‘THE GREAT RESIGNATION’ was coined due to the great exodus of millions of employees worldwide within the last year and a half from the organisations they work. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 4.5 million people left their jobs in November 2021 in search of more flexibility, greater purpose, and increased pay. Manpower Group reports that 69% of organisations say that employee retention has now become a significant burden as they are faced with the daily fear of losing their top talent and have begun to seek talent retention strategies to prevent this fear from becoming a reality. Creating a positive employee experience for employees has become one key strategy in retaining top talents in organisations.
Before delving deeper, we need to understand what Talent Retention and Employee Experience mean.
Talent retention refers to an organisation’s efforts to prevent high turnover rates and retain its best talents/employees. It is not always about keeping all current employees; rather, it is to retain those with the talent, drive, and desire to bring their A-game to work every day and contribute to the organisation’s bottom line. Talent retention leads to improved productivity, company culture, and employee morale. Generally, the happier employees are, the longer they’ll stay.
Employee experience (EX) is everything an employee sees and encounters at work. It has a broad meaning and encompasses all employee and employer interactions.
Focusing on employee experience has gained momentum in recent years. Interestingly, EX in the workplace enables a company to flourish. Employees want their organisations to deliver an experience that meets and sometimes exceeds their expectations and is personalised, more meaningful, digital, and user-friendly. This helps greatly to retain them.
Delivering a Great Employee Experience
Employee Experience is a journey, and when viewed from start to finish, it can be broken down into seven different stages. The employee experience occurs at every touchpoint. This occurs even before the employee is working for the organisation. Given the importance of employee experience today, thoughtfully designing each stage of the employee journey not only assists in attracting talent but also in retaining them.
With more employees taking a stand about their job expectations, it’s critical to have a positive workplace experience as your brand’s value proposition. Develop a great employer brand that employees want to be a part of and tie together the purpose, vision, and values. Make your workplace a talent development powerhouse. The easiest way to accomplish this is to keep your ear to the ground and respond to feedback. A best practice would be to monitor your online reputation actively and maintain a constant presence throughout social media.
This is the second stage of the employee experience. But this stage doesn’t start when a candidate signs the offer letter. Like the attraction stage, the hiring stage starts before the individual becomes an employee. It looks at the candidate’s experience during the process. Were your job ads attractive and clear enough to catch the attention and applications of the best candidates? Did your interview process engage and reassure great candidates, so they quickly accepted your job offer? How was the entire candidate experience?
When an employee starts a new job, it’s important to get real-time feedback. The onboarding stage looks at the employee’s experience to get up to speed at their new organisation. This starts on day one of employment. Organisations with positive onboarding experiences cover a few different tactics, which are a positive and welcoming environment, a deep sense of belonging and inclusion from day one, discussion around the company’s core values, mission, and strategy, workplace experience, regular meetings and check-ins to assess how the onboarding experience is going and an opportunity to provide and feedback.
It is important to ensure that seeking feedback is an ongoing process throughout an employee’s tenure to beat the competition for talent retention. This helps to get regular insight into how the employee is doing and address any ongoing concerns. The goal is always to keep the relationship alive and mutually beneficial. Today’s companies require continuous input rather than an annual employee survey. Regular pulse surveys provide insights into current issues and a holistic way to optimise the employee experience.
Any employee who has spent significant time at the company and in their current role yearns to acquire new skills and learn new concepts to increase their productivity and engagement. When progress is limited, employees get bored and seek new challenges. This affects the bottom line and creates a vacuum when employees switch brands. Annual performance reviews have become traditional. Such reviews are less common than prompt surveys, and employers could never be sure if they provide a significant benefit. Instead, timely feedback at every stage of the employee lifecycle informs employees that their insights drive change.
Listening to employees that have chosen to leave the organisation helps to get important insights that could otherwise point to previously unnoticed problems. Using exit interviews to solicit feedback from exiting employees gives them open perspectives. If the reasons are valid, the areas that require immediate action should be addressed to prevent the issue from affecting other employees. Simply put, listening to them shows a commitment to improving employee engagement quality and retaining key talent.
Creating an alumni system is a vital stage in the employee life cycle. Ex-employees have been seen to migrate and occasionally return to knock for opportunities, join the customer’s brand, or be questioned about their past employment. Therefore, staying in touch with former employees, building an alumni community, and involving them in company events can be a positive experience.
Designing your Employee Experience Strategy
Employee experience is ultimately about creating personalised experiences, and when the strategy is broken down into three basic elements, it would be easy to design and shape a compelling employee experience for your workforce:
- Discover the moments that matter to your employees by collecting regular feedback from across the employee lifecycle
- Make company culture, technology and the physical workplace the best they can be
- Broaden your traditional HR functions to recognise the importance of customer experience and how employee experience impacts it.
Ultimately, investing in positive employee experience is crucial to creating an engaged workforce who wants to stay with you, and it’s an effective way of reducing staff turnover.