In today’s competitive business landscape, the employee experience has emerged as a strategic linchpin in reducing voluntary turnover, increasing engagement, and preventing burnout. But what exactly is employee experience, and why is it so crucial?
What is Employee Experience?
Employee experience, often abbreviated as EX, is a holistic view of life at work, requiring constant feedback, action and monitoring. It’s the journey an employee takes with your organization, and the way they feel about it. This includes all the interactions an employee has with you before, during, and after their tenure. It’s the experiences that begin from the first contact as a potential recruit to the last interaction after the end of employment.
The physical workspace that an employee works in contributes to the employee experience. This could be an office, a co-working space, or even their home. The tools and technologies that an employee uses for work also contribute to their experience. This could include their laptop, mobile phone, software and apps.
The benefits package is another important part of the employee experience. This could include health insurance, retirement plans, wellness programs, flexible working hours and vacation time.
But employee experience is most of all about the intangible aspects of work. Employees’ feelings about their work are crucial to commitment, productivity, and mental health. If they find their work meaningful and fulfilling, and they feel they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves, they are infinitely more likely to give you what you’re looking for and get what they need to feel good and do good.
When it comes to their colleagues, employees must feel a sense of camaraderie and community. If they feel a sense of belonging and are recognized and appreciated for their efforts, they will feel more responsible for the work that they produce and the wellbeing of others.
Similarly, in terms of their managers, employees should feel a strong sense of support and encouragement, as well as receive regular feedback and recognition for their work.
Finally, the organization’s culture plays a significant role in shaping the employee experience. If your culture fosters learning and growth, values diversity and inclusion, and ensures that employee’s soft needs such as social connection are being met, you can expect higher rates of satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
In essence, Employee Experience is about creating an environment where employees can do their best work. It’s about creating a culture where employees feel valued, recognized, and appreciated. And it’s about providing opportunities for growth and development.
The Link Between Employee Experience and Voluntary Turnover
High voluntary turnover is a significant concern for many organizations. It’s costly, disruptive, and can be a sign of deeper organizational issues. However, a positive employee experience can help reduce voluntary turnover.
Employees who feel valued, respected, and engaged are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. They’re more likely to stay with the organization, contribute to its success, and become advocates for the company brand.
While current economic uncertainties may lead you to believe that voluntary turnover will recede, PwC’s recent Saratoga benchmarking study revealed that even during this period of economic uncertainty, workers continue to leave at unprecedented levels. This shows empirically that employees who are not satisfied with their experience at your organization will choose to leave regardless of today’s uncertain economic conditions if you do not offer them a competitive employee experience.
Therefore, investing in employee experience is not just a nice-to-have, nor is it simply about making employees happy. It’s about creating an environment where employees feel their contributions are valued and recognized, which in turn leads to reduced voluntary turnover, increased organizational success, and a competitive edge on the labor market.
The Role of Employee Experience in Increasing Engagement
Engagement is much more than just job satisfaction. It’s about employees feeling a deep connection to their work and the organization while feeling responsible for more than just their own work and outcomes. Hence, it is no surprise that Engaged employees are more productive, more innovative, and more likely to go the extra mile.
A positive employee experience fosters engagement by creating an environment where employees feel their work is meaningful and appreciated, and where they are aware of the challenges and objectives of their organization and colleagues.
Let’s look a bit deeper:
- On average, only 53% of employeesglobally report feeling engaged at work. This is a significant figure considering that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their less engaged counterparts.
- Organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%. Which leaves little room to doubt the impact of engagement on an organization’s performance.
- A Gartner survey revealed that only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their experience at work which suggests a massive improvement curve and the opportunity to acquire a decisive advantage over your competitors if you play your cards right.
These statistics underscore the importance of employee experience in fostering engagement. By focusing on improving the employee experience, organizations can increase engagement, leading to higher productivity and innovation, and to the competitive edge needed to succeed in this increasingly competitive world.
Preventing Burnout Through Employee Experience
Burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion often accompanied by feelings of cynicism and detachment from work. Burnout is a serious issue for employees and employers alike that can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and even health problems.
A positive employee experience can help prevent burnout by ensuring employees have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively, opportunities for growth and development, and a supportive work environment that promotes work-life balance.
Let’s go a bit further:
- According to a report by McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in rapidly rising rates of burnout around the world. Across the globe, four in five HR leaders report that mental health and well-being is a top priority for their organization.
- However, many employers focus on individual-level interventions that remediate symptoms, rather than resolve the causes of employee burnout. This may lead employers to overestimate the impact of their wellness programs and benefits and to underestimate the critical role of the workplace in reducing burnout and supporting employee mental health and well-being.
- Research shows that employees frequently cite the feeling of always being on call, unfair treatment, unreasonable workload, low autonomy, and lack of social support as aspects of their jobs that undermine their mental health and well-being.
- According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey of adult workers, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress that year, and this number is likely to be on the rise as disruptive technologies, uncertain economic conditions and ongoing geopolitical tensions worsen employee’s mental health.
- In fact, A Harvard Business Review research paper reports that 89% of respondents said their work life was getting worse, 85% said their well-being had declined, and 56% said their job demands had increased.
These points provide interesting context on the importance of employee experience in preventing burnout.
The strategic importance of employee experience cannot be overstated. It’s a powerful tool for reducing voluntary turnover, increasing engagement, and preventing burnout. By investing in employee experience, organizations can build a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce ready to take on the challenges of the future.