Employee experience: Getting the ‘work’ experience right | Main Region | UB

Article 3 - Employee experience: Getting the ‘work’ experience right

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Employee experience (EX) defines everything that workers encounter when interacting with your organisation. Whether it be how they perceive your brand before applying for a role, the onboarding process, their development and performance while working with your organisation to their eventual exit.
A core component in crafting an excellent EX is the employee’s experience of actually doing their work, how they are rewarded for it, and the environment in which they do it.
In this article, we will cover the three key factors that influence the work experience:
  • The organisation of work, and whether employees are given clear responsibilities and resources to be successful.
  • Providing the control and flexibility to complete their tasks in a way that creates a synergy between work and personal life.
  • Offering the right rewards for the work done and opportunities for growth to help employees upskill and develop.
Employee experience

The organisation of work and bringing success

Are your team aware of who is responsible for what and have a clear idea of what their role is? It seems like a simple concept but a lack of clarity can lead to an inefficient team. People who are clear about their roles and responsibilities are 53 per cent more efficient and 27 per cent more effective at their work1. When roles are clearly defined, each team member can be confident in what they are trying to accomplish and appreciate the value of what others contribute.
Clarity around a worker’s responsibilities begins at the attraction stage with a job description that accurately captures the responsibilities of a role and what prospective employees should expect in a standard working day.
Role definition and clarity continues through the engagement stage. Building relationships and ensuring workers communicate with each other at this point is key, as through this, workers can gain a thorough understanding of what they do and how their roles intersect. Then as people develop, any evolution of their responsibilities should be defined and recorded. If a worker has left the business but the work they did with an organisation was enjoyable and interesting, they are more likely to share their experiences with their networks, improving your employer brand and the likelihood that they might return.

Work control and flexibility

Giving employees autonomy over how they complete their tasks can increase their engagement with the work they do. It doesn’t mean that deadlines don’t exist – but micromanagement is strongly discouraged. Expectations of performance should be set on outputs, leaving employees to execute as they see fit.
While each employee has different needs and preferences, giving them some autonomy over how their work is done can be empowering. An organisation might set core work hours in which all employees are available for meetings, calls and collaboration, and then allow workers to pick and choose the hours in which they complete their individual tasks. For example, a working parent might choose to log off when the kids come home to spend time with the family, only to log back on again when the kids are in bed. Or a worker may choose to visit the gym or walk the dog in the late afternoon and log back in after dinner. This idea of work/life integration (WLI), rather than work/life balance, can help you tailor an employee’s work situations to their work style and personal situation to help create a productive, but balanced work environment.
"Work/life integration (WLI), rather than work/life balance, can help tailor an work situations to an employees work style and personal situation to help create a productive, but balanced work environment."
Organisations such as Deloitte designed their own WLI process around a team-based approach, with leaders encouraged to create norms that can include agreed time for focused work, digital breaks and collaborative disconnects. It helps teams be more intentional with their time and purpose-focused when it comes to deciding on when and why to meet2.
At the attraction stage, are prospective employees being told about your organisation’s flexible work policies? At the performance stage, the implementation of work-life integration means there will be a heavier emphasis on outcomes and assessing an individual’s ability to communicate and collaborate effectively, then at the exit stage, schedules can be adjusted to accommodate personal commitments.

Growth and rewards

Nearly four in five employees are happy to learn new skills and more than three in four agree that learning is key to their professional development3. And with the average half-life of skills now at less than five years, and even as low as two and a half years in some fields4, are you giving your workers the opportunity to learn?
Rewards such as tuition reimbursement can offset an employee’s education expenses and give them access to learning they might not have been able to afford on their own. While benefits for employee growth like this may come with a cost factor, it also heightens your chance of retaining your staff, with 76 per cent of employees more likely to stay within a company that offers continuous learning5 and gives them new skills to perform their job better, providing even more value to your business. Organisations such as HubSpot support employee education by providing reimbursement for their learning, and Amazon’s ‘Career Choice’ program offers support for hourly employees and their future careers by prepaying up to 95 per cent of tuition costs.
"76 per cent of employees more likely to stay within a company that offers continuous learning."
However, while many other benefits and rewards come into the equation of what makes a job worth it for an employee, remuneration is still the most significant factor. Offering a market competitive salary for your teams is the still one of the simplest and most effective tools for attracting and retaining talent.

Implementing a better work experience

1. Organisation of work tasks: Your action steps

Next three months:
Implement regular weekly meetings to collectively discuss what each team member is doing, what they have achieved in the past week and what they need from other team members to be able to reach their agreed outcomes and targets.
Next 12 months:
At the attract stage of the job, ensure comprehensive job descriptions that define tasks and responsibilities as well as measurements of success. This could include what a day at work might look like, what a new employee should hope to achieve within set timeframes and any desired soft skills. When onboarding, managers should be prepared to provide the resources a new employee needs to get started such as policies, procedures and inductions, and relay clear expectations and goals so a new employee isn’t left wondering.
Next two years:
While clear understanding of an individual’s tasks is important, understanding how those tasks ladder into helping an organisation achieve their purpose and growth is a powerful motivator. Ensure your organisations purpose, values and promise are well documented and communicated and then illustrate the ways that each team and the individuals within, help the business achieve these goals.

2. Work control: Your action steps

Next three months:
Assess how you and managers are working with your employees. Are they setting clear expectations for employees? Have key metrics been designed and communicated? Are they being given the opportunity to complete the work in a way that works best for their individual circumstances? If these expectations are relayed, it can give employees the space and clarity to be more productive in a way that works for them as well.
Next 12 months:
Begin building on how you can offer work/life integration to enable flexibility for your employees. Create employee surveys to gather feedback as individual needs will vary in how much work/life integration will benefit them.
From there, you can co-design policies with the wider team that allows them to achieve these goals. For example, setting core work hours, say between 10 and 3, when all employees are expected to be at their desks for meetings and collaboration opportunities, but outside of that, they can work whichever hours work for them as long as the agreed output is achieved.
Next two years:
Continually check-in with employees through follow-up surveys about their experience at work. Use data and feedback to periodically review and refine existing policies and assess whether further strategies need to be put in place to enhance work control and flexibility.
Proactively invest in technology that continues to support flexible working arrangements and autonomy such as project management software and time-tracking software which can help employees monitor their hours worked when utilising work/life integration.

3. Growth and rewards: Your action steps

Next three months:
In employee engagement surveys, gather feedback on if employees feel like they can develop within the organisation, and if they are being offered the opportunities they need to grow. This feedback will give you a good base line from which to start any learning and development programs. With a clear picture of where capability might be lacking, or desired, understand what skills can be taught from within the organisation or through online learning programs, and which might need to be bought in by external providers.
Next 12 months:
Define the learning pathways for different roles within the organisation to lift the team towards an organisation’s strategic ambitions. Mark the goalposts and record them in employee performance reviews and career development goals to hold everyone accountable to enabling employees to achieve these. Where skills need outside assistance to build, set aside budget for external courses.
Next two years:
Constantly ask yourself, if I’m an employee in this position, are there incentives for me to learn? Am I given adequate time at work to take on the training? And is it helping me to build on my pre-existing skills to allow my career to grow?
Continue to build upon the learning pathways that are being offered. Is there room for more advanced learning such as leadership training or even succession planning programs that expand on goals for employees to work towards? Additionally, establishing a rewards program that delivers financial incentives can help keep driving continuous learning and development.   
In a rapidly changing world of work, employees are more focused than ever on continual growth, and being engaged by the work that they do. Organisations that can implement changes in the short, mid, and long-term not only provide the resources needed to enhance the employee experience, but also strongly position themselves for the future.
If you missed it, read our first article on EX: Your Introduction to Employee Experience to get up to speed.
If you need help in creating an excellent employee experience, reach out to one of our expert consultants today.


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