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Improve Recruitment Processes and Boost Retention With an Employee Experience Journey Map

July 08, 2022 Employee Experience
Tom Regan
By Tom Regan LinkedIn

With the BLS reporting record numbers of employees quitting every month, it's time for employers to wake up. The future has arrived, and if you're not keeping up-to-date with modern best practices, you risk getting left behind. Is your HR department still called an HR department, or even more antiquated, personnel? If so, it's time to move into the world of people-centric business.

Access to education and practically unlimited information means the public is more empowered than ever. Plus, with social media and review sites, such as Glassdoor, it's not just potential employees who are judging your employer's brand — the public is paying attention, too. To attract, engage and retain today's workforce, you should think of your team in the same way you think of customers. Developing an employee experience journey map is a smart first step to modernizing your people management processes.

Delve into the article below to discover how an employee journey map can help you cultivate an environment that's immune to the looming threat of The Great Resignation.

What Is an Employee Experience Journey Map?

If you've heard of or done customer journey mapping, you probably understand the principles of employee journey maps. Likewise, employee experience is akin to customer experience. If this all sounds alien, don't worry — this article is here to shed light on these crucial concepts.

Put simply, your aim is to map out the end-to-end journey employees go through at your company. Mapping facilitates the improvement of the hiring process, retainment of top employees and identification of pain points. In turn, it helps employees understand exactly what's expected of them in your workplace and streamlines people management functions. The end goal is improving the employee experience, which is the sum of all interactions a worker has with your workplace.

Just like customer journey maps, there's no one-size-fits-all with employee journey maps. Different moments matter more to different individuals, and your goal is to identify the personas of your ideal workers, so you can address their goals and needs. For example, the journey map for a boomer who's been with you for decades will look distinctly different from a zoomer graduate at the beginning of their career.

What Does Employee Journey Mean?

The employee journey is the path every candidate and hire goes on, from viewing a job ad and checking out your company website to quitting. It includes every stage of the employee experience, taking into special consideration the key touchpoints that matter most to employees.

Moments that matter have an enduring impact on how employees perceive your brand. By pinpointing these pivotal moments, you can shape employee experience and strengthen your overall reputation. Let's take a quick look at some of them:

  • Reading a job ad.
  • Checking your website and social media.
  • First interview.
  • First day.
  • Initial one-on-one with line manager.
  • First performance review.
  • Birthday.
  • Training and development opportunities.
  • Company outings.
  • Transitional phases.
  • Notice period.
  • Exit interview.

What's Employee Engagement and Why Does It Matter?

Employee engagement describes how invested a worker is in their role at your company. In recent years, businesses that focus on improving employee experience have seen huge financial returns on their investments. Engaged workers take the time to learn more about your brand, they're more passionate in their interactions with customers and they go the extra mile to deliver results.

The CDC recognizes the value of employee engagement. It offers some excellent tips on how to engage your workforce and outlines the benefits you can reap as a result.

Core Components of the Employee Journey Map

The precise elements involved in employee journey mapping in your organization will inevitably vary. The size of your company, verticals you operate within and business goals can make a big difference to what matters most to your workforce. Below are some common core components of an employee experience journey mapping strategy.

Recruiting and Hiring

Some companies start their mapping process with onboarding, but this neglects the all-important first impression of talent acquisition. Your job ads, LinkedIn profile, social media pages and website are the initial touchpoints for most workers. These elements and your entire recruitment process should be crafted with the ideal person you envision for the role in mind. In today's battle for talent, you must sell the job to your dream candidate — because they'll go elsewhere if you don't.

Shape your online presence around your brand, so it appeals to your dream candidates. And, crucially, make the application process as simple and intuitive as possible.

The Onboarding Process

New starters are practically blank canvases, ready for you to mold into your company culture. Individuals who have just started working for you tend to be enthusiastic and keen and haven't developed any bad habits. The more you invest in making the onboarding process a fun, insightful process, the better. Ensure that it includes all relevant training and outlines every expectation you have along each stage of the employee journey. Get it right, and you set up each new team member for success.

Compensation and Benefits

While employees care deeply about various elements of employment at your company, getting salary and benefits on point is goal number one. A fair compensation structure is often the difference between a mediocre and outstanding workforce.

Keep in mind that additional benefits are often more attractive than salary. There are plenty of creative ways to remunerate top-performing team members, including flexible schedules, health insurance and discount schemes.

Communication, Engagement and Community

One of the least expensive ways to engage your workforce is by keeping them in the loop about company matters. Giving employees the respect of information is a huge benefit in itself, and encouraging teamwork and friendship fosters a sense of community. When employees feel like they belong — like work is an extension of family — you've struck employee engagement gold.

What's more, ensuring they have as many cross-departmental communication channels as possible improves workflows and makes accessing critical information easier.

Recognition and Reward

Financial and operational benefits are one thing, but recognizing high performance and rewarding it is another. When an employee feels like their hard work is seen, valued and made an example of, they're happy. On the other hand, if people are going the extra mile and still get the same recognition as everyone else, they're unlikely to continue those efforts.

Development and Performance Planning

Human beings (i.e., your entire workforce) are hardwired to seek out continual progress. Providing well-timed learning and development opportunities is one of the best ways to foster engagement and invest in your team, and it's a true win-win. You feed their insatiable desire for progress while strengthening employees' knowledge base.

Performance reviews are the best time to develop training plans. They give you the opportunity to find out what makes each worker tick, so you can design a tailored development plan. You might be surprised by how effective training is at inspiring even the most reserved employee.

Promotion

Every ambitious worker wants a promotion. As an employer, you can leverage this urge to progress to benefit you and your employees. Let your team know exactly which KPIs they need to hit and for how long to get promoted, and use climbing up the ladder as a primary motivator.

Personal Events

Have you ever gone to work on your birthday and felt the mild yet potent disappointment of not being recognized? The difference between tying a balloon to an employee's desk and getting the team to sign a card can be like night and day.

Likewise, making events, such as paternity or maternity leave, memorable and enjoyable can have a notable impact.

Feedback

There's more to making your staff feel heard and valued than rewards and remuneration. Asking for their feedback on company issues, workplace matters and future initiatives is a highly effective way to manage change and measure the employee experience.

Resignation, Termination or Retirement

The notice period and exit interview might be one of the most eye-opening touchpoints on the employee journey map. You can use it to gather brutally honest feedback, but you must also remember that it's going to be the lasting impression that employee has of your brand.

You should also plan for an effective transfer of knowledge and be intentional about how you pass on the news to the rest of the team.

How to Create an Effective Employee Journey Map

Below is a quick guide to building an employee experience journey map.

1. Consider Plenty of Data-Led Research

The first step for any company looking to implement an employee journey map is research. Use quantitative research data, such as tenure stats, turnover rates and exit interview information, and conduct surveys across the entire workforce.

2. Build Employee Personas

Segment your team into employee personas, so you can create personalized journeys. People are unique individuals, not numbers, and the more detailed and specific you are with personas, the better equipped you are to engage at scale. Consider their skills, experience, needs, demographics, goals and hobbies to create an experience that's as positive as possible for each persona.

3. Identify Moments That Matter

Remember moments that matter? They're pretty important in the context of an employee experience journey map. Take the time to identify exactly which ones have the most notable impact in your organization. Use automated employee surveys to gather and analyze crucial data and glean insights about what matters to your team.

4. Set KPIs and Define Touchpoints

The next step is to define measurements for each stage of the employee journey and set relevant KPIs. Establish processes for moving through each touchpoint, and assign specific job roles to be responsible for measuring and reporting successes and pain points.

5. Design a Map or Storyboard for Each Persona

Visualize the journey each employee persona goes through along each touchpoint, and identify pain points. Pay close attention to the transitions between each stage, and aim to preempt disengagement. Visually map out the employee journey for each persona, either in a spreadsheet, flow chart or storyboard format. There are also software programs business leaders can use to automate the mapping process,

6. Use Surveys to Gather Feedback

Real-life, real-time feedback is the best way to measure the success of your employee journey map. While you should survey everyone, certain groups can offer the most actionable insights, such as:

  • People who have low engagement scores and leave quickly.
  • Complainers.
  • Top-performers and long-standing team members.
  • Skilled, experienced line managers who get the best results from their team.

7. Continually Measure and Improve

Experience mapping is never a one-and-done. The marketplace is moving faster than ever, so you need to take a cyclical approach to employee journeys. Use hard data and direct feedback to drive future decision-making, and automate wherever possible, so your best minds can focus on growth strategies.

Top Tips for Improving Employee Experience With Journey Maps

An employee journey map can improve employee and customer experience, but only if you're doing it right:

  • Identify key stakeholders — who interacts with your employees? How might these interactions impact them? Be sure to clearly communicate expectations and changes regarding employee experience with all of them.
  • There's no such thing as too much information or data — be liberal with the use of surveys.
  • Understand the value of onboarding, which sets the tone for an employee's entire tenure. The more positive, streamlined and informative it is, the more you'll be able to engage new starters.
  • Prioritize people over results. Don't let business KPIs and customers' whims overshadow the needs of the people who are in the trenches, communicating with customers and manning your organization day-to-day. Act ethically and protect the interests of employees to ensure you maintain a great reputation with employees and customers alike.

Next Steps: How to Manage Employee Experience at Your Organization

Exceptional employee experience goes beyond the scope of an employee journey map. Once you've got a handle on employee journeys, consider taking the plunge and overhauling employee experience holistically. Follow these steps to manage this all-encompassing concept:

  1. Start by building a high-level employee journey map.
  2. Identify pain points and build detailed sub-journeys that address common challenges.
  3. Ensure employee journeys are interconnected across departments and via sub-journeys.
  4. Use your map as a dashboard for management to understand common challenges at a glance.
  5. Assign responsibility to an employee experience manager, and have them break down the work and assign coordinators to the different elements.
  6. Design processes and models to give and receive feedback, and address common problems before they impact an employee's experience.
  7. Ensure the person responsible for employee experience is continually analyzing and refining processes to maximize engagement and satisfaction in the workplace.

Society and the workplace are evolving under the microscope of social media and readily available information online. Understanding younger generations and what motivates them gives a crystal clear picture of future workplaces. The economy is moving toward people-centric, purpose-led business practices — and those who don't jump on the bandwagon risk being left behind.

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