The new distributed workforce of 2020 has put employers in a unique position. They not only have to manage largely remote workforces, but they also need to support employees through some of the toughest well-being challenges (both mental and physical) yet.
The employee experience has transformed—and as a result, HR professionals have to pivot. As employees continue in their remote work or an altered workplace environment, HR leaders need to carefully communicate to them: rapid, relevant communications are key.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity for powerful communication has grown. Digital transformation is forcing an increasingly digital world, thus changing the employee experience. While the core stages of the employee journey remain the same, employers need to be more thoughtful about how they communicate to their team members at each stage—and data has to drive that messaging.
Let’s review the various stages and how data-driven communication can support them:
1. Joining the company
It’s easy to think the employee experience begins post-hire, but it really begins the moment the person starts engaging with the company as a prospective employee. This stage encompasses the entirety of the hiring process: recruitment, interviewing, and onboarding. Imagine if you could streamline the onboarding process in particular, personalizing it to each employee by communicating relevant information that would make their acclimation to the company easier (connecting them to employee affinity groups, giving a preview of their benefits so they can make educated choices, etc.). In this scenario, strategic application of data is helping you reach employees before they even expect it—ultimately driving engagement.
2. Finding career growth
After having spent some time with the company, it’s natural for employees to think about career advancement. Does the employee feel supported, as well as guided in their professional development opportunities within the company? Are there options for them to learn and acquire new skills? Is there relevant data identifying a particular starting class that shows the time is right to advance career planning? Timely messaging about these opportunities (like nudging an employee toward a relevant LMS course that aligns with their career goals) after a performance review, for instance, can drive engagement and success at this stage.
3. Learning to lead
Piggybacking on career growth, this stage is for those employees who end up moving into people management positions. While not every employee takes this path, the ones that do can certainly benefit from relevant communication around the topic. Does the company provide adequate training and preparation for this distinct skill set? Communicating at the right moments about these opportunities is crucial. A platform that identifies members of your workforce that are on the path to people management (using data points like engagement with professional development programs, follow-ups from performance reviews, tenure in the role, etc.) enables communication that makes an impact at this stage.
4. Maintaining a healthy household
In addition to achieving professional goals, employees need to stay on top of the ever-changing healthcare and wellness needs for themselves and their families. Imagine the benefits of their company engaging with them at this level, ensuring employees have what they need to connect their families with the right benefits for health and well-being (whether that’s timely preventive screenings, chronic care adherence, or everyday habit change). For example, sending a reminder to a new mother about her DCFSA eligibility during her maternity leave could really make an impact as she’s deciding whether or how to pick a daycare. This added level of proactive engagement helps employees feel like they’re part of an organization that really cares about them and their family—and generating this information can be as easy as having the right data.
5. Succeeding financially
This stage poses the question: Is the employee aware of—and exercising—the full benefit of their company’s total rewards package? More specifically, do they feel empowered with knowledge to use the tools available to them that can help boost that financial security? Employer communications at this stage are about engaging employees to adopt accounts like 401(k)s, HSAs, and FSAs—as well as sharing how to strategically use them to support both short-term and long-term financial health.
6. Leaving the company
Eventually, employees leave and move to another venture—but this doesn’t mean the company’s relationship with them has to stop. Alumni relations are important in brand loyalty and re-recruiting, among other elements. That’s why your offboarding—and ongoing communication—experience should be as intentional and satisfying as your new hire experience. Think about benefits that will stay with the employees, or career opportunities you might want to expose them to later. The latter point is particularly important for retail companies, as they can not only bring back alumni as seasonal workers, those workers can become lifetime customers.
Optimize each stage for your company’s strategy
While every point of the employee journey is important, different stages will resonate more with different companies, based on each one’s workforce profile and goals. Perhaps alumni relations are particularly important to a retail business, so those HR leaders are thinking most about the last stage, whereas professional development might be a key selling point in a tech company’s recruitment process, leading them to focus on career growth.
Maximizing each stage with rapid, relevant communications that align to your company’s—and employees’—goals will ensure better employee engagement and a strategically marketed employee value proposition. Overall, that leads to ROI, employee retention, and business success.