‘What really makes our workforce productive?’ It’s a question many HR and People teams have been asking for a while now.
The answer, our research found, lies in workforce experiences. 92% of employees said this is important to them. That’s huge.
So how do you create experiences that really matter to your people? Let’s take a look…
Work perks don’t equal experiences
Employee perks might be the first thing you think of when you hear workforce experiences – but perks alone aren’t a motivator.
In fact, 53% say that gimmicks such as ping pong tables are more of a distraction than a performance booster.
There’s no single right answer to the question ‘what makes a great workforce experience?’ as your employees will have differing views.
However if you just guess, you’ll likely end up scattering around quirky fringe benefits that cost your organisation money but don’t make a significant impact on your experiences as a whole.
It’s important to find the common ground and find out what your employees have in common when it comes to what makes them productive.
So while helpful, accessible, user-friendly processes may not sound as exciting as dress-down Fridays or free donuts, they’re far more likely to make a difference to your workforce everyday.
The good news is there are several areas HR and People teams can look at across the employee journey to create those all-important moments that matter.
From the first interaction to the day they leave, workers are forming opinions, sharing views and building their attitude and approach to their workplace and employer – and these are invaluable to organisations.
Here’s six proven examples to create excellent workforce experiences throughout the employee lifecycle.
1. Make onboarding memorable
They say first impressions are everything.
For new joiners, onboarding is the first glimpse into how it feels to work for your organisation, so the experience needs to be a positive one.
In fact, the type of experiences you give to the candidates who are successful could mean the difference between your employees staying or going.
69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
Keeping in touch is vital. There’s often a gap of a month or more between accepting a job and their start date so don’t forget them. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, though.
A few personalised emails ahead of the start date is something to consider.
You could even start sharing links to helpful resources so they can find out more before day one. Do you have an onboarding portal? If so, think about adding content on to there so it’s all in one place.
After they’ve started, don’t forget to seek feedback so you can continually improve onboarding.
Find out what your people thought of their experience and act on it so you can adapt and change ahead of future employees starting.
2. Connect with tailored communications
Communicating well to your people is an art, and organisations can easily send communications that fall flat.
Maybe you’re sending them at the wrong time, so an employee simply doesn’t see them.
Or perhaps they’re so busy that an email is never going to be read in detail.
Organisations need to think hard about how they communicate to their people so the message is heard.
As with any experience, it’s all about finding out what works for your people. Personalising emails and portal content means that relevant and well explained information gets to the right people and no one wastes time reading content that they don’t need.
Also, you could step away from the traditional email – try video messages or interactive quizzes to make communication more engaging and accessible.
No matter how you choose to communicate, it should always be two way. Help your employees to give feedback or voice any concerns they may have via an appropriate channel.
3. Create mobile and agile workstyles
Worryingly, less than 20% of employees say they work for an agile organisation.
Agility matters because flexible workstyles are so important to today’s employee experience. With more remote and flexible workers than ever, it’s vital that they have an equally effective experiences as someone who works in an office.
Think about how your employees interact.
Make it easy for people to identify, connect and work with other colleagues across the business using smart technologies and collaboration tools to get the job done in real time, as well as to stop the emails from piling up.
4. Develop and nurture your people
Less than a third of employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
It’s time to move from outdated annual appraisals to modern, continuous performance processes and conversations that reflect team and project-based roles.
Create space and structure for regular and ad hoc reviews, match individual goals to wider company objectives, and track employee performance to link comprehensive succession and reward planning.
Also, help employees to recognise their peers for a good job done.
Having a portal or an online recognition board can be a good way to do this to make sure there’s plenty of instant, visible, recognition among teams.
It’s important to let employees know they’re valued and are praised for the work they do as a result.
5. Listen, understand and respond
Did you know, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work?
Forget the annual engagement survey.
Think about how your team can acquire more personal, emotional and real-time feedback. Pulse surveys and continuous conversations keep your understanding up to the minute so you know what your people think at that moment in time.
However, asking for feedback and not addressing it can be more damaging than asking it all together. Act on the feedback you receive and tell your people what you’ve done to resolve it.
6. Use People data to drive decisions
Do you make your decisions based on gut feel rather than data? Don’t guess what your employees think – find out.
Use People data to analyse and track what you need and whether it’s working.
By crunching the numbers, you can understand what really makes your employees tick, what gets them productive and what they need from you to be at their best.
Experiences shape your employees
Experiences aren’t fixed and forever. The best workforce experience initiatives are created, evolved and redesigned based on feedback.
Companies that do this set themselves up for success, not just in terms of happy and enthusiastic employees but workforce experiences can also directly influence productivity, engagement and customer experience.