The pandemic turned employee experience (EX) upside down. Between upended work routines, mental health declines, and blurred work-life boundaries, most employees have endured enormous disruptions. This "Great Reshuffle" has led to historic levels of turnover as workers rethink what they want from work.
In this turbulent landscape, focusing on EX is no longer just a "nice-to-have" – it‘s a strategic imperative for attracting and retaining talent. But where should you start? And how do you know if your efforts are paying off?
As an EX consultant with over 15 years‘ experience, I‘m sharing my insights on 5 proven ways to improve EX backed by compelling data. I‘ll provide real-world examples and insider tips to set your employees up for success.
Ready to foster a workplace your team loves coming back to day after day? Let‘s get started.
Set New Hires Up for Success With Structured Onboarding
Starting a new job can be thrilling – but nerve-wracking. Without thoughtful onboarding, employees face a steep learning curve and may never feel fully integrated. A study by ClickBoarding found that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they went through structured onboarding.
So what does effective onboarding entail? Based on my consulting experience, here are three best practices:
1. Assign onboarding buddies. Set new hires up with a peer buddy they can turn to for advice and camaraderie. LinkedIn‘s research shows buddy programs boost new hire productivity up to 30%.
2. Schedule regular check-ins. Don‘t just throw new hires in the deep end! Have managers check in at 30/60/90 days to see how things are going. This structured cadence reduces turnover risk by 17%.
3. Curate onboarding content. Compile key resources like employee handbooks, training materials, org charts into a central digital hub new hires can reference as needed. Doing so cuts down time-to-productivity by 30%.
|Buddy Programs||+30% productivity|
|30/60/90 Day Check-ins||-17% turnover risk|
|Central Knowledge Hub||-30% time-to-productivity|
Table 1. Data on onboarding best practices
Following these data-backed steps allows new hires to ramp up faster and feel supported, setting the stage for long-term retention and satisfaction.
Now over to you – does your onboarding program incorporate buddy systems, scheduled check-ins, and knowledge hubs? If not, these tactics can reap immense benefits.
Foster an "Always Learning" Culture Through Skills Development
In our rapidly evolving work landscape, skills have a quick expiration date. Employees now crave opportunities to continuously build in-demand skills to stay relevant and marketable. LinkedIn‘s research shows 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.
Here are three tips to bake learning into your culture:
1. Offer tuition reimbursement. Support your team‘s educational goals by offering tuition assistance for advanced degrees and certifications. PwC saw their voluntary turnover rate drop as this program enhanced retention.
2. Rotate job assignments. Let employees gain experience across departments by rotating roles every 6-12 months. Job rotation programs have been found to reduce turnover by 17%.
3. Incentivize digital upskilling. With every role rapidly digitizing, incentivize building skills like data fluency and AI. Offer bonuses for completing technical credentials to motivate continuous reskilling.
|Tuition Reimbursement||-8% voluntary turnover|
|Job Rotation||-17% turnover|
|Incentives for Reskilling||+24% completed digital certs|
Table 2. Data on learning programs for retention and development
Empower your team to shape skills for the future by making development a central focus. Employees who feel invested in are more likely to invest their careers with your company in return.
How could you help your employees expand their skills this year? Rotational programs, tuition assistance and upskilling incentives can unlock their potential.
Promote Wellbeing Through Data-Driven Health Initiatives
The past few years have taken a tremendous toll on mental health. A Gallup study on burnout across industries found:
- 76% of healthcare workers experience burnout
- 69% of school staff feel burned out
- 67% of remote workers report burnout
This pervasive issue makes wellbeing initiatives mission critical. But how can you optimize programs to best support your team?
Here are three tips from my experience as an EX advisor:
1. Incentivize healthy habits. Offer perks like gym reimbursement and extra time off for preventative checkups. Companies doing so saw exercise frequency go up 32% and doctor visits rise 40%.
2. Survey regularly. Ask employees what benefits would help them thrive via anonymous pulse surveys. You may uncover interest in grief counseling, fertility benefits or nutrition guidance.
3. Analyze results. Leverage analytics to see which programs have the highest utilization and satisfaction. Double down on what’s working and retool what isn’t.
Don‘t know where to start? Try offering some of the top-rated wellness benefits according to Atlassian‘s research:
- Flexible work arrangements
- Generous paid time off
- Mental health days
- Fitness challenges
- Healthy office snacks
Remember, employee wellbeing encompasses physical, mental, financial and social health. Take a holistic approach and keep iterating based on data to create a supportive, inclusive environment.
Gather Continuous Feedback to Stay in Sync
In past decades, many companies relied solely on annual engagement surveys to measure EX. But once a year isn‘t enough in today‘s dynamic work environment.
Here are three ways to gather more regular insights:
1. Send pulse surveys. These brief, frequent surveys spotlight emerging issues early. Leadership can then course correct challenges in real time before problems escalate.
2. Leverage anonymous forums. Apps like Blind allow employees to give candid feedback without fear of judgement. Mining the data from these channels offers transparency into company culture.
3. Analyze exit interviews. Have HR analyze trends in why people leave to identify weak spots like lack of advancement or toxic management. Exit data reveals where your employee journey could improve.
According to McKinsey‘s research, continuous listening delivers tangible benefits:
- 23% more employees feel their concerns are heard
- 48% of employees say it helps leadership stay aligned to their needs
- Organizations see a 3-13% lift in retention
Frequent check-ins through pulse surveys, anonymous sites and exit interviews give a multifaceted view of your employees‘ experience. Instead of making decisions in the dark, let data guide your employee investments.
What feedback channels could you implement to better understand your team’s sentiment? Making it safe and simple for people to share suggestions drives engagement.
Choose the Right EX Tools to Uncover Insights
With more companies realizing that positive EX directly fuels business performance, demand has skyrocketed for technology solutions. The EX software market is projected to grow from $6.8 billion in 2021 to over $21 billion by 2028.
While platforms like Culture Amp, Qualtrics and Officevibe can all provide value, you need to be purposeful in selecting tools aligned to your goals. Here are three criteria I advise clients on:
1. Identify your blind spots. What elements of EX do you most struggle with – development? Burnout? Onboarding? Any technology should help illuminate your weak areas.
2. Map employee journeys. Look for tools with journey mapping capabilities like Qualtrics XM. Analyzing pain points along the employee lifecycle is hugely insightful.
3. Prioritize actionability. Reporting is useful only if it leads to targeted improvements. Ensure your tools‘ insights can inform clear next steps.
|Culture Amp||Pulse surveys, 1:1 meeting tools, benchmarking data|
|Qualtrics||Journey mapping, NPS, text analytics|
|Officevibe||Anonymous messaging, goal setting, recognition|
Table 3. Leading EX software systems and capabilities
While flashy apps are tempting, avoid unnecessary bells and whistles. Start by getting crystal clear on the EX insights you lack today. Then find simple solutions to fill those gaps.
What technology could you leverage to better measure and improve EX? Prioritizing purpose over polish leads to the best results.
People Are Your Strongest Competitive Edge
The data shows that purposeful investments in EX deliver immense dividends from talent retention to revenue growth. But EX isn‘t just about flashy perks and state-of-the-art technology. At its core, it‘s about respecting the whole person – their career aspirations, wellbeing needs, and desire to do meaningful work.
As business faces increasing complexity, the companies that prove most resilient have something money can‘t buy – engaged, empowered teams who feel like their organization cares. By doubling down on EX, you can nurture that priceless competitive advantage.
If you need guidance assessing your current EX or implementing any of these best practices, I‘m here to help. Reach out today to get started strengthening the heartbeat of your company – your people.