More and more, businesses are finding that it isn’t just money that attracts someone to a job; it’s the entire employee experience. People want a job that aligns with their values, makes them feel purposeful, and gives them opportunities to grow.
Just as businesses interview candidates before hiring them, candidates evaluate potential employers and consider what life will be like for them if hired. Organizations that want to hire the best people for long-term commitments must consider what impacts their employees’ overall mental, physical, and financial wellbeing in the workplace.
To start, the employee experience goes beyond employee engagement, and engagement is not necessarily indicative of a positive experience.
What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience takes into account what the sum of all employees at an organization believe and feel about every aspect of their employment. It’s not just about them being engaged and motivated in the workplace. Experience considers the physical, technological, and cultural environment employees encounter throughout their life-cycle there.
The overall health and satisfaction of the employee experience is based on the consistent day-to-day influences like the workspace, communication, and the availability of tools needed to facilitate a job. A disconnected worker can still have a good work performance but they may never truly reach their full potential until they feel supported at work.
Employees are more likely to be happy and care about the health of their job and organization if they know their wellbeing is taken into consideration, the leaders are supportive and show integrity, and the environment is inclusive. Employee experience not interchangeable with employee engagement because it’s not limited to short-term perks. It behooves companies to put their employees at the center of their success plan and long-term goals.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is different in that there are certain conditions and environments that are optimal for staff to feel committed to the overall success of an organization. These are based on emotional, psychological, and social desires that employees need to perform their work well.
Employees are more engaged when they feel that what they’re doing matters and that management values what they bring to the table. Managers play a fundamental role in employee engagement. 70% of changes in employee engagement, good or bad, happen because of the manager. In addition, there is simply greater satisfaction at work when you know what’s expected of you, you have the materials you need to succeed, and you feel your input matters and contributes to the total success of an organization.
How Do They Differ?
Employee engagement is the output a business wants from their staff. Employee experience is the input team members need to be effective and yield positive long-term results. By improving the employees’ experience of your organization, you will get more engaged employees.
Employee engagement generally focuses on the workplace, productivity, and basically what the employees can do for the employer. Employee experience focuses on the worker as a human being and what the company can offer them. As previously mentioned, engagement is often measured in shorter time frames and the circumstances that encourage /discourage engagement can fluctuate. Experience is the measurement of one’s entire career at one organization.
How to Encourage Positive Employee Experience?
The employee experience looks at the employee’s entire career. Employees must be engaged from onboarding to performance and growth to their eventual exit. Disengagement at any stage can lead to a negative employee experience. For employee experience to be the best it can be, leaders and managers should problem-solve for critical questions like:
- How can we ensure new employees feel part of the team?
- Do employees know where to get support or resources they need?
- Do they know what’s expected of them and understand the job requirements?
- Are they getting enough feedback?
- Do they feel they’re part of a well-functioning team and supported by their peers and leaders?
- Do they have fair and equal access to development opportunities?
- Are their physical and mental wellbeing supported during periods of learning and growth?
- And finally, upon exiting a company; do they feel they were treated fairly and that appropriate measures were put in place to ensure they had a good experience at the company?
- What could have been done to better support employees and their longevity with the company?
- Can that help and support current or future employees?
Since employee engagement is influenced by their experience at work in general, it’s easy to improve both at the same time through mindful changes that create a more inclusive, supportive environment.
A bad employee experience at any point can lead to disengagement, increased absences, low productivity, and increased employee turnover, which can end up costing companies more in the long run for replacement and training.
Leaders have to think about everything from culture to well-being to purpose. It must go beyond “Free Bagel Breakfast Fridays” or having ping pong tables in the break room. It’s about positive job experiences as well as incentives like health insurance and retirement plans.
Company culture is a product of the shared beliefs and values of your employees. If they’re not engaging in the leadership’s idea of what the culture should be, communication should be opened up to the employees. Giving employees greater authority to affect decisions will make them more engaged, and knowing they have some ownership or responsibility over how the environment is cultivated will improve the overall employee experience.
In today’s culture, many people find that they can either work a job for money or work a job that’s meaningful, but it’s hard to find a job that offers both. As companies reflect on how they can improve the health of their employee engagement, they’ll hopefully consider the potential long-term benefit to their employees’ overall experience. Like anything else, business is a give and take and for companies to get the most benefit out of their employee relationships, they must offer more than a simple paycheck.
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