How to design a consumer-grade Employee Experience: An in-depth guide
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An Employee Experience Framework
Customer Experience and Employee Experience are two sides of the same coin. But while CX has been a science and an art for a few years now, EX is finally coming to the forefront.
There is so much that comes under the gamut of employee experience that it can feel overwhelming designing and implementing a good EX model.
But don’t worry. We’ve put together a rich yet simple framework that will help you build out your employee experience strategy from the get go.
It consists of four simple steps:
Simple to remember with the acronym DDEE.
Step 1: Dive In
Building your employee experience is similar to how marketers build customer experiences. Therefore to design a great EX, it all starts with understanding your employees.
The understanding stage includes a set of practices to create a shared understanding of who your employees are, what they want and need, and how they perceive the interactions they’re having with your company today. It’s the thing that replaces management biases, everyone’s preconceived notions and best guesses about employees with real, actionable insights about employees.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Start by seeking these answers. Thankfully, there is no dearth of employee data in most organizations.
1. Source relevant data
Dig deep into your HRMS. Analyze results of your employee satisfaction surveys. Learn from your exit interviews. Check trends in attrition and attendance rates. Have focus groups and even one-on-ones with managers, if necessary.
• Quantitative data: This will help us with a birds eye view of the organizational sentiment. This includes demographic data, diversity data, ratings for various employee moments
• Qualitative data: This helps us understand the associated reasons & emotions that have driven employees actions historically. Look for data such as feedback from exit Interviews, employee surveys, feedback about managers, etc.
2. Create employee personas
The objective is to understand: Who are they? What drives them, motivates them? What are their needs and pain points? How do they see, feel, think and act?
Group employees based on similarities, patterns and trends you observe in your data to create distinct employee personas. For instance, you can sort your employees into “people who are remote employees” or “people in leadership roles” or “been with the organization for less than a year”.
Once you’ve created these clusters, identify common traits among them and create an individual representative persona. To ensure that your experience accounts for a diverse workforce, focus on creating a minimum of 3-4 distinct personas and to avoid making it unfocused, limit it to a maximum of 6 personas.
Below is an employee persona template that can help you get started. .
Step 2: Design
Awesome! So you now have your employee personas ready. You are aware of who you are creating the employee experiences for. The next step is to design the employee experience journey itself.
The design stage helps you dive into the details and focus on the moments in the employees experience that really matter to employees. It starts by encouraging new ideas but ends with a clear set of actionable ideas that can be implemented. By anchoring yourself around the data you’ve collected from employees, and having informed stakeholders, you can come up with creative solutions– ensuring that they are grounded in reality.
SO, HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?
If you are sitting down with your HR team to do this, we would say, bring in a huge chart paper or use your large whiteboard to do this.
1. Define key touch-points
Discover moments in an employee journey that matter most to employees. Here are some for your reference:
• Personal milestones (getting married, having children, buying a home, etc)
• Professional transitions (moving teams/locations, return from maternity)
• Personal challenges (care of elderly parents, unexpected accident)
• Exit (pre-exit, exit, post-exit)
Once you have mapped these out, you may realize that there are many areas to address - therefore making the starting point hard. We suggest following one of two approaches:
• Moment-based EX: Pick the top 10 moments across the employee journey that will create the highest impact to your employee experience right now.
• Program-specific EX: Pick a specific program (such as onboarding, return-to-work, process adoption) you want to reimagine. Then pick the top 10 moments within that you would like to prioritize right now.
2. Align persona pain points with the touch-points
Now that you have your personas and touch-points ready, it is time to align them.
Find out what are the needs and pain points of your personas at each of your chosen touch-points. And also, what they feel and how they behave at each of these stages.
3. Generate ideas to resolve the pain points
Once you have identified what needs to change at each touchpoint, it is time to think of how that can happen.
Here are four brainstorming ideas to get you started.
a. Classic: Jot down every idea from the team and then choose the best
b. What if? : Ask the question “what if?” with every idea you come up with to choose the best. “What if every employee had an onboarding buddy?” “What if every employee knew exactly what to do while transitioning back to office after the pandemic?”
c. Wrong way: Generate bad ideas that will lead you to the right ones. “What can you do to ensure employees quit within 30 days from hiring?”
d. Risky options: Get people to share their wildest ideas. Sometimes best solutions come from ideas people are scared to share out of fear of failure or criticism.
4. Create an experience blueprint
And once you have your best solutions ready, add a final row to your earlier chart to include your solutions.
Step 3: Execute
At the end of step 2, you’ll see that you have a massive plan in place. Employee experiences at different touch-points for so many different personas!
That’s why, we would recommend a guided approach that helps maintain focus and steers the employee in the right direction.
1. Break down your design based on touch-points
2. Select a pilot group
3. Pick a method to deliver the experience
4. Launch the experience
Start a pilot with one touchpoint or persona, which means execute all activities planned for one segment.
And based on your experience executing for one group, take the learnings and replicate for others.
Step 4: Evaluate
Last but not the least, don’t miss out on evaluation and measurement if you wish to build a sustainable employee experience strategy.
The evaluation stage includes a set of practices that let you quantify the quality and impact of the employee experience. This enables you to deliver actionable insights to all partners in the process and also use it to continuously improve the experience for employees. Using the right metrics can do two things: (1) continuously improve your employee experience strategy (2) put employee-experience on par with traditional-business metrics, such as sales and profitability.
SO, HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?
1. Define your success criteria
The success criteria is really critical to define for any process that you’re looking to improve. It should be simple to define the 2-3 criteria by going back to the problem areas you are looking to solve for.
2. Introduce surveys at each touchpoint
Hearing direct feedback from your employees is the best way to continuously improve a process. Have automated pulse surveys at each touchpoint to collect employee feedback. Keep it crisp and easy to answer.
3. Monitor analytics
Access or introduce analytics from the tools you are using. For instance, if you’ve assigned a task for an employee to complete, check the task completion rate. And then, send nudges for completion. Has there been a reduction in attrition or absenteeism at a certain stage after implementing the strategy?
4. Study your Glassdoor and other external ratings
Nothing is more telling than what your employees say when you’re not looking. While it’s tough to know what they are telling their friends, you can see what they say about you on social media, surveys and external review sites. Have the reviews improved since the new employee experience strategy was implemented? Notice a specific persona sharing negative experiences? Then take action right away.
The employee experience framework: Dive Deep - Design - Execute - Evaluate is simple but note that we didn’t say easy.
And that’s because, despite clear visions, we’ve seen employee experience frameworks fail under the weight of cognitive overload, lack of optimization for hybrid environments, and so much more.
That’s why we built Tydy - to enable you to build out as many employee experience journeys as you want for as many touch-points and employee personas. Follow all the same steps as above but fully automated to save you time and resources while you deliver the best employee experience possible.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to envisioning and optimizing the employee experience - but if you’re ever stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.