Building a Better Employee Experience

building a better employee experience

Everywhere you look these days, you see people talking about employee experience, or EX. Given the state of the economy, it’s not surprising that companies are beginning to put their employees first: Globally, unemployment is at its lowest level in nearly a decade, and competition for talent is high. According to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Study, 97% of executives say they anticipate increased competition for talent, and over half are worried about the excessive time required to fill open positions. At the other end of the spectrum, turnover remains a top risk, with employees exiting organizations in record numbers. Low or declining employee engagement continues to be an ongoing issue, eroding productivity.

We’ve observed that companies are investing in programs for their people – through new and diverse rewards, better technology, and other initiatives to improve engagement. And yet they aren’t packing a punch: About a third of employees who are satisfied with their employer are still considering leaving their jobs.1

This is why companies are starting to focus on the employee experience, recognizing that employees have the same wants, needs, and desires as customers. What does this mean? To start treating employees like customers, HR needs to shift its mindset from optimizing “things” for employees (e.g., programs and processes) and instead design an end-to-end experience that employees long to be a part of.

This means borrowing from companies’ own customer experience playbooks, in which it’s not just the product or price that breeds loyalty, but who has the better experience, according to market researcher Gartner. Likewise, the potential business impact that comes with elevating the employee experience is big: Research indicates that organizations leading in the employee experience race have four times the average profitability and twice the average revenue of companies that lag. It’s clear that paying attention to the employee experience really pays off.

Shift to an Employee Experience Mindset

Employee experience is the “user experience” of your company – it’s the intersection of employees’ expectations, their environment and the events that shape their journey within an organization. Consider your own experience as a consumer. You can order your extra-large coffee from an app, pay for it in advance, and bypass the checkout line. The barista greets you by name, with a cheery smile, and says “Hope your day gets better,” because she knows you order the extra-large only on a tough day. 

Then you get to work, where, if you’re like many employees, you find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed just trying to stay afloat. You may spend hours trying to figure out the latest technology that was supposed to “transform the way you work”. And that project you’ve been working on for months? Your competitor just beat you to market while you’ve been stuck in a loop waiting on another department. After all, almost two in five employees say their jobs get tangled up in bureaucracy2.

Imagine if your work day mirrored your coffee stop, with convenient, targeted, and positive experiences.

Amazing customer experiences are not accidental. They are planned and methodical, and they utilize human-centered design techniques. Today’s HR leaders can learn how companies create better experiences along the customer journey and apply that to the employee journey. This could include anything employees encounter, observe, or feel over their time with an organization, which starts with their first interactions as a candidate and continues to when they exit the company – and potentially beyond. This demands a pivot in how HR operates, with four major implications:

  1. Treat employees like customers
  2. Understand the experience from the employee’s perspective 
  3. Realize that not all experiences are created equal
  4. Co-create solutions

If you want to know what those 4 points means and read further more, please download "Building a Better Employee Experience".

1 Mercer, Global Talent Trends Study: Connectivity in the Human Age, 2019.
2 Mercer | Sirota Global Normative Database

Mary Ann Sardone
by Mary Ann Sardone

Partner, Career Market Business Leader – US East at Mercer

Lauren Mason
by Lauren Mason

Principal, Career

Download - Building a Better Employee Experience