and relationships that employees cultivate during their tenure, as a positive employee experience promotes strong relationships and teamwork within the organization. When employees feel connected and supported by their colleagues and superiors, their overall wellbeing improves, creating a sense of belonging and fulfillment.
“Belonging and inclusion are so important that when we feel isolated or excluded, or that lack of belonging, the same pain receptors light up in our brains as when we’re in physical pain,” said Amy Johnston, clinical director at Urban Wellness. “That really makes you wonder what are the negative impacts of not feeling included, not belonging in the workplace, and not having those relationships.”
Johnston went on to point out that work is stressful, and in a lot of organizations’ stressors are not going away. “There are always things that are taxing on us, but having those workplace relationships really buffer against the negative impacts of those stressors and the stress response in our bodies,” said Johnston.
To foster a positive and productive employee experience, communicators should work with HR to prioritize the various facets of employee wellbeing. That could include getting the word out about new programs and initiatives to support things like physical and mental health, wellness programs, gym facilities, mental health resources, counseling services and flexible health benefits. Socializing these aspects of your employee value proposition will ensure that employees feel connected with them and want to engage.
“When people feel connected and supported, they’re more productive, efficient and creative,” Johnston explained. “We talk a lot about the need to build psychological safety in the workplace, and what that really means is for people to feel that they can take risks, make mistakes, and challenge the status quo. It allows them to come up with new ideas and try new things without fear of negative consequences. And the benefit of that is innovation and potentially the next big idea.”
The more practical win of a positive employee experience is reduced turnover. If employees are burning out left and right, employers are getting stuck in a termination and hiring process loop that’s costing them money. Organizations should think about the financial benefits of keeping people engaged and happy in order to make the employee’s journey a long one.
The overall employee experience is critical for organizations. This August 14-16, Ragan’s annual Employee Experience & Wellness Conference will give companies a unique opportunity to connect all the dots — from onboarding to offboarding. Register now!
Jon Minnick is a conference and awards events producer and will be attending the Employee Experience & Wellness Conference.
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