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Employee loyalty · 

8 minutes

Employee Experience Model: How to Optimize Employee Lifetime Value

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

What is Employee Experience?

Employee experience is essentially the way in which a worker recollects his or her time working for an organization, from the application process throughout their time working up until the day they leave. This can be greatly influenced by a number of factors including the type of work being done, the physical workplace environment, the culture of the organization, as well as many others.

Your employee experience is the basis of how attractive a workplace is for potential workers, or even investors and other parties of interest. For example, if the majority of employees in a workplace reflect on their employee experience as a negative one, this will gravely damage your employer brand. Hence, it is important that all organizations are aware of how improving the employee experience can improve their business.

Components of Employee Experience

There can be many different elements that make up an employee experience in a workplace, with one of the most important of these being the type of work being done.

Type of Work 

The type of work involved in a job is arguably the most important factor when it comes to the overall employee experience, as this will generally be the reason an employee likes or dislikes their job. The type of work an employee does can include anything from a secure and consistent office job to a physically strenuous outdoor job to a high-stakes sales job. All of these professions as well as any others involve specific tasks and responsibilities which can either make the employee experience a happy and joyful one or one that is filled with dread and struggle. The amount of work required from an employee can also be very stressful, and while many workers strive under this stress and pressure, others may crumble under it. Hence, if an employee is unsuitable for the job they are doing this may reflect negatively on the employee experience, even if this is through no fault of the organization.

Physical and Work Environment

The physical environment an employee works in also plays a major role in their overall perception of their employee experience. This is particularly evident in environments that are considered particularly difficult to work in, such as offshore oil rigs and military sites. However, it should be considered that many employees will enjoy and even thrive in physical environments that would be considered more difficult, while they may struggle in more comfortable environments. For example, an employee who loves outdoor activities and physical exercise may struggle greatly in a crowded office environment, but they may thoroughly enjoy working on a fishing trawler or as a firefighter. Hence, in order for the employee experience to be as positive as possible, the employee should first be matched with an occupation that is suited to them.

Work Colleagues

Another important element of any employee experience is the colleagues the employee works with during their time with an organization. It is impossible to expect every employee to become best friends with everyone they work with, in particular when it comes to large workplaces with hundreds or even thousands of employees. Therefore there will undoubtedly be occasions where workers become involved in arguments or disagreements which if left unresolved can turn into more serious problems. This can greatly affect the employee experience of any worker, especially if they feel they have been treated unfairly by one or many of their colleagues.

Furthermore, while this may be seen among employees at the same level, it can also emerge between employees and their superiors. Often employees may feel they are not being treated fairly by their manager, boss, or supervisor, in particular when it comes to pay and promotions. This can be especially damaging to the employee experience as it may cause the employee to feel as though they have wasted their time with an organization when they could have spent this time working elsewhere.

Company Culture

The culture of a workplace or organization can also be an influential factor in the employee experience of its workers. For example, an organization that is highly focused on efficiency and productivity may be perfectly suited to a certain type of worker, however, it may not be at all suitable for others. Additionally, a workplace that has an innovative culture may be perfectly suited to a more creative individual, and hence their employee experience would generally be reflected more positively than a less creative employee.

Time & Working Hours

Another important aspect of any employee experience to consider is the amount of time the employee spends at work or working for the company or organization. For example, an employee who spends ten hours a week working for an organization is likely to have a completely different employee experience than someone who works forty hours a week for the same company. It is also important to consider that an employee who has spent forty years of their life working for one company is also likely to have an entirely different employee experience than someone who has worked for the same company for ten years.

Aside from timing and working hours in this sense, there's flexibilty. Employee satisfaction is typically much higher for employees that are able to work flexibly. This puts less pressure on employees, ensuring that their wellbeing is tip-top. This significantly decreases work related stress and increases revenue and productivity.

Employee Experience Strategy 

There are many things employers and organizations can do to work on their employee experience and improve the workplace in the eyes of their employees. For example, some of the most important ways employers can improve include effective and thorough candidate interviews before hiring, regularly communicating with all employees, along with developing clear and challenging yet achievable goals for employees.

Thorough candidate interviews

As discussed previously, certain people are more suitable for specific jobs than others, and the more suitable an employee is for a job, the better their employee experience will generally be. Alternatively, if an employee is highly unsuitable for their profession, then this will generally be reflected very negatively in their employee experience. A potential employee may have an impressive resume, however, if it is clear that they are not well suited to the type of work they will be doing, then it would not be in the best interest of the organization to offer them the job.

In addition to this, candidate experience is the beginning of the road for your employee experience. Ensuring you not only interview candidates, but make it a positive experience for them, is essential. It can be easy to overlook this and take the angle of the employee needing to impress you, but there's an equally big need to impress job candidates within today's market.

Regular Communication

Communication is key in any organization, however, this is particularly true when it comes to the employee experience. Clear and concise communication can ensure that the employee not only completes the correct work in the correct manner but also receives praise for work well done. This gives the employee a sense of achievement and success which will undoubtedly add positively to their employee experience. Furthermore, regular communication with colleagues on the same level and employee recognition from superiors will give the employee the feeling that they truly belong in the organization and that they are valued as a worker, as will employee rewards. This will also improve the employee experience of any worker, hence improving the reputation of the organization as a whole.

Development and Goal Setting

Once an employee is given a job in an organization, it is important that they are given specific goals and objectives that they are tasked with achieving within a certain timeframe, It is important that these goals are challenging, yet achievable, as this will push the employee to work harder to achieve their goals, without putting them under too much stress and pressure. Essentially, the right selection of goals and objectives will make an employee feel necessary and wanted in the workplace, while it will also ensure that their work is engaging and does not become dull and repetitive. This will generally lead to a worker with a very positive employee experience.

When it comes to employee development, having a plan is essential. This should be as tailored to each respective employee as possible. If possible, using recognition and rewards within the training and development stage can significantly increase your return on investment. It motivates employees and creates a great feedback loop.

Why is the Employee Experience Important

The employee experience is undoubtedly important for many reasons, some of which include:

Productivity and Motivation

The direct result of a worker having a positive employee experience is the high level of motivation this will generate. One of the major benefits of highly motivated employees is the accompanying rise in productivity. Essentially these employees they will enjoy their job and wish to perform as well as they can in their position, hence, an increase in productivity will unsurprisingly occur. Not only do they wish to achieve the goals and objectives that have been set for them, but they will also want to impress their fellow workers and superiors, hence creating an organization that has a healthy level of competition running throughout its employees.

Quality of Work

High-quality work can also be seen in organizations with generally positive employee experiences. An employee that thoroughly enjoys the job they do will, in most cases, do a much better job than an employee who does not enjoy their job and struggles to find any motivation to do it at all. Additionally, as more and more workers reflect on their employee experience as one in which they enjoyed their work and completed it to the highest level possible, this will undoubtedly begin to create a culture of high-quality standards in the organization, which is always beneficial.  

Lower Absenteeism

Absenteeism will reduce greatly once you improve your employee experience. When employees enjoy the work they do they will often look forward to going to work every day and may even wish to stay longer than required on certain days. This will undoubtedly reduce the number of employees being absent from work in the organization. This is very positive for any workplace and is a very attractive trait in the eyes of potential investors as well as potential future employees.

Business Reputation

All of the points mentioned above combined within an organization will allow it to generate a highly positive reputation. An organization that has high-quality standards, high productivity levels, and low levels of absenteeism will be highly attractive to any third party analyzing the organization, from potential future employees to investors considering buying shares in the organization.

Employee Experience Model & Framework

The employee experience model is essentially a guide followed by organizations in order to ensure they can create an employee experience that is as positive as possible for the employees, and hence as beneficial as possible to the organization. The employee experience model is broken down into a number of stages below, and it takes a holistic approach to increase the value of employees within your business by affording them opportunities, training and adequate development, and ultimately a positive work environment. It's based on the lifecycle of employees, ensuring you have the right tools in each stage of the employee journey.

Awareness to Acquisition stage

The first stage in the employee experience model involves the acquisition of the employees themselves. This includes finding the right candidates for the job, ensuring they are capable of performing at the levels required, and finally having them agree to work for the organization. However, it also goes beyond this. Your employer brand comes into play a lot when it comes to attracting employees, so make sure you have a positive one. Ask for employee feedback on how you can improve your brand, how you can improve the hiring process, and even ask them to be involved in the hiring process.

Training and Employee Development

The next step in the model is the training and development of the employees. This involves teaching the employees how certain things are done in the workplace and how they will be expected to perform. Employee recognition is highly important in this section of the model, as it is vital that employees are rewarded for both engaging in the work required of them as well as completing it to a high standard. This is a great point to introduce employee rewards or incentives, as it maximizes employee engagement during the training phases.

Add Value and Avoid Problems

Once the employee has become established in their job, value can then be added to the employee experience with certain incentives, such as rewards for work well done, personalized tasks, and more challenging work. Provided you've done enough to maximize employee engagement so far, you should have a productive employee. However, it's how you run your business and treat your employees on a day-to-day basis that makes the difference in the next stages - that's what employee experience management is all about.

Inflection Point: Is the employee engaged and motivated?

The fourth stage of the employee experience model reflects on how the employee is performing and behaving in the organization. If the previous stages of the model have been completed successfully then the employee should now be highly engaged and motivated in their work, while also being grateful for the opportunity to work with the organization. Ultimately, this comes down to employee satisfaction - are employees happy in their job, or has your employee experience management been lacking? This isn't just about rewards or pay or engaging work on a day-to-day basis. It's also about giving employees clear key performance indicators, as well as fostering a positive workplace culture and giving your employees feedback and opportunities.

ROI Stage

The fifth stage of the employee experience model reflects on the employee journey and compares their performance now to that of the employee when they first joined the organization. Essentially, it's your return on the investment you've made in that employee. If the employee has been trained effectively and is engaged and motivated in their work, then this provides a highly positive return on investment for the organization and shows a boosted employee lifetime value. You'll know whether or not you've gone wrong by this point, even if you haven't made it a priority to measure employee experience or gauge the quality of your employee journey.

When you get things right, this stage is where your employees really start to flourish. Employee engagement is high, and the experience that employees have accrued within your company will make them far more efficient. What results is engaged employees that were trained effectively and have bought into the company culture, which boosts employee productivity as well as business performance. As a result of this, employee engagement and employee satisfaction are much higher, and the employee lifecycle is extended, truly showcasing how improving the employee experience can help your business.

Alternative stage

An alternative outcome is if the organization has not trained the employee effectively. In this case, employee engagement is extremely low and employee motivation to progress within the organization is virtually zero. This will reflect poorly on both the employee and the organization and result in a substandard return on investment and poor business performance. Not only this, but it will damage your employer brand as a result of employees having poor experiences and subsequently leaving the company. This stage marks the end of the employee lifecycle in many cases, but in certain cases can even result in quiet quitting - if that hasn't happened already.

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