The Employee Experience

The Employee Experience

by Lisa Odalen PHR, SHRM-CP, on June 14, 2024
From the moment someone fills out an application until their last day, everything in between is the employee experience. The employee experience is how an employee perceives their time at your company, and those feelings can range from extremely positive to extremely negative.

The employee experience has three main parts: onboarding, day-to-day, and offboarding. In this article, we will discuss how a positive employee experience can significantly impact your business.

Why the Employee Experience is Important

With more jobs available, the race is on to attract the best talent. Your business needs to stand out among others to attract top-tier talent. This all begins with the employee experience, which is the foundation of the employee journey. Building a positive experience for your employees helps your organization create a reputable employer brand. A positive employee experience can lead to a positive work experience, higher productivity, better retention, and easier recruitment.

The Hiring/Onboarding Experience

First impressions are crucial and can make or break someone's perception of your business. The hiring and onboarding process is a potential employee’s first impression, so it needs to be thoughtful, clear, and organized. This hiring and onboarding process is made up of several factors.
  1. Job Description: The job description needs to be transparent and accurately represent the role’s responsibilities and expectations. Use exciting language that gives the candidate an idea of what it’s like to work there.
  2. Interview: This is the candidate’s first personal interaction. Interview questions should be constructed to ensure the candidate has the proper skills and experience and will be a good culture fit. Don’t keep candidates waiting too long and be sure everyone they interact with is friendly and encouraging.
  3. Decision Making: Regardless of the outcome, open and timely communication with the candidate is vital to the employee experience. Let them know where you are in the process and when a decision has been made.
  4. Pre-onboarding: The new employee needs to feel prepared for their first day. This means ensuring that their paperwork has been handled seamlessly and that they have all the necessary information and tools for a successful first day. Send them a Day 1 Itinerary to give them an idea of what to expect.
  5. First Day: If the employee experience has been positive so far, the employee should feel prepared for the first day. They will have a complete plan for getting started and know where to begin. Connect them with a “buddy” colleague for questions, introductions, and tours if applicable. Post a welcome sign at their workstation or give them some company swag as a welcome present.
  6. Training: Take a 360 degree look at your employee training and development strategy. Ensure the process is smooth and gets employees up to speed on key knowledge as quickly as possible. Learning the ins and outs of a new role with a new company can be overwhelming. Having a thorough training plan enhances employee readiness, job satisfaction, productivity, and the feeling of being welcomed and capable.

Once the hiring and onboarding process has been completed, asking for candidate feedback can help improve the process for future candidates. This can help you to identify any gaps or processes that can be adjusted. Learn more about other ways you can improve the onboarding process.

The Daily Experience

Now that your candidate has transitioned to an employee, the daily experience begins. The daily experience is crucial for improving job satisfaction, retention, and productivity. The factors below contribute to the employee’s daily experience.
  1. Work Environment: Some things to consider about work environments are comfortability and practicality. Having break rooms can help refresh your employees if they need a moment to reset. Ensuring the employee has proper tools and user-friendly technology improves the daily experience. What is the noise level like if the position is in-office? How do you ensure remote employees feel connected?
  2. Culture: An open line of communication can aid in problem-solving, support, and collaboration within the team. Encouraging employees to interact and having team-building exercises can help steer your culture in the right direction. Culture isn’t a “top down” program. It’s the set of attributes that describe your company and employees. It answers the question, “What’s it like to work there?”
  3. Work-life Balance: Employees need to have options for real-life situations. Flexibility in remote work, PTO, and M(P)aternity leave are all benefits that can help an employee feel valued and have a healthy work-life balance. It is essential to manage workloads and ensure employees are not overworked so they can meet realistic deadlines. Offering an Employee Assistance Program is another great way to support employees’ emotional and mental health.
  4. Recognition and Growth: Recognition programs can help employees feel seen and appreciated. Giving employees access to training, workshops, and mentorships can help them further their careers and increase job satisfaction.
  5. Feedback: Allowing employees to voice their suggestions and concerns in a safe space can help businesses adjust to improve the employee experience. This opportunity for open feedback can help make meaningful, impactful changes that can improve company culture.

While the hiring and onboarding experience is an essential first impression, most of the employee experience will come from the day-to-day experience. It is crucial to be thoughtful in every aspect of the average workday. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes and walk a mile to see the view.

The Offboarding Experience

The offboarding process can be easily overlooked. It is your final impression and your business’s last chance to gather information that could be beneficial in the future. A positive offboarding experience can leave you and the employee feeling satisfied and on good terms.
  1. Communication: A straightforward process for submitting a notification of resignation or retirement can help make the process easy. Having an open communication channel between you and your employees during this time can ensure nothing is overlooked before the employee’s last day. If an employee is being terminated, be kind and supportive during the process. Conducting an offboarding interview can help gather any information about the business that may help improve processes going forward.
  2. Maintaining Relationships: Offering support for your employees can help them feel appreciated for their time at your business. Being a reference for any future positions improves the offboarding experience. If you’re faced with a layoff, consider engaging a staffing company to help terminated employees find work.
  3. Farewells: For voluntary departures, a formal farewell acknowledging an employee's contributions to your business is a great way to end the overall employee experience and give everyone closure.

Have You Thought Through the Entire Employee Experience?

The employee experience consists of many small details that can be easily forgotten. A thorough employee experience strategy is important to improve work experience, productivity, and retention. A PEO relationship can help you attract the right talent and offer them the benefits they desire. It will also give you the technology to ensure your onboarding, training, and day-to-day employee experience is unparalleled. Contact us today to ensure that your employee experience helps your business attract and retain top talent.
Lisa Odalen PHR, SHRM-CP

Lisa is currently the Director of Relationship Management and Human Resources for LandrumHR. She has worked in strategic human resource development and change management with more than twenty years of experience in the Professional Employment Organization (PEO) industry. Lisa specializes in partnering with organizations for improved employee engagement, culture centricity, internal collaboration and strong people leadership. Lisa’s relationship management and client partnerships focus on aligning business objectives to maximize overall profitability. Lisa believes "If your people engagement is fostered and nurtured within your culture internally, this will drive your external results."

View more blogs by Lisa Odalen PHR, SHRM-CP