Employee experience is basically everything an employee encounters at a company – from their initial job search to their last day of work and beyond. Traditional HR practices are being transformed by intelligent technologies and people-first policies, changing from human capital management (HCM) to human experience management (HXM).

In what’s been referred to as the Great Resignation of 2021, millions of workers are quitting their jobs – and post-pandemic surveys report up to 95% of people saying they’re considering resigning from their current roles. Some don’t feel there are opportunities for growth at their companies, others don’t want to stay at jobs that don’t offer remote or hybrid work options, and still others are simply experiencing employee burnout. And the New York Times tells us that “companies post job openings in record numbers, but applicant activity is at record lows.” In the 2020s, employees are re-evaluating work/life balance and what they need from their employers. To attract and retain top talent, companies will need to go undergo a reevaluation process of their own, to better attune themselves to individual employee needs and expectations.   

Why is employee experience so important today?

In today’s economy, businesses are facing heightened risk and increasingly complex customer and market demands. To succeed, companies need to seize upon every competitive edge – and to do that, they need the best people.

Well-designed employee experience strategies lead to more engaged employees, and engaged employees lead to a more productive, profitable company. A recent Gallup report found that companies in the “top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.” 

Conversely, not prioritizing the employee experience has very real downsides, including decreased employee retention rates. Apart from the destabilizing effect of high turnover, there are enormous costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires. This online calculator shows that the cost of employee turnover is often about 50% of their annual wage, rising as high as 150% for highly skilled or senior employees.

Furthermore, with the prevalence of employer review sites like Glassdoor and the power of social media to influence opinion, dissatisfied employees can spread their views much farther and wider than they once could have done.

What is employee journey mapping? 

Employee journey mapping helps to visualize the timeline of the entire employee experience, from the time a candidate starts exploring the company, to the day they retire, and beyond. It addresses all the key touchpoints and moments that matter most to the employee.

Employee experience software solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to gather, manage, and analyze employee journey mapping data can help provide relevant and meaningful support to the workforce. These tools can also support businesses by delivering insights and recommendations to make HR processes more efficient and resilient in the future.

Employees smiling in meeting

Employee journey and lifecycle mapping can be broken down into several stages. Below are some of the key touchpoints along this journey:

Six steps to mapping your employee journeys

Understand and enhance your organization’s employee lifecycle experience.

What is an employee experience platform (EXP)?

Today’s employee experience platforms evolved from the employee portals of several years ago, to online apps, and, finally, to today’s integrated, cloud-based EXPs. Modern EXP solutions combine engagement, well-being, productivity, collaboration, and communication tools. And the best systems have an employee-first design, allowing businesses to take complete control of the look, feel, and experience people have when using these tools – while retaining the power and functionality of the original, underlying HRMS system.

In other words, modern EXPs update the front end of strong applications and systems without disrupting or complicating the back-end functioning – creating a new experience layer on top of the existing structure to make it more modern, mobile-optimized, and easy to use.

“… We need a set of software to deliver a single user interface; something that lets us build employee journeys, develop apps, create and monitor workflows, and add chatbots and other forms of conversational interfaces to the mix.”

Josh Bersin

How do employee experience platforms benefit your business?

  By providing a unified work experience, EXPs deliver faster and easier communication.  

When HR teams are relieved from overwhelming and scattered admin tasks, they’re freed up to turn their attention to more innovative, value-added tasks. And when employees are allowed to interact with their work, colleagues, and environment in a personalized and self-guided way, they are able to stretch their wings, grow their careers, and attain a deeper level of engagement with their workplace.

The role of leadership in employee experience initiatives

The elephant in the room of many business transformation initiatives is that up to 70% do not succeed. But the fact is, they fail not because the ideas or technologies are wrong. They fail because of poor leadership and ineffective planning and communication. The following tips are a good checklist for team leaders and executives when launching employee experience initiatives:

Long-term outlook for employee experience and people-first HR practices

COVID-19 has changed the face of the modern workplace – possibly permanently. Modern businesses face increased competition on pricing, brand loyalty, shortened product lifecycles, and faster supply chains. Employee experience is one of the most powerful yet, until recently, overlooked areas for improved efficiency and profitability. To be successful in integrating HR into the greater business and profitability strategy, businesses will need to pay attention to a changing world of work – and realize that employee experience is no longer something that is “nice to have.” It has become a “must-have” for businesses that want to grow and compete in the 2020s.

Explore employee experience management software

Listen, understand, and respond to employee needs and experience gaps to ensure your employees are resilient and productive.