As HR leaders, we recognize the advantages of offering a stellar employee experience, investing in a stronger work culture, optimizing the employee experience, and prioritizing employee well-being. Each contributes to attracting and retaining top talent, improving productivity, and nurturing brand advocates in current and former employees.
After this past year, employees have fundamentally reassessed what they need and want from their organization. There’s more focus on the complete benefits package beyond salary and bonus. Employees also want to know that their organization is supportive of their financial, physical, and mental health, as well as professional growth.
So how does HR optimize the employee experience? Let’s look at using personalization to optimize the employee experience through each of the six employee journey touchpoints:
- Joining the company
- Finding career growth
- Learning to lead
- Maintaining a healthy household
- Succeeding financially
- Leaving the company
Setting Expectations from the Start
The promise of a strong company culture starts with onboarding. It’s the first opportunity to build trust with new employees and show your company’s culture in action. When optimizing the onboarding process, it’s important to remember that onboarding begins before day one. Far too many organizations go radio silent once the contract is signed.
Consider sending personalized communications that showcase the company’s mission, vision, and values. Share benefits information, insight on the different tools they will use, their first-day agenda, and maybe even a glossary with some company jargon to set them up for success during those first few weeks.
After that first day, help employees build relationships with their colleagues. Pair employees with a mentor, schedule coffee chats, or arrange virtual lunches that bring together people from different departments.
Additionally, help set up a new employee for success by clearly communicating their responsibilities and setting company, team, and individual goals. New employees learn so much information during the onboarding process – it’s easy for a bit of ambiguity to derail the whole process.
Onboarding is the cornerstone of the employee experience, so it’s essential to engaging and retaining employees. Consider a survey at two weeks and again at the crucial 90-day period. Onboarding surveys help HR and managers gain feedback, measure the new employee’s experience, and improve the new-hire process.
Support Your Employees’ Career Growth
Eventually, the onboarding process ends. To ensure a successful transition, make sure to communicate available growth opportunities to employees. Does your company offer LMS courses or use a third-party course platform like LinkedIn Learning? Is there a budget that employees can use to attend professional conferences? Maybe you have different committees dedicated to solving various organizational problems that can expand their reach within your organization. Different employees look for growth in different ways, so it pays to offer multiple options.
Another key aspect of career growth is managerial involvement. Employees need to know that their managers care about their success and continued growth. Take time to check in on both managers and their direct reports to ensure one-on-one conversations are happening, frequent check-ins occur, and there is alignment related to goals, objectives, and performance plans.
Ultimately, to support employees’ career growth in a personalized way, your organization should offer a range of learning opportunities and highlight these tools to your employees regularly, as well as foster a culture where career growth is an open conversation between managers and employees.
Making Moves in Leadership
The reality is, many first-time managers don’t receive formal team management training. Yet, the transition from individual contributor to manager is often complicated and stressful. Consider optimizing your employees’ ability to lead by sharing leadership courses and offering mentorship opportunities. Personalize this effort with individual reminders to read specific material or participate in classes related to leading a team.
In addition to supporting new managers, take time to identify potential managers and start nurturing ideal management skills early on. This is another area where different training courses, mentorship programs, and surveys can identify those future leaders.
Keeping Employees and their Families Healthy
Health and well-being benefits are top of mind for employees and critical for potential hires when considering employment. Employees expect more out of their health and well-being benefits. One way to optimize your employees’ benefits experience is to personalize communications. Benefits communication needs to go beyond enrollment. Communicate the right benefit at the right time when your employees need it most, whether that’s switching to a generic medication, receiving a mammogram reminder, help in selecting the right health care plan, or being reminded to take advantage of therapy sessions.
By using well-timed communications to inform and educate your employees about their benefits, you can help improve the overall health of your employees and their families. And, in turn, strengthen your business for the long-term.
Supporting Financial Success
There are currently four generations of employees in the workplace, which means your employees have a wide variety of financial concerns. Part of optimizing the employee experience is providing support to help employees succeed financially.
Whether it’s saving for college tuition, supplementing with an HSA, or securing your retirement, financial stress can cause anxiety. If you offer retirement planning, financial literacy workshops, dependent care funds, 401(k) allocations, or supplemental insurance, you can help employees take advantage of their financial benefits. As with health and wellness benefits, automated, personalized communications keep employees knowledgeable about their benefits and encourage engagement with the right benefit when they need it most.
The Ideal Way to Offboard
It’s natural for employees to leave the company, whether it’s because they’re going to another company or retiring. Not providing a smooth and personalized offboarding experience is a missed opportunity. Former employees are often great brand advocates. They may still promote your company’s social media posts, shop at your store, or recommend potential employees for your company even after their tenure has ended.
During offboarding, be sure to discuss how to handle health and financial benefits, participate in alumni groups, and share continuing benefits. Add another personal touch by checking in with (former) employees even when offboarding has ended. Reach out to confirm their address for their last W-2, send a holiday e-card, or share important company news.
By optimizing the employee journey using personalization strategies, employers can tailor their communications based on employee needs. After all, a customized employee experience increases retention, loyalty, and a meaningful alignment to your company culture.
Are you looking for more ideas on how to optimize the employee experience? Read this blog.