Hello Employee Experience

From sourcing to exit interviews, learn ways to engage with talent throughout their entire tenure.

By Amber Hyatt
Organizations need to move beyond traditional talent management activities to create an employee journey that attracts, motivates, and connects to employee results. This is the central finding of SilkRoad’s 2017 State of Talent report.How can organizations do this? There are several steps leading HR teams can take to ensure top talent is engaged:

1. Create amazing experiences for candidates and employees

2. Move beyond talent management to excite, engage, and motivate employees

3. Blend agile performance with traditional programs

4. Closely align workforce and business outcomes

5. Leverage apps to build the best experience

What’s clear from these recommendations is that organizations must say goodbye to a traditional talent management approach focused solely on processes and transactions . Instead, they must treat each stage of employment as a single, fluid experience designed to assist employees throughout their journey with an organization.

Start with employee sourcing, which is truly a potential employee’s first interaction with the organization, to help ensure they are a good cultural fit. To do so, organizations should leverage strategic recruiting tools such as career sites to highlight the employer brand. A corporate culture blog with input from current employees also shows how working at the organization is a rewarding experience. Aligning candidates to company cultural fit helps set the stage for engaged employees from the get-go.

Once a candidate has been identified, it’s time to create a unique employee experience via onboarding. Onboarding is a critical component, and the survey found several areas for improvement, including:

• Improving new hire time to competency (56 percent);

• Increasing new hire engagement (51 percent);

• Increasing new hire retention (47 percent); and

• Improving organizational culture (43 percent).

The onboarding process can be improved by considering:

• Ways to inspire new hires to embrace the company, mission, and brand;

• Two to three core ideas employees can follow throughout their employment;

• Opportunities to connect;

• Ways for new hires to provide their feedback; and

• Measurements for success.

Get executives involved in the onboarding process. Because they’re responsible for organizational goals, they can assist in engaging new employees by helping clarify how their new role will directly impact the business.

In many cases, the post-onboarding juncture is where employees suffer a disconnected experience as they settle into their day-to-day roles. But this is an increasingly important time for creating a rewarding employee experience. Leveraging the onboarding process to support all employee transitions, including promotions and lateral moves, can help organizations improve employee experiences and tie them to organizational goals. And it matters: 71 percent of respondents rated assessing experience at each career stage as very important or important. But there is a disconnect: 59 percent conduct no formal annual assessments of experience at different stages. If an employee transitions to a new role within the company, onboard them again for their new role to acclimate them to the position, team members, and how their efforts will affect organizational goals moving forward.

There are simple ways organizations can help improve the employee experience:

Communicate early and often. Make it a point to keep employees up-to-date on new customer feedback, project completion dates, and departmental reporting.

Leverage the power of appreciation. Sometimes even a simple thank you can go a long way, but also consider offering rewards for hard work, including free lunches, gift cards, tickets to an event, or extra vacation days or work-from-home days.

Maintain realistic workloads. When employees have too much to handle, they focus on juggling everything rather than doing great work.

Plan social outings and events. Build relationships through fun activities outside of the office.

Connect business goals to personal goals. There should be a clear connection between what the business is trying to achieve and what the employee is working on in their day-to-day life.

Organizations also need to understand that employees have lives outside of work. Get to know individual workers by incorporating frequent check-ins. These meetings will allow managers and employees to get to know one another beyond just work expectations. Proactively ask employees what they think, what would make them leave, and what would make their job more enjoyable.

As organizations move to engaging employees more, they should be measuring their efforts. But when asked if they had a method of measuring employee engagement, 78 percent of respondents said no (see Figure 1).

So how should organizations measure engagement?

• The ever-popular engagement survey is a great start to for benchmarking information.

• Offer open forums in which employees can voice their opinions—good or bad.

• Hold focus groups in which employees can share their perceptions and recommendations.

• Examine retention rates—disengaged employees don’t stick around.

• Conduct exit interviews to collect feedback.

• Track productivity to measure progress against goals and highlight opportunities to boost engagement.

One approach missing from the list is a traditional performance review, which frustrates employees and managers alike. In fact, the survey found that senior management found flaws in traditional performance management:

• 42 percent are disappointed with the amount of time required to do performance management;

• 26 percent had concerns about manager and employee confusion or dissatisfaction; and

• 24 percent wanted more flexibility for managers.

Enter the agile performance approach, in which managers and employees deliver and receive real-time feedback and collaboration to improve performance, so employee expectations and goals align with company goals. When those goals shift, as they frequently do, employee expectations can follow suit.

The survey finds that organizations have agile performance on their agendas in 2017:

• 33 percent are at an early stage considering what to add;

• 31 percent have integrated some elements;

• 10 percent are fully agile; and

• 63 percent plan to have more frequent conversations between employees and managers.

The 2017 State of Talent report showed a clear technology disconnect between workforce and business goals, with 74 percent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement: HR tech reduces costs, increases productivity, and simplifies and reduces time spent on HR tasks. Yet 31 percent neither agreed nor disagreed, and 15 percent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, “HR tech provides metrics that show how people are impacting company goals.” In other words, talent management automation is widespread, but only a small percentage of respondents have aligned the goals of employees with those of the organization.

Yesterday’s approach to talent management no longer provides a competitive advantage to companies. In 2017, HR teams will benefit from the technology trend of “appification” wherein “micro-applications” are beginning to replace large software applications. Just as consumers download mobile apps to meet their needs, companies can pick and choose from smaller apps to build HR technology that best supports their goals, simplifying and improving the day-to-day experience of employees in the process.

In 2017, expect more organizations to make the big shift from traditional talent management’s automation of processes and transactions to an employment experience that is fluid, keeping workers engaged and positively impacting business goals.

Amber Hyatt, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is vice president of product marketing for SilkRoad.

Posted May 3, 2017 in Engaged Workforce

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