Recently, I have noticed an increase in job postings for positions related to Employee Engagement and Communications. However, about a year ago, I saw job postings for roles focused on Employee Experience and Onboarding. While onboarding and communication are essential parts of the employee experience, they are not the only factors contributing to employee engagement.
Other factors influencing employee engagement and experience include company culture, work-life balance, job satisfaction, recognition, career growth, and development opportunities. Additionally, there is often confusion regarding the distinction between employee engagement and experience. While they are related concepts, they are not interchangeable, and understanding the difference between them is essential for creating a positive workplace culture.
Employee Engagement vs Employee Experience
Employee engagement refers to the level of enthusiasm and dedication that employees have for their work and the company. Engaged employees are more productive, committed, and willing to go beyond their job requirements. However, it is important to note that employee engagement is just one aspect of the broader employee experience.
In contrast, the employee experience encompasses all the interactions and encounters employees have with their employer. It is the sum of all employee interactions and experiences throughout their journey. It includes everything from the job application process, onboarding, training and development, compensation and benefits, company culture, management practices, and more.
Creating a positive employee experience is crucial for companies to attract and retain top talent, build a diverse and inclusive workplace, and stay competitive in today's market. By investing in all aspects of the employee journey, companies can create an environment that fosters engagement, motivation, and retention.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin
Challenges in the Future of Work
As I study the future of work and consider how businesses must adapt to the new employment climate, it's clear that many challenges must be addressed. These challenges include a recruitment process that is broken, not inclusive and has difficulties in accurately measuring a person's knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Additionally, the rapid advancement of new technologies has brought about a need for continuous learning and development to keep pace with the evolving workforce demands. Businesses must address these challenges proactively to attract and retain top talent, create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and stay competitive in today's market.
Therefore, they must prioritize creating a positive employee experience by investing in all aspects of the employee journey to build a workplace culture that encourages engagement, motivation, and retention.
Building a Culture of Trust and Inclusion
To truly create an exceptional employee experience that leads to high levels of engagement, businesses need to build a culture that supports a psychological contract built on trust between employee and employer.
Trust is a critical component of any workplace culture and requires exemplary leadership practices, buy-in from all levels of management and a commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. A resilient psychological contract between employee and employer means creating an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and supported and requires exemplary leadership practices where leaders demonstrate behaviours such as transparency, honesty, empathy, and trustworthiness.
Leaders should also create opportunities for feedback and encourage open communication, which can help to build trust between employees and the organization. Buy-in from all levels of the organization is also critical to creating a positive workplace culture. Employees at all levels should be involved in creating and maintaining a culture that supports engagement and promotes a positive employee experience and needs to promote a safe place for feedback. Feedback could be solicited through conducting employee surveys, one-on-one meetings, and creating employee-led committees or task forces to address workplace issues.
Finally, building a culture that supports a resilient psychological contract requires a commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace by ensuring that all employees have equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. Therefore, creating a culture supporting a resilient psychological contract requires a multi-faceted approach that involves leadership, buy-in and a commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. By focusing on these areas, businesses can create a workplace environment that supports engagement, motivation, and retention, ultimately leading to a positive employee experience.
During the Industrial Revolution, employees were generally viewed as a means to an end - a necessary component of the production process. Consequently, they were often treated as replaceable, and their well-being and job satisfaction were not considered essential. However, in today's day and age, this should not be the case. We have evolved in our humanity and will continue to grow. Additionally, with the introduction of technology, people have more choices and can easily hurt an employer's brand through social media. Therefore, businesses should view their employees as valuable assets and partners in achieving organizational goals. They should be seen as individuals with unique skills, talents, and perspectives that can contribute to the business's success.
Employees are now consumers of the employee journey, which needs to be more than a paycheck at the end of the week. Organizations should be working towards creating positive, supportive work environments that foster engagement, motivation, and retention. It also needs to fit their wants and desires if a business wants them to buy into what they are selling. Therefore to provide the best possible experience for an employee, the employer must know what the employee thinks, feels and does as they consume their time at work.
Seeking Employee Feedback
To identify areas for improvement, businesses need to seek employee feedback through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, town hall meetings or employee engagement software. As mentioned before, a level of trust must be built to get honest and valid feedback from your employees. There is a direct correlation between trust and employee feedback on engagement surveys. It is critical for employees to feel comfortable providing feedback and expressing their opinions without fear of retribution or retaliation. Therefore when employees trust their employer, they are more likely, to be honest and provide accurate feedback on engagement surveys. Once the trust levels go up, so will participation and the accuracy of the input.
It's essential to take this feedback seriously and use it to make changes that will improve the employee experience. As trust levels increase, you can add other avenues for feedback, like focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and town hall meetings. Go for the low-hanging fruit first; these processes will create the most impact for the employee and the most value for the business. Also, be wary of the hygiene factors contributing to a bad employee experience. These are of high importance to the employee but do not add value to the business. Still, if they remain, they will impact everything else.
Finally, be prepared to iterate because as engagement increases, so will the quantity and quality of feedback. Finding the pain points in the employee lifecycle that impact the employee experience will also get more manageable. Additionally, businesses must recognize that the employee experience is an ongoing process requiring continuous improvement. The workplace is constantly evolving, and companies need to adapt and change to meet the needs of their employees.
While employee engagement activities and communications are important pieces of the puzzle, they cannot provide an employee experience worthy of their full engagement. Instead, businesses must view their employees as valuable assets and partners in achieving organizational goals. Treat them as such and provide them with an exceptional employee experience. To do this, employers must actively seek out what employees think, feel, and do as they consume processes and time at work. To make this possible, organizations must create a strong culture built on trust that fosters inclusivity and encourages ongoing feedback and improvement. As a result, employees will be more engaged and productive, and the company's culture will be strengthened, making it a more attractive place to work. In turn, the company and employees are better aligned, has a greater ability to attract and retain top talent and will remain competitive in today's market.