Human Experience or Employee Engagement— People Over Process
What is employee experience? Is it just a human resources buzzword? What’s the difference between engagement and experience? This article provides an overview of employee experience and engagement and why it’s essential in today’s workplace.
What makes a workplace conducive to people? Do certain aspects of the work environment lead to happier employees? What makes getting up and going to work something to look forward to daily?
Making the employee experience the focus of your recruitment and retention efforts can significantly benefit employers and employees. The pandemic caused many people to reevaluate where and how they work. Proactive leaders had to rethink everything from onboarding to culture to higher-level human needs, including well-being and connecting work with purpose in a meaningful, personalized way.
While not to be ignored, employee engagement won’t solve all these workplace needs. The term “engagement” refers to the fundamental psychological requirements that must be satisfied to properly fulfill an employee’s role. But people are so much more than a role. How we perceive employee engagement has shifted from being a goal to being an ongoing part of the employee experience and something that will ebb and flow.
Examining employee experience asks us to take a step back and look at the entire journey an employee takes with your organization. It covers all interactions, from pre-hire to post-exit, and everything in between. Even if you invest much money in internal branding, a worker who lacks real connections with management or colleagues will still feel cut off from your culture. You can design a stunning workspace, but employees might still leave if they cannot see how they may grow with you. The fundamentals of human connection: feeling seen, heard, supported, and appreciated can wield enormous power in the employee’s experience.
What People Want from Work
Jacob Morgan, The Employee Experience Advantage’s author, said,
“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage organizations can create.”
Equiliem COO Jourdan Block shares that competitive pay, low stress at work, job security, and remote and other flexible work options are vital to hiring in 2022 and beyond. According to a confidence survey of 1,500 job seekers administered by Qualtrics this year, those are the top things people want from work.
At the top of the list, 52 percent of job seekers want a job that allows them to provide for themselves and their families financially. Secondly, 38 percent want a job that is not stressful. The third one is job security. Other factors include accommodating work schedules, autonomy, career advancement and development, less physical strain, health insurance provision, and work purpose.
These factors are only the starting point in improving organizations’ employee experience. Along with shifting employee expectations comes the challenge of becoming their employer of choice. In traditional employee engagement strategies, success is measured by how much an employee is committed to helping organizations achieve their goals.
What People Value at Work Today
Today, the focus on employee engagement has shifted to a holistic insight into employee experience due to several factors:
- The younger generation wants more opportunities to have a voice. It’s worth taking the time to understand how different generations of people think, feel, and behave so you can connect with their needs and concerns.
- Talent is in greater demand than ever. The way we work is evolving quickly. Automation, digitization, disruption, and other economic issues compelled companies to adopt new processes and structures. However, these make natural human talents to be a sought-after precious resource. As a result, improving the work experience for employees has become essential for businesses to remain competitive.
- A personalized employee experience is quickly becoming standard practice. Today’s workforce demands that employers treat them as distinct individuals. They anticipate getting the same results from business encounters as if they were brand customers.
- Employee feedback is boundless, and online reputation matters. Feedback is not confined to engagement and pulse surveys anymore. With Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and more, companies have become more careful with their employee relationships as a means of brand protection due to the possibility of damaging evaluations going viral.
Make A Meaningful Change
Putting people first does not mean discarding processes you’ve spent time and money improving. Instead, it suggests considering how human experiences fit into your operations. While most talent and workforce strategies focus on transactional aspects of employee management and process optimization, using human behavior insights is crucial for bringing out the most in people.
Remember that the fundamental goal is to build intuitive and flexible moments around what matters most to people while achieving your business objectives. You are well on enhancing the employee experience when you put people at the core of your operations. Here are some ideas and concepts you can explore in starting to implement a meaningful change:
Job Fit Over Time-To-Hire
Hire fast but above all, hire right. Anyone can appreciate a quick and easy hiring process and onboarding. However, candidates expect employers to add value. Candidates can tell if you genuinely understand a person’s strengths and weaknesses by being placed on a team where everyone feels safe to be their true selves.
Core Purpose Over KPIs
Employees can hit output targets every day for years without knowing why. Genuinely seeing how they contribute to attaining company goals will give their work meaning. Great Place To Work (GPTW) defines a great workplace as where employees experience pride in what they do through the impact of their work, their pride in their team’s work, and their pride in the organization overall.
For organizational leaders and managers, GPTW identified the nine areas where leader and manager actions, behaviors, and communications significantly impact the level of trust in an organization. Doing these nine behaviors well—Hiring, Inspiring, Speaking, Listening, Thanking, Developing, Caring, Celebrating, and Sharing—build trust in the workplace.
Mentorship Over Management
What sets a work place apart is when its mentor-leaders genuinely care for their mentees’ well-being and success. A personalized approach to coaching and training goes a long way in impacting your employees’ lives. It goes beyond the four walls of the office.
Building a People-First Culture
Rise to the challenge to make each focal point in your employee journey interesting, significant, and unique. Take a break from looking at spreadsheets and measuring online engagement and pulse surveys. Instead, take the time to get to know your people and their stories.
Cultivating a culture of providing a superb employee experience is one of the most significant competitive advantages you can achieve. It is as Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive.
Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.
Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.