Steps for designing a great employee experience

12 October 2020 3 min. read
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With employees becoming increasingly demanding, the need for a human-centred approach has become more crucial than ever. A key part of this is building a great employee experience, recognising that people are an organisation’s greatest asset.

A good employee experience is important for organisations for a number of reasons. For starters, employees that are happy and motivated in their job are more productive at work – up to 20% according to one international benchmark. Vice versa, disengaged employees cost employers millions in foregone revenues and profits through lower productivity, and higher absenteeism and attrition.

Investing in employee experience management is the first step towards building an engaged workforce. Meanwhile, companies known to have a great employee experience also tend to deliver stellar customer experiences.

So how can organisations build a best-in-class employee experience? To many, this means taking care of their team members to ensure they are having a good time at work, which often includes team lunches and Friday drinks in order to build a thriving ‘work culture’. Or to design an office with bean bags and table tennis tables.

Employee Experience Design

Designing a great employee experience

However, according to Pratima Kalmadi from The Strategy Group, a Sydney-based management consulting firm, a great employee experience stretches much further, and starts long before the onboarding process, long before a letter-of-offer, and even before the interview process. “The journey actually starts when a potential employee is thinking about applying for the role,” she said.

The consultant advises HR leaders to start off with setting the direction and gaining insight in where an organisation currently stands. “First, set the strategic pillars for the ideal employee experience journey. Then, map out the current process. This step is essential to understand the current journey, from when you advertise for an employee to when someone leaves.”

With around two decades of experience under its belt, The Strategy Group has consulted on dozens of employee experience journeys. Kalmadi on the firm’s approach in the design phase: “We map out the highs and the lows of the experience, from the employee’s perspective, which is the only perspective that counts. We also interview a cross-section of stakeholders to gather first hand their experiences and document what we find.”

The analysis forms the basis for sharing insights with key stakeholders, and exploring improvement opportunities. This includes organising a workshop with the leadership team to share the insights – “this will explore ‘What is working and what is not’ as well as reveal the highs and the lows across the journey. Ideate with the leadership to generate ideas on how the lows can be improved, and the highs elevated.”

A similar process can be followed with employees from the recruitment and human resources functions, as well as the ‘business’, to ensure there is bottom-up buy-in as well. Kalmadi: “This too is a fundamental initiative in moving forward.”

Then, together with a multidisciplinary team, “explore ideas on what an ideal employee experience could look like – especially in a world of Covid-19.” How will the team function in a hybrid fashion? What will keep the culture going? How will we onboard new starters online and still manage to embed the company culture?

This provides the groundwork for the employee experience blueprint, which kicks off the implementation phase. “Apply the new experience – assisting and providing feedback on the change process all along the way,” concluded Kalmadi.