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Embrace HR Aylesbury adult-brainstorming-businesswoman

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.

Stay flexible

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.

Talk to us if you would like to learn more about HR cloud software.

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.

Employee experience

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.

Embrace HR Aylesbury People working

Do you value your staff above all else…?

Is your organisation a People Company? Does it put the success and well-being of its staff at the top of its dream board? And would your staff say this is true?

If so, congratulations, you truly have a People Company!

So what exactly is a People Company?

As we have already stated, it’s an organisation where the staff are highly valued, and where the management know that they need to help their people to develop in order to grow the company. Not only do the company’s leaders believe that, but their staff will know that they are important and valuable to the organisation. In return, these staff will value their place in the company and work to the best of their ability to help the organisation succeed.

One of the most vital factors is that employees actually believe that you, as an organisation, are people-oriented – which means the company’s actions must support this point of view.

The importance of the HR department

To keep and retain the best people, you must take on a proactive role, ensuring that staff are engaged, which in turn will increase levels of productivity. You need to be ahead of the game to succeed, to recruit the right people, to develop their skills, and to keep them on board.

To do this, HR must ensure that it is focusing on the people who work in the organisation. It means automating the processes it can, in order to let its HR team focus on what they are skilled at – getting the best out of the staff.

The importance of automating routine processes

Making it easy to do many HR tasks automatically and online makes sense. For instance, if your staff can book their own holidays using an online system, that’s a routine job that a member of the HR team doesn’t need to handle. If managers can book appraisals and other people-managing tasks online, yet again, it’s a job an HR person doesn’t have to be involved in.

And a new job title has emerged as this trend continues – Chief People Officers. They are likely to appear in the kind of forward-thinking organisations that always spring to mind, such as Google – but even the Cabinet Office has one in the shape of Rupert McNeil [GOV.UK Rupert McNeil] – providing “professional leadership on a range of people issues, including talent, capability, inclusion, capacity, pay and employee deal, performance, employee relations, culture and behaviours.”

It’s all about the experience

However, there’s more to being a People Company though – you need to ensure that your staff are being offered engaging working experiences throughout their time with you. It starts with the recruitment process – companies now must market their own brand to would-be employees, to ensure they attract the best possible candidates.

Finding out about your new staff during the recruitment process is vital – understand them and you’ll get to understand what drives them and what will make them want to stay within your company and succeed.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

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.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Satisfied employees

From a rather way out suggestion from a Swedish politician, to some rather more reserved suggestions – there are plenty of ways you can make your workplace a happier place!

HR professionals must have been left reeling in Sweden after a politician suggested that sex breaks in the workplace would be good for the physical and mental health of employees! The vote on his proposal is due in the spring, so we will look forward to seeing the results…

In the meantime, it is worth looking at how you can keep your employees happy in more conventional ways. After all, we all know how ensuring your workforce is content can result in better productivity for any company. It also encourages your people to stay with you, cutting back on time and resources spent on recruiting and training new staff.

Work/Life Balance

We are certainly not suggesting that you introduce conjugal breaks, but ensuring that your staff have a healthy work/life balance will help them maintain healthy relationships outside of work. And people who are in happy, healthy relationships tend to work better and be more focused, which can only be of benefit for your organisation. Considering policies that allow flexible working and discouraging a workplace culture of outside-hours working will also help.

When it comes to relationships at work, you need to consider whether you have some sort of Romance Policy in place, and what needs to happen should romances between colleagues flourish – according to reports around 15% of people meet partners at work, so it’s something that needs to be addressed by HR. I have written about this subject before.

Employee Benefits

A study in the Journal of Labor Economics in October 2015 found that happy employees generated about 12% more work than others, so it really is worth spending the time to ensure your staff are content, especially if you consider that research by employee benefits and perks company Perkbox found that 30% (that’s 6.5 million!) of UK workers are unhappy at work and would move jobs for better benefits.

A massive 69% said company perks and benefits were important to their overall satisfaction and more than a quarter pointed out that lack of reward and recognition for good work was their main grievance at work.

Recognition & Praise

Recognising and acknowledging good work and effort is not hard to do – encourage your managers to praise on a daily basis where it is due – and make sure that it is widely known that recognition can come in several forms, whether verbally, by email or for more major achievements using a more public vehicle such as company newsletter or intranet.

Holiday Entitlement

Finally, while it is still summer – though we think someone may have forgotten to tell the weather – do remember that it is vitally important to have a break. Managers should not only encourage their staff to take at least one long break, rather than lots of odd days, but should also plan in advance for cover and ensure there is a sufficient handover. This will help your staff to go away without fear of being contacted while they are on holiday – and also ensure that the remaining staff members don’t end up doing two jobs while their colleague is away. More advice on this here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

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.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Employee Experience

How your staff engage at work is vital for productivity, as well as staff recruitment and retention.

Customer experience is now all-important for those in the retail, entertainment and hospitality arenas, especially as the landscape has changed, allowing customers to review their experiences – good or bad – almost instantly on social media.

The level of care that is given to these customers is something that HR professionals now need to focus on, as employees expect the same kind of consumer-style experience at work – and will be passing on the same kind of reviews when they leave.

When we watch Netflix, for example, it looks at our choices and offers up more films and TV programmes than it thinks we will like. HR needs to do the same thing in the workplace – offering a personalised experience, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Companies are using the Cloud, artificial intelligence and mobile computing to develop their businesses in every aspect – and that includes HR. HR departments in big players such as General Electric and IBM are making the whole employee experience human-centered – ironically by using the latest technology.

At General Electric, they now have a Head of Employee Experience, who looks at everything that can help staff be happier and therefore more productive – their environment, the tools they use and the technology they have access to.

And a study by The Future Workplace and Beyond.com – The Active Job Seeker Dilemma – showed that more investment was now going into training, improving work spaces and offering more rewards. Offering a better employee experience will help you to attract and retain the best talent in your industry.

The working environment

Most offices these days are open plan – interestingly, it has been mooted that these spaces are designed for extroverts, who need plenty of stimulation from colleagues, but for the introverts, who can be just as creative and talented, the space does not work so well.

A study by Steelcase across 17 countries found that staff who had control over where and how they worked, and who had the freedom to choose a work space to suit the job in hand – were 88% more engaged at work.

Take a look at how your work spaces work for various kinds of people – and different kinds of work. Apply your own feelings on where you like to work, where you like to go to get a job sorted, areas where you avoid working or meeting. Are there spaces for sitting quietly and concentrating, breakout areas for informal creative discussions and so on?

The employee experience should be as important as the customer experience. Your company probably considers every interaction that the potential customer will make with the organisation, from their first visit to the website, to their purchase, aftercare and beyond. This is how you need to look at the potential employee – consider their experience from that first recruitment ad to their first day at work, the last day, and everything in between and beyond – how you can support them, and guide them on their journey through your organisation.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR 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.