Marc LeCuyer is the general manager for Canada at California-based cloud computing company ServiceNow
Workplace perks like stocked fridges, catered meals, on‑site fitness facilities and laundry services have felt like the key differentiators in attracting top talent to a new company for some time now.
But in the face of historically low unemployment levels, employers need to think about whether these perks are really keeping employees motivated and happy. Is this the employee experience they’re really looking for?
A look at employee experience has traditionally centred on employer perspectives. If business leaders want to truly build a better employee experience – and they should – we need to shift our mindset and look at it from the perspective of employees so we can truly understand what it is they want and need.
What are employees saying?
A new report on the employee experience digs into the candid responses of employees when it comes to their at-work experiences and reveals that employers are missing the mark. The report, published by ServiceNow in August, analyzes the results from a survey of 1,400 employees at companies with over 2,000 employees.
Troublingly, 60 per cent of employees surveyed have a strong desire to provide feedback to help their company improve, but this desire is largely falling flat. Over half of respondents don’t believe their employers are invested in improving the employee experience and don’t feel their opinions and perspectives matter.
For employees, every action, whether it’s handled by the benefits department or by IT, is seen as a united effort to help or hinder their experience at work.
So where are organizations falling short? How can they improve? Attrition is inevitable, so rather than trying to avoid it altogether, business leaders should instead focus on delivering engaging experiences throughout an employee’s entire tenure. This can take the form of consistent and detailed onboarding and offboarding processes, to delivering on the basics, like making it easy to find information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Make information accessible and easy to find
When we’re at work, we should focus on doing great work, not on figuring out how to navigate daily administrative tasks. These shouldn’t be hard, but too many employees say things like finding information about a company policy or trying to resolve an issue with equipment – either on their own or with help – are not easy to do.
Breaking down where information is stored and creating opportunities for information sharing and efficient workflow throughout departments, like IT, HR and procurement, can create a simpler structure for employees to navigate. Technology can help automate these processes as well, making it even easier to submit paperwork or file and track a help desk ticket with IT, even from a smartphone. These fixes can lead to a more productive and satisfying work experience for employees.
Focus on the big and small moments throughout the employee journey
Starting a new job is a big moment when little things matter. While 85 per cent of employees were enthusiastic about their position and company when starting a new job, that satisfaction drops to 62 per cent just a few weeks in.
This drop in satisfaction can be tied back to several issues, among them the fact that only a third of employees found it easy to complete paperwork on a mobile device before their first day, and half said it was easy to receive their new equipment. When it comes to big transitional moments, almost two-thirds of employees rate their employers poorly based on a negative experience with personal leave.
Showing commitment and dedication to employees throughout their journey at a company is key to delivering a positive and engaging experience.
Listen to employees – and really listen
When only 45 per cent of employees feel their opinions and perspectives matter to their employer and only 40 per cent believe their feedback is acted upon, clearly organizations need to do more to ensure employees feel they’re being heard.
And the solution can be simple. Listening to the problems that employees raise will help you fix them, and addressing issues in a timely manner will show employees that they’re being listened to.
Ultimately, if an employee’s experience is lacking at the onset of their new job, the impact of that negative experience is often felt until their very last day. In creating meaningful employee experiences within an environment where work gets done efficiently, employers will see the benefit of a more engaged, productive and satisfied work force.
All this effort will help ensure that employees have good weeks beyond their first week.
This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
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