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The Runway of an Employee Experience

One of the HR terms we keep hearing about is the “employee experience” and some are calling 2018 the year of the employee experience .  As the war for talent continues, both understanding and nurturing the employee experience has become more important for organizations in getting talent on the runway, and making sure the end of the runway is a long way away.

So what is the employee experience?  I would argue that it is every touch point an employee (and potential employee) has with an organization.   And the experience is not just an HR thing.  It includes the tools an employee uses, workspaces, flexibility, PTO, interactions with colleagues, supervisors, and clients and, of course, the organization’s culture. 

We in HR have talked about the employee life cycle from hire to retire (or fire as is sometimes called for), but the employee experience begins well prior to that.  Potential employees begin their experience with an organization and its brand through social media and websites like Glassdoor.  There is no hiding for employers anymore and an organization’s stated value proposition must match its true values or the world will know about it.

As the pace of business has quickened so have the wants and needs of employees.  There is impatience in the workforce as employees, particularly younger workers, want to grow quickly and develop their career skills.  Workers are also much more likely to switch jobs, particularly the talented ones we hate to lose.  Paying attention to the employee experience can lengthen the exit runway.

I’ve talked about what our firm has tried to do in this regard with our own team in previous posts as we try to walk the walk in being a leading workplace.  While we are not perfect by any means, we have, through team feedback and paying attention to workplace trends, implemented a number of initiatives related to improving the employee experience. 

We now allow for working remotely, overhauled our PTO to include six weeks of time off for all team members, perform a quarterly engagement survey, created an H&B University for training, created self-managed teams, do full team interviews with job candidates for cultural fit and try to always acknowledge contributions and successes.  Some of these initiatives have come with some bumps and bruises as we changed our working paradigm, but it has improved our employee experience as evidenced by our increasing engagement scores.

Recognizing that these types of initiatives are not right for every organization (Netflix’s unlimited PTO policy, anyone?) there are things every organization can do to improve the employee experience.  The challenge I offer to all my HR colleagues out there is come up with one or two initiatives, even if seemingly small, that improve the employee experience and implement them. 

It could be the difference between a short runway for talent and a long one.