Good morning everyone, it is Friday again….how do the weeks fly by so quickly?! I watched something yesterday that says you should not spend each week waiting for Friday to come, and that you should focus on finding employment that makes you truly happy and fulfilled. I spend my weeks wondering how on earth it is Friday already so I know I currently have this bit right!
Over the last week I have been giving consideration to why I have stayed with the same employer for 17 years, why didn’t I move on sooner, what was it that kept me there and why was I so happy. In essence, why was my employee experience so positive? Employee engagement and culture is also something from a work perspective I am naturally very interested in and a huge part of what I do but thinking about these things from my own perspective has actually made reflect back much further.
From the age of 15 I worked for a food retailer as many do, a part time job to see you through your education. I then went on to work full time for that employer and it was then that I began by HR journey. Being entirely honest there wasn’t many positives of my 6 years there but it did show me the career path I was passionate about and demonstrated to me from an early age what best practice did not look like! Now, in the interest of being balanced, the company itself on paper is a good one, the employee package was competitive and the intent to be a great “family run” business was there. The culture however in my store was terrible and the employee engagement was poor. Why? Simple, the store I worked in was ruled by fear, the senior management team were bullies and therefore the middle and junior managers were yes men. You feared to speak out and your opinions and ideas were not welcome. Your commitment was measured on the hours you were in store and not on your productivity. Critiscism was often and praise was rare. You were treated as a number, a body, nothing more. By the time I left this company my self belief was at rock bottom. Yes I was young, I had a lot to learn and I am sure there were things I would do differently now but I was always eager to learn, keen to deliver and passionate about getting things right. I cared about others and had the desire to make the place I worked a good one. That wasn’t recognised and so eventually I found the courage to move on! That was the best decision I ever made, well done 21 year old me!
I went from an employer that demonstrated how to do it wrong to one that was the complete opposite over night. Don’t get me wrong, I found the transition an odd one, I didn’t believe a business could be run in this way and spent the first year waiting for someone to yell at me or tell me I couldn’t go home. I was sceptical when I was asked for my ideas and even more baffled if people listened to them. I was in awe at this place, I felt like I belonged but in the early years didn’t feel I was worthy!
So what am I trying to say….employee experience really does matter, it counts. Your people are your strongest asset and they deliver you the success you desire. We know that it is less common now for people to stay with an employer for life or to build significant lengths of service. There are pros and cons to this of course but here are what I consider to be the top 9 points to delivering an outstanding employee experience from day one for however long that employee may be with you. When that person leaves you they can be brand ambassadors for life or not…..your choice!
- Recruitment process – from the day a potential employee applies for your organisation, give them a good impression, keep communication strong and the experience a positive one. You are selling yourself as much as they are, this is as much about the candidate wanting to work for you as it is you deciding if they are the right fit.
- Induction – don’t fall down at this hurdle, make them feel special, wanted and welcome. Have all necessary paperwork, passes and equipment ready but also arrange a buddy, maybe a welcome pack, take them for coffee. Don’t get lost in the process, do something to make them want to return the next day!
- Walking the walk daily – So you sold your organisation and the applicant is now an employee….don’t let them down. Ensure you deliver whatever it is you said you would.
- Line manager experience – I would argue this is the crucial part to any employee experience, weather you are the line manager or weather you are the CEO, do what you need to do to ensure you or your leadership team deliver an outstanding experience for their team. Invest in this population and check the vision is being executed well.
- Learning and Development – It is important to ensure people in your organisation have the room to stretch and grow, experience new opportunities and develop skills they never knew they had.
- Reward and recognition – Be fair, recognise a job well done, have a clear pay policy in place and make your employees feel valued. It isn’t always the grand gestures or the annual pay review either, a small thank you, praise when appropriate and a thoughtful token can be equally impactful.
- Meaningful work – We all want meaningful employment, make sure your employees are clear about the role they play in your organisations, where they add value and how they can develop. Listen to their ideas and implement them if appropriate. Empower people to deliver results and take ownership where they can.
- People are not a number – Listen to your team, learn from them, embrace the diverse opinions and experiences they bring, treat them as an individual not a number. Don’t get wrapped up in policies and procedures, make a pragmatic decision based on them as a person.
- Exit – When your employee does finally decide to move on, make the exit process as positive as the on boarding one. Complete an exit interview to gain insight to shape your business further. Of course, you would hope if you get all of the above right the exit interview will not bring any skeletons out of the closet but you never know.
Thank you to my first employer for teaching me how to not treat people and thank you to my current employer for showing me how fabulously it can be done. Sparkle HR is taking all of this experience and insight to work with other organisations to create a great experience that delivers results. Bring it on!
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning – Albert Einstein
Love Laura x