For most people, working in a company is like having a holiday dinner at your in-law’s house. Outwardly, you’re smiling, but in private, you’d rather be celebrating elsewhere.
The Puzzle of Improving Employee Experience
Not surprisingly, Glassdoor—a site known for anonymous employee company reviews—shows that only 54% of workers would recommend that their friends accept a job where they work. Common sources of frustration for many employees these days include lack of transparency or understanding, lack of resources to properly do their job, inflexible working environments, and poor communication.
As news of employee frustration works its way up in organizations, c-suite executives and members of the board of directors begin to hear the phrase “be people-centered.” Meaning, design solutions around people’s needs. While this appears to be common sense, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Becoming people-centered seems somewhat intangible—more art than science.
In fact, the Deloitte report on HR trends (2017) reported that 80% of HR directors believe the employee experience is “important” or “very important” to the health of their companies. Yet more than 50% surveyed admitted they did not know how to go about addressing employee experience.
Taking the First Step
An Employee Experience Journey Map can help you begin to move in the right direction.
A diagnostic tool that will help you visualize an employee’s current experience in your organization, the Employee Experience Journey Map includes “touchpoints” at which you can assess whether an employee’s experience meets their expectations.
For instance, a new employee’s first day of work is filled with critical touchpoints. It’s not uncommon for a new employee to feel overwhelmed by the day’s end as mountains of information gets shared enthusiastically by their employer and co-workers; however, more frequently than not, a greater volume of information is shared than the newcomer can assimilate, thereby frustrating the new employee and creating a wide gap between expectation and experience.
On the other hand, that same day the employee meets their new coworkers, another touchpoint. In this case, the coworkers prepared a special reception with food included to get to know each other better. Here, the employee’s expectations have been far exceeded.
When we identify and begin to address the gap between expectation and experience, the notion of being people-centered will cease to be a platitude on a PowerPoint slide and will start to become reality.
Eight Keys to Creating an Employee Experience Journey Map
It can be daunting at first to try your hand at Employee Experience Journey Mapping. Through trial and error, however, we’ve learned a lot about the process at XPLANE. Here are our top 8 keys to creating an Employee Experience Journey Map that puts you on the path to enhancing employee experience—and ultimately getting the best from your teams:
- “Segmentation” means “love.” Employee experience within any one organization is rarely homogenous. Different employees experience different realities. Understanding these differences is essential to improving employee experience. Start by creating three to six “employee “personas” that represent profiles of the most relevant groups. XPLANE’s Empathy Map Canvas can help you develop critical insights about each persona that lead to deeper understanding.
- Invest in research. This relates to our first point. Before you can improve a group’s experience, you must take time to understand their reality. For example, if you created four employee personas, you’ll need at least a month to gather information by conducting interviews or hosting focus groups before you share your findings.
- Make it visual. Visuals allow you to align a team around one unique representation. XPLANE’s Employee Experience Journey Map includes the option to debate the stages, points of contact, and needs of the employee, as well as the insights of the research phase and opportunities that arise from analysis of previous elements.
- Identify touchpoints from the employee’s perspective. At times, work sessions based around the Employee Experience Journey Map can lose focus of the employee. Without realizing it, people from different areas of the company that participate in the process can influence or alter the employee persona with their point of view. The success of your Employee Experience Journey Map depends on prioritizing the perspective of the employee over the personal experience of work session participants.
- Adapt to your organization. Each company is different. The various stages of a journey and the different touchpoints, in particular, must reflect the reality of your organization. While the template is standard, companies never are—each organization is different.
- Divide and conquer. An accurate understanding of employees’ reality is the foundation for determining how to relieve pain points. This is why it is necessary to take into account every detail—each point of contact can hide other smaller points of contact. Dividing these points of contact into their smallest units will better focus your efforts during your journey mapping exercise.
- Co-creating means incorporating the group’s vision. When you create an Employee Experience Journey Map, we recommend that people with different points of view participate. While there are moments dedicated to analysis, there are also times that require creativity and the search for opportunities. The more varied the group, the richer the results.
- Use metrics wisely. An Employee Experience Journey Map is subject to company objectives; therefore, fixed measurement criteria are necessary. Using people analytics in the context of the Employee Experience Journey Map means counting on metrics similar to those used in the customer experience area (the “Employee Net Promoter Score”). Additional tools such as BEACONFORCE can help track employee experience. The map itself will help you determine which measurements are needed based on identified pain points.
A New Path to Improving the Employee Experience
Research around the employee experience in companies has just begun. Case in point: The KennedyFitch report on employee experience, published in 2020, reveals that only 37% of companies have created an Employee Experience Journey Map. By honing in on employee experience at your company or organization, you can help pioneer a new way of working that will help employees become more engaged and more invested in making your place of work a place people want to see succeed.