Four key employee needs your Employee Experience strategy must focus on

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Ever stayed at a hotel or resort that you look forward to visiting again?

What made the experience so special?

It could have been the food, the facilities, the hospitality, the impeccable service, the location, the discounts they offered you - or a combination of all of the aforementioned.

It could also be the experience itself which might have been very personal and unique to you. Like, being a yoga practitioner, you liked the free yoga retreat they have for all customers or the creche facility that allowed you and your partner to go out on a dinner date.

Of course, your check-in experience with them - the way they welcomed you, offered you a welcome drink, made the completion of check-in formalities seamless, and led you to your room - were all definitely top-notch…but that wasn’t the only reason you want to go back.

The same goes for your employees.

Having a seamless onboarding experience is something your employees naturally expect. It sets the stage for what should ideally be a long and successful professional journey with you. But their decision to stay and give their best will be determined by factors that go beyond employee onboarding too.

So what are these other factors and how do you build a better employee experience around those? 

The much-needed categorization of Employee Experience

An employee’s experience with the organization is a very personal one. It is intermeshed with their own journey, needs and expectations. Broadly though, all of these experiences that employees seek from the organization fall into four categories as below.

Four broad categories that employee needs fall into

1. Work-related EX

This one is pretty straightforward. Any experience that pertains only to your workplace or career is categorized under work-related experiences.

For the longest time, HR was expected to only optimize an employee’s workplace needs. This included the onboarding experience, manager-employee relationship, growth opportunities at the company, management and leadership, job security, and accessibility to resources.

A good work-related experience is sought by every employee, even though everyone may have a very different way of experiencing it.

For instance, employee experience around Performance Management is different for a senior-level executive versus a college graduate who joined the company a year ago. A good experience for a senior executive may include better incentives and benefits and for a recently hired college graduate could include feedback about their performance and learning opportunities aligned to the feedback.

Walmart is doing it right!
One such organization that is delivering a great employee experience in the area of work-related experiences is Walmart. One of the USA’s largest private employers, Walmart is focused on enabling its employees’ career growth and recently announced that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U (LBU) education program. This way, it allows its associates an opportunity to upskill themselves without incurring an education debt.

2. Non-work related EX

A person’s life beyond work is as important, if not more, than those 8-10 hours they spend at work

Since you're reading this, you've probably been following the evolution of employee experience. In today's work environment, most employees expect HR to recognize and make space for their needs beyond work.

Source: Gartner, Digitalizing HR to Improve the Employee Experience, 2020

Here are some of the top non-work-related milestones and experiences that you can build innovative employee experiences around.

• Marriage

• Wedding anniversary

• Birth/adoption of a child

• Adoption of a pet

• Child’s education

• Making a major purchase - car, house, etc.

• Personal health

• Family health

• Quality time with family

• Pursuing a hobby

• Divorce

• Loss of a loved one

• Movement to a new city/location

• Birthday

From an organization’s point of view, focusing on delivering better employee experiences around personal milestones may seem frivolous to some. But without considering all those moments beyond work, your employee experience strategy will fail to deliver its sole purpose for being - improving the overall quality of your employee’s life.

In fact, personal milestones are one of those places where you can have a first-mover advantage as an organization that is focused on the overall happiness and well-being of its employees.

Adobe’s marriage leave for employees
At Adobe, employees can avail seven days off for their own wedding and three for the wedding of their children. 

Patagonia’s flexible work plan for parents
During COVID, when employees were forced to work from home and schools were closed, Patagonia went out of its way to assess each of its employees' childcare needs. It then not only facilitated flexible work hours but asynchronous communication and activity calendars that working parents could use to engage their children.

3. EX at the intersection of work and non-work 

This is that part of our lives that lies at the intersection of work and personal life. And the pandemic blurred the lines here so much that it almost felt like our entire life was a big messy ball of work and home intertwined together. And the effects can be positive or negative in nature.

Let’s take workload and stress, for example. When an employee has an excessive workload, it can lead to overworking or spending too much time in the office. This can negatively impact their non-work-related life including unwinding with family or finding joy in pursuing a hobby.

Another good example would be, if an employee has ailing parents at home and is their only caretaker, then coming to the office at fixed hours may put them under undue pressure. Could a more flexible setup enable this employee? Can they work from home more often? 

No matter how hard we try to compartmentalize, we will always have this messy section in the middle.

Basecamp’s summer vacations!
Basecamp broke old rules and created its own. And mind you, this one existed even before the pandemic - the 4-day work week during summer. During the months from May to August, their entire workforce works only for four days. And at Basecamp, taking work home was never a cultural practice from the very start.

4. Personal EXperiences

We all have values, beliefs, and perspectives that are very dear to us and define who we are. Having to compromise those to fit in at a workplace that thinks and behaves differently can be exhausting for an employee - eventually leading to disengagement and attrition.

When it comes to individual experiences, one of the most defining factors is belongingness. Does an employee feel welcome at the organization? Do they feel respected and valued for who they are and the contributions they make? Do they get equal opportunities and feel psychologically safe working in your company?

This is why a keen focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as part of your employee experience strategy must be a priority for any organization hoping to create a level playing field. No matter what a person’s identity is, can you, as an employer, provide a safe and respectable environment for one and all?

Salesforce’s Racial Equality and Justice Taskforce
Salesforce follows a holistic approach to increasing representation and giving opportunities to minority communities. From advocating policy reform to effecting systemic change and working with companies from underrepresented communities, Salesforce demonstrates a serious commitment to its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals.

Conclusion: Designing a holistic Employee Experience

Often we make the mistake of looking at employee experience only through the lens of people ‘being employees or resources’. This unwittingly narrows our idea of delivering an experience that is limited to just the workplace.

But a more holistic approach to employee experience would be to improve the quality of life of your people, not just professionally but in its entirety.

Maybe one way of ensuring we don't forget is to jump on the trend of renaming employee experience to people experience.

Help people through milestones and experiences that matter the most to them throughout their lives and in turn, win their loyalty.

Bonus: Learn how to design a consumer-grade employee experience with our step-by-step guide

If you'd like help to build a holistic experience that is personalized to each employees, then let us know. Book a customized one-on-one demo of our platform to see how easily you can address all of the above four employee needs.

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