Sascha Becker4 augustus 2022
You don’t build an optimal employee journey on gut feeling
Creating an optimal employee experience requires conscious choices, an organised approach and good insight. Without them, whatever you do will be pointless, and a missed opportunity.
The customer journey existed long before the employee equivalent saw the light of day. The idea: that by understanding the journey its customers undertake, organisations could respond better to their needs.
The same applies to the employee journey. The journey and the insights it can provide puts the organisation in a better position to manage the involvement and enthusiasm of employees and, through this, to work on talent retention as well. Research by PwC shows that a strong employee experience benefits employees and employer.
The great thing about the employee journey is that is every organisation already has one. However, they are usually unaware of it. The question, then, is not what you need to do to create an employee experience, but what you need to do to create an optimal employee experience.
A six-factor journey
The centrepiece in our book about the employee journey (now in its fifth edition and with a post-Covid update) is the employee journey model. This defines six factors that influence a good experience: leadership, communication, learning and development, sustainable employability, empowering environment and social dynamics. By gathering data on how employees experience these factors, you can use the resulting insights to engineer major strides towards a healthy future.
That future starts at the top of the organisation, with the people who are ultimately responsible for the employee journey. Because if they don’t believe in investing in the employee journey and don’t prioritise doing so, it makes little sense to take it up as a topic. It won’t amount to anything more than a token gesture towards employees and will become a toy for HR and Communications that ultimately yields little. A waste of time and money.
An opportunity not to be missed
Not investing in the employee journey is a missed opportunity. If you look at what aligned employees bring to your organisation and do your homework, it is easy to make the business case. A recent Gallup report, for example, found that investing in people reduces the number of safety incidents organisations experience, boosts production, reduces employee turnover and reduces absence through illness, among other things.
The Randstad Employer Brand Research 2022 is similarly conclusive: loyal, satisfied and committed employees who work with enthusiasm and passion are an organisation’s best asset in the current tight labour market.
A means and not an end
As terms, employee journey and employee experience are almost impossible to avoid these days. Nevertheless, I feel there is something that needs to be stressed. This is that the journey is a means and absolutely not an end in itself and that every organisation already has an employee journey. However, as they are often unaware of this, they fail to invest enough time, money and attention into its ideal implementation. Simply mapping the journey taken by an existing or potential employee can uncover a lot, providing insight into areas of concern and helping to set priorities.
Corona is proof
The Covid-19 pandemic had a big impact on the employee journey. And it still has. It showed that, among other things, good internal communication is crucial to ensuring employees remain engaged and aligned. It also highlighted the essential role played by managers.
In addition, many organisations – and senior leaders – discovered that autonomy has a positive effect on employees. This knowledge is not new. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, identified autonomy as one of three most important motivational factors (alongside purpose and mastery).
And with this, the circle is complete again. Gaining insights, doing something with them and consciously working on the employee journey pays off. You don’t build an optimal employee journey on a gut feeling; you do it on the basis of insights, proven models and making targeted choices.