Focusing on employee experience is vital if you want to improve recruitment and retain your team. We look at some simple ways to help you make your employee experience better…
How often have you looked at how you can improve your customer’s experience? Whether it is updating the online buying process or improving sales aftercare, it is probably something you do as a matter of course.
And yet while you are busy ensuring that your customers have the best experience – acknowledging that they live in the 21st century and can make the most of all that technology can offer them – many companies are just not doing the same for their staff!
Of course, it is easier for the big names, such as Google, to offer flexible working, staff incentives, team building days out, social opportunities and so on, but there are things that smaller companies can focus on too.
Making sure that your employees get the best possible experience ensures that you will be able to recruit the best people – and retain them on your payroll too. Not only that, but if they are getting the best experience from work, this will be passed on to your customers, with staff being more focused, more efficient and more likely to be enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand.
After all, in so many sectors – retail, sales, media, hospitality and so on – your staff are your best asset. Surely it makes sense to take care of them, including their health and safety etc – the same way you would ensure your lorries were well maintained if you were a transport company, or your servers were looked after if you were an IT company.
Research also shows that a positive employee experience results in better productivity. [IBM Smarter Workforce Institute: The Employee Experience Index, September 2016].
Keep up to date
First, take a look at the tools you expect your staff to use. In a world where virtually every home has a laptop, smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs, coming to work and having to use an out-of-date operating system, or slow laptop can be frustrating and can really impact on their productivity.
Allowing your staff access to social media – in the right environment and with guidance – shows that you respect their work ethic and besides, so much work contact goes on around social media now – LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and so on are useful business tools now, not just time-wasting fripperies. However, it is important to recognise that in some workplaces and certain situations, this would not be appropriate.
You should also be open to your employees’ thoughts and opinions. Organise regular group meetings to bounce ideas around, or where they feel enabled to bring up any issues without fear of retribution. Or perhaps use technology – Microsoft Teams or Yammer maybe – to have group discussions. Particularly appropriate if you have staff who work at home, or from other remote locations.
Ensuring the satisfaction of employees who don’t come into the office or who work from a less central location is key. Allowing them to book holidays using cloud software, or to update documents and project paperwork held in a central location will enable them to feel more engaged.
Offering flexible working will also help to retain staff, especially those who may have family commitments. Allowing the opportunity to work at home, or to stagger hours to enable them to drop the kids at school, or look in on an elderly relative can make their lives a lot easier, resulting in less stress for them, and allowing them to concentrate on work during their allocated hours. They are also far more likely to stay loyal to a company that acknowledges that they have a life outside of the office.
Thanks for everything
Recognising your employee contributions is also vital. And it needn’t cost the earth. Just a compliment about someone’s work can be enough – maybe some lovely fancy biscuits by the kettle to say thanks to the team for a job well done? If you can afford a lunch out for the team – great – but grand gestures are not always necessary. If someone has done something to really raise your productivity or made a major sale, a bonus or pay rise may be in order, but it’s amazing how just an acknowledgment of a great idea or creative effort can really boost someone’s mood. As can a chance to advance their career. Offering your staff opportunities to improve themselves and advance within your company will ensure they don’t move on elsewhere.
Not all positions lend themselves to promotion, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer training to help people broaden their skillsets. And in order to help them keep up in an ever-changing world, ensure there are opportunities to gain skills in the latest technological advances – social media skills for the marketing team perhaps, as well as training in any new software that you bring on board.
The user experience for your employees should be as good as the user experience for your customers. Think about the processes within your company. How easy is it for new staff to find out how everything works, how they can apply for holidays, or overtime? If a member of staff needs to take maternity leave, how easy is it for them to access the necessary information?
And how easy is the day-to-day experience at work? Is there car parking? If not, how does your company help them to find or pay for a space? Is the commute to your office a nightmare? Could you stagger office hours to make this easier?
These little things can make a big difference to your staff and allow them a better work/life balance – which ultimately is what many of us are looking for.
If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761 288 or contact us here.
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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.