6 Best Practices to Create a Positive Employee Experience

Employee experience is an employee’s perception of a company based on interactions across touchpoints along the employee life cycle. Through positive experiences, overall employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and employee retention rates can increase. These increases can also be linked to better productivity, performance, customer satisfaction improvements, and increased sales revenue, to name a few benefits. 

So, using the best options to create positive employee experiences is critical for companies in the company.

At the end of this article, you should know the following:

  • What are six best practices in creating positive employee experiences you should nail
  • What are the benefits of each 
  • Why understanding the Employee Lifecycle is critical to employee experience and the best practices

What is the Employee Lifecycle

There are seven stages to the employee lifecycle, but understanding the process gives you a roadmap to a positive employee experience. It also helps organizations visualize, much like buyer personas and customer journey mapping, how to take their employees from one point through to the end and form strategies. 

The 6 stages of the employee lifecycle:

  1. Attraction – At this stage, candidates are attracted to the company by their compensation packages, offer, position line-up, vision, or presence in the person’s life. Often it’s some combination of all of these. Here is where candidate experience is vital in talent acquisition and the start of employee experience! 
  2. Recruitment – Attraction and recruitment are part of the hiring stage for an employee. Here, the employee is just being introduced to their potential position and the company culture. Recruiters are the initial contact that starts this process. At this point, you hope your company’s culture is a match with the new hire and starting the retention process. 
  3. Onboarding – The new employee has to learn their job, the processes and procedures, and be introduced deeper into the company culture. This is where they gain organizational intelligence and start thinking about where they will fit in. Here inspiration from management and peers can begin as well. Also, the key to engagement starts here. Employees tend to be naturally engaged at the start of their position, and the organization will have to maintain this positive association.
  4. Development – Professional development is essential for any employee, and here is where things begin within the company. They are learning to understand their position and their place within the organization. They can go from being inspired to admiring their company as they know more about the internal practices. As engaged employees not only seek but request more learning opportunities, they take it upon themselves to gain ownership and can translate this over to their customer care.
  5. Retention – The more engaged the employee, the more likely they are invested in the company and to be retained. With good candidate experience, onboarding, and development, the organization becomes the primary place employees want to be. This can sometimes mean they will stay beyond tangible benefits because intangibles are worth more. This is especially true after the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting, where employees don’t want to work just for compensation. 
  6. Separation – At the retirement stage—the best possible outcome—the employee has given most of their work life to the company. They become a subject material expert (SMEs) for new hires, a brand advocate, and a loyal spokesperson. In the event an employee leaves before retirement, then it’s essential that they have a positive exit.

Keeping in mind the employee lifecycle, the best practices for a positive employee experience make more sense.

Six Best Practices for a Positive Employee Experience

1. Be an Inclusive Leader

Everything starts from the top. Leadership is the source of company culture, procedures, processes, and strategy. As such, they are also the start of a positive employee experience. Think of the CEO maintaining two very different titles in one position: Chief Executive Officer from an operational standpoint and Chief Experience Officer from a human resources and success role.  DEI strategies and initiatives should be fully incorporated into organizational development, from employee handbooks and onboarding to exit interviews. Influencing collaboration and communication, paired with transparency, is a powerful tool to keep positive employee experiences as a focus. 

Why do it? To create a sense that leadership is the champion of positive experiences not just for their customers but also for their employees. Being part of their day-to-day experiences influences collaboration, increases brand awareness and support, and opens communication channels between leadership and employees.

2. Listen to your people—and follow through

Beyond being inclusive, listening to your employees can help you find what motivates and inspires them. Within the employee lifecycle, inspiration becomes admiration through employees’ development, but knowing how to develop and support them comes from hearing how to do better for them. There are several ways to do this, but asking them directly is one of the best practices. Use surveys that have anonymity built in to increase participation and meaningful responses from your employees.

What sort of surveys could you use?

Some example surveys you can use:

Why do it? Understanding what motivates and inspires your people can help you ensure you are fulfilling their needs. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you like the way you’re being treated? Your pay? The way you can interact with management? Listening to them, and following through, connects you with them on a more personal level and gives both sides a sense of fulfillment.

3. Support Professional Development

Professional development (PD) for any employee is important to their success with the company. Having the right people, with the right knowledge, skills, and tools, also allows the company to be more successful. It’s best to think of PD as an investment in your employees and the company’s future. Skilled labor can be maintained through digital offerings. Artificial intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Virtual Workspaces are just a few technologies that have enabled advanced PD choices to assist employees in the office or remote/work-from-home.

Why do it? Offering PD to employees can help lower employee turnover, improve satisfaction, and engagement. It can also create a sense of ownership as employees become SMEs in their areas. You also make it clear that, as a company, you are committed to individual development just as much as company success. It’s a win-win situation.

4. Empower Employees to make decision

Numerous studies have shown how people in decision-making feel more ownership in a company or situation. You will find more active employees in customer care and success by allowing your employees to handle customers, make decisions regarding their care, or have autonomy where they can. 

Why do it? It is an extension of PD, training potential future leaders while also allowing your customers to gain these benefits. Empowered employees will also be more apt to offer changes, bring about innovation, and are more involved in strategies. This is a great benefit when they are typically on the front line, hearing directly from customers. 

5. Focus on Micro-Experiences across touchpoints

Micro-experiences are commonly connected to customer experiences, but it is possible to associate them with employee experiences. Micro-experiences are small, meaningful, and sometimes not thought-about moments where employees can be delighted, which can increase their overall experiences. For example, employees can clock into an app as they enter the building instead of a time clock on a wall with a line. Or having apps like ADP for compensation and self-service options. It can also be the CEO knowing people by name and sending a personal message to employees on their birthday. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it shows small micro-experiences that can create better experiences along touchpoints. This powerful way has an excellent return on investment, sometimes without significant financial investment.

Why do it? For the growing benefits! Micro-experiences can help you meet your employees everywhere and help them pass that way of thinking on to customers. Some people talk about making a “mountain out of a molehill” when it comes to problems. Think of this the same way, but positively! Make that mountain of good experiences from the small ones. 

6. Provide Alignment, Direction, and Commitment

This is particularly important for supervisory and leadership teams. Providing your team with direction makes things clear in the office and makes sure people understand what is going on. With alignment, all the teams are on the same page and can work together as they can. This point is a combination of the ones before in many ways. When people work together, with internal and external components aligned, processes are also cleaner, and productivity can increase. 

Why do it? To enhance all the other best practices mentioned in this article. Ensuring alignment, direction, and commitment makes open communication, collaboration, and micro-experiences easier.