At its core, the employee experience is the culmination of every interaction and touchpoint the employee experiences at a particular company. It’s also an orchestrated set of experiences and considerations the organization develops to improve their employees’ work and home lives, as well as their overall productivity. The employee experience is influenced by every interaction your employees have with your business, beginning with your offer letter and ending on their last day at work. Company culture and interpersonal interactions with colleagues, superiors, and customers factor into the employee experience.
An employee experience platform encompasses the processes and activities related to an employees’ job—onboarding, ongoing performance management, benefits and compensation, job training, and workplace environment. It also includes the tools, technology, and communication systems your employees use for their jobs.
Much like the customer experience, the employee experience has a direct impact on your company’s profitability. Satisfied employees are productive employees. When employees aren’t adequately trained or don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently, their productivity suffers. Unhappy, disengaged employees often express their dissatisfaction by not being as productive and committed to their jobs or by leaving the company altogether. This kind of turnover is a costly consequence to employers, requiring them to continually hire and train new employees.
Employees who think the grass is greener somewhere else—where the employee experience is better—might never fully commit themselves to their current role. And if the employee isn’t committed, you aren’t getting the best return on your human capital investment or building a positive workplace culture. Frustration with cumbersome systems and processes can also result in low morale and a sense of disempowerment among your employees. This can lead to problems that can impact your business’s performance and market position.
On the other hand, employees who have a positive employee experience are more engaged and productive at their jobs, more committed to the company, feel a sense of belonging and ownership, and are likely to stay with your company for the longer term. These factors lead to improved company performance overall. In fact, according to Gartner, employees who view their experience positively are 60% more likely to say they intend to stay at their current organization and 69% more likely to be high-performing employees.
Given the strides that have been made through digital technology in improving customer satisfaction, employees are now looking for the same workplace experience they’ve come to expect as consumers. This includes:
Employees want simplified, online access to services, processes, procedures, and personal information. They want to get access through the device of their choice, from wherever they are. These interactions must be seamless. Clunky applications that don’t work well are frustrating to employees, particularly when they’re looking for information that is essential to doing their jobs, accomplishing their work-life goals, or taking care of work-related personal business such as benefits eligibility.
Around-the-clock, self-service availability of information and services is a must. Employees don’t want to wait for the information they need or to go through an HR representative to get it, particularly when timing is critical. For example, timeliness in accessing benefits information can have an immediate impact on an employee’s personal life.
When it comes to job performance and expectations, opportunities for development, and advancement within the company, employees want to know what the organization’s processes are and how they can accomplish their goals. Process transparency builds trust and engagement, leading to happier employees, which in turn leads to improved productivity and better overall company performance.
Employees are looking for ways to feel engaged with their work, find meaning in what they do, and feel connected to others. Systems that don’t foster diversity and a sense of inclusion can lead to feelings of alienation. Conversely, systems that help employees feel welcome, appreciated, and valued as contributors create a sense of connection and inspire loyalty.
Some of the challenges for enterprises in delivering a great employee experience include:
A complete employee experience platform guides employees through professional and personal activities, delivers responsive HR service support, streamlines communication across the organization, strengthens manager-employee relationships, and connects employees with their peers.
The HR function carries significant weight when it comes to the employee experience, in part because of its role as liaison between company policies and employees. HR is also the owner of many systems that impact the employee experience―such as benefits and compensation, performance management, training, and more.
Over the years, with the adoption of HCM technology solutions, a significant number of HR-related interactions with employees have transitioned from face-to-face to automated self-service through company portals. While employee portals and online transactions offer an increased level of convenience, this transition has delivered mixed results in terms of the employee experience.
Often, the user interfaces have proven to be difficult to use and frustrating for employees. However, as HCM solutions have found solid ground and evolved to be more functional and supportive, the opportunities to create a better employee experience through these solutions have increased significantly.
Discover how to deliver the experiences your employees expect (PDF)
An employee experience platform includes a user interface that is easy to use and understand. It’s important to note that the platform should ideally also include a chatbot or digital assistant to engage with multiple organization-specific systems such as HR and IT. The employee experience platform should also be capable of continually monitoring and updating pages that provide helpful information and answers to questions.
A self-service employee experience platform should reflect the organization’s culture. As the employee interacts with the platform, the system learns about the employee based on the way they use the system; then applies that information to personalize interactions with that employee.
An employee experience platform also provides a feedback loop of user information, which is a significant added value because it can help you continually improve processes and create better employee experiences. As user data comes into the system, data analytics provides crucial information that can lead to actionable insights you can use to improve the employee experience―fueling an ever-evolving, smarter, and more responsive solution.
See how an employee experience platform can help your business (PDF)
A robust employee experience platform delivers many benefits across the enterprise, for employees and employers.
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HCM solutions are now adding functionalities that elevate them to the level of an employee experience platform. These solutions are extending beyond managing HR and other company processes behind the scenes to creating a more engaged, personalized, participatory experience for employees―helping build stronger connections between companies and their employees and increasing employee satisfaction.
Key considerations and features to look for in choosing an employee experience platform include:
Digital assistants and chatbots are performing a crucial function in employee experience platforms as a way for organizations to connect with their employees. These AI-enabled tools conveniently provide information and services that meet individual employee needs in a personalized, engaging, and conversational way.
Learn how Digital Assistants for HR are empowering conversational experiences (PDF)
Ideally, in the future the employee experience platform will be a seamless experience that doesn’t require an employee portal for access. It will be a completely personalized and singular experience tailored entirely to an employee’s preferences.
But there’s more than this on the horizon for the employee experience. As solution providers develop even more customized, personalized ways for employees to interact with the companies they work for, the next frontier is for enterprises to maximize their return on investment (ROI).
According to Gartner, you can get the greatest return on your employee experience investments by using those investments to “shape” how employees feel about their experiences. Shaping is an emotional endeavor, based less on directly investing additional dollars into systems and more on influencing your employees’ feelings about and through those systems.
Shaping involves a three-pronged approach:
1. Setting expectations with employees for what their experiences will be
2. Using transparency and information sharing to empower your employees to create the experiences they want
3. Reinforcing positive memories of their experiences
In shaping, the data gathered from employee experience platforms and their function as a channel for communication and influence create a cycle of input and output that can help you maximize the value you’re getting from the dollars you’ve already invested. According to Gartner, taking this approach yields 32% more satisfied employees at a 32% lower cost.
The employee experience is both tangible and intangible. By using technology to create tangible benefits, you can increase feelings of empowerment and good will among your employees to generate an intangible but performance-boosting employee experience.
Learn about the industry best HCM that empowers superior employee experiences.