Employee Engagement and the Employee Experience

“Take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your business.” – Richard Branson. In other words, a highly engaged workforce drives business outcomes.
How engaged are employees at your organization? How high a priority is employee experience?
And what exactly do we mean when we talk about “employee experience”? The term “employee experience” is shorthand for the ways in which an organization supports and interacts with each of its employees— from the time they’re recruited until the day they leave the company. You may also hear it described as the “employee journey.”
You can create a workplace where employees want to work by focusing on three areas that make up the core of the employee experience. It can be summed up with this equation:
Culture + Technology + Physical Space = Employee Experience.
Building engagement and positive employee experiences requires four steps.
  • Select an owner of employee experience.
  • Deliver a consumer-grade employee experience.
  • Start a consistent, two-way dialogue with employees.
  • Measure for accountability.
Engagement in one’s work is critical for someone’s ability to feel empowered, be productive, stay motivated, be satisfied and to find their work meaningful—all factors that are directly connected to their underlying health and wellbeing as a person.
Employee happiness is what happens when well-being and job satisfaction collide. But 83 percent of today’s employees consider work their greatest source of stress. This shows us that if we want to begin lowering employees’ stress, the workplace is a great place to start.
One way to do this is by implementing programs for employee wellness and happiness. Wellness has been popularized as a business topic in recent years. However, finding a group of executives willing to seriously discuss the state of employee happiness is still unusual.
Yet study upon study proves that happy employees are better employees – they sell 37 percent more, take 66 percent fewer sick days, and companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20 percent.
Employee happiness should no longer be a novel concept. Shortlister compiled some guidelines to boost interest and engagement in your wellness programs:
  1. Gauge Employees’ Interests – Create an initial survey to send to employees to figure out what programs they would like to see happen.
  2. Communicate – Create an open line of communication, don’t just display a poster or send out an email before the activity or event.
  3. Bring services on-site – Asking employees to go off-site may lead to a drop in attendance. Consider finding providers that can come to the office or a nearby space.
  4. Be flexible – Don’t be afraid to mix up programming. Try boot camps, yoga, bowling teams, etc.
  5. Encourage leadership to join in – There is a positive trickle-down effect and everyone in the company is more likely to get involved.
  6. Post on social media – Snap photos and post them to social media. This helps promote the activities as fun, inclusive events that help people get to know their coworkers. As a bonus, this helps show potential new hires behind the scenes of your culture.
  7. Get competitive – Hosting companywide health challenges can promote participation and build camaraderie among teams.
  8. Provide options – No matter how motivating and fun workouts can be, not everyone has the desire or time to exercise at the office. Make sure to offer custom wellness content that employees can consume on their own time.
Why does the employee experience matter? By providing employees with the opportunities, tools and programs to help them excel at and enjoy their working lives, employee experience initiatives can help organizations in a number of areas.
  • Attract talent
  • Embrace a strong company culture
  • Encourage engagement
  • Recognize achievement
  • Boost productivity
  • Fuel loyalty and retention
The employee experience is ongoing. It begins with attraction and ends at separation.
Attraction focuses on the process of building awareness of an organization and its brand image, whether or not a position is currently open.
Recruitment encompasses the application and interview processes a candidate goes through when applying for an open position.
Onboarding begins when an offer is accepted and can vary in duration from one organization to another, although new hires are particularly vulnerable during the first 90 days.
Enablement includes the processes or tactics designed to engage, educate, and otherwise develop and nurture an employee once they’re on the job. While it typically overlaps with onboarding, it should continue for as long as the employee works for the company.
Separation refers to the time when an employee leaves the company— whether it’s due to voluntary or involuntary circumstances.
As author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek famously tweeted in 2014: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”