Setting out to build your employee experience plan? Asking yourself questions will help get you off to a great start.
The employee experience you deliver is a living, breathing, evolving process, and you’ll have to keep a close eye on it to make sure it’s going smoothly and actually making a positive difference to the lives of your people.
So, you need to ask yourself not only how you’ll improve it, but also how you’ll measure its effectiveness.
We asked members of our community for their advice. One contributor highlighted the need for employee experience programs to convey the message that ‘we want to improve for you’ to encourage employees to get involved, for example.
Others emphasized how crucial it is to actually listen to your employees’ responses and to do sentiment surveys regularly.
Read on for more community insights.
1. What is the single most common pitfall I need to avoid?
Sometimes, one of the best things you can do when strategizing is to acquaint yourself with what not to do. And when it comes to employee experience, there are some no-nos that it’s worth keeping in mind if you want to move the needle.
The first is failing to ask your employees what it is that they actually want. When you’re working to effect change, your strategy absolutely needs to involve the people who are going to feel the impacts of those changes.
Lauren Mullis, Senior Communications & Engagement Manager at Logic20/20, told us that when building an EX program or plan for your employees, a “discovery process that digs into exactly what they need” is essential.
And Nicola McCarthy, HR Director at Flogas, added that you should steer clear of “under-communicating”. She said, “Listen to what your people are saying and place actions around what they’re looking for.”
2. When seeking employee feedback, what methods should I use? And how often should I ask?
When mapping out your approach to collecting employee feedback, there are a number of factors to consider. What tools will you use? How often should you reach out? What kinds of questions should you ask?
An employee experience platform like Workvivo is a no-brainer here because it allows you to carry out check-ins and surveys with your staff – no matter where they’re based or how they work.
But even without a dedicated employee app, surveys should absolutely be in your arsenal. We previously put together a list of survey questions you can use in your own business, but what’s often trickier is getting the balance right so that you don’t push your teams to survey fatigue.
For one of our community members, employee experience surveys are typically an annual event but they’ve sent them out twice in their internal newsletter in the last six months. Remember that your plan doesn’t need to be set in stone: it’s best to be in a position where you can amend your approach in line with your people’s changing needs.
For Nicola, her team carries out an engagement survey annually, and opts for pulse surveys quarterly.
And Lauren said, “It’s a full cycle – from day one to retirement or exiting the company, we’re always checking in.”
Your strategy can be flexible, but it must be consistent.
3. If I had to describe my ideal employee experience in one word, what would it be?
At the start of any journey, it’s important to set yourself goals. Strategizing for your employee experience plan is no different.
If you were setting out on an internal comms audit, for example, you’d create a vision of what your desired outcome would look like, whether it’s a more compassionate workplace, more meaningful connections, greater staff engagement, or all of the above.
We asked people in the Vivowire community what their own answers would be to this question. The top contenders? Engaging, impactful, and authentic.
As our CMO, Gidi, previously said, “Employee expectations are changing big time. Modern employees don’t respond well to orders and hate to be treated as resources. They are looking for meaning and involvement.”
As with all facets of your employee experience strategy, let what your employees want from it be your north star; if the vast majority of them crave a more connected workplace, then a more connected workplace should be a big part of your vision and goal.
4. What are some simple steps I can take to improve employee experience?
According to our community, the crucial first step any company needs to take when developing an employee experience plan is to actually want to do it in the first place. The second is to feature and celebrate your people.
Another simple but super effective way to get the ball rolling is to ask questions. “Ultimately you can only get suggestions, improvements, and feedback by asking the person most affected by the program you’re trying to create or enhance,” Lauren said.
And as well as asking specific questions, you need to make sure your teams know exactly where to go to share their feedback, and that they feel they can be honest and heard.
Nicola shared, “Ensure a solid health and wellbeing structure, provide opportunities for people to give feedback on an ongoing basis, and strive for very clear communications.”
5. What about longer-term actions in my employee experience plan?
As we’ve said, your employee experience strategy will never be a ‘one and done’. It requires consistent attention and assessment.
But what should that look like?
One community member recommends keeping feedback loops “constant” in the form of pulse surveys, stay surveys, and one-question check-ins.
“Constantly making sure you’re checking the temperature of your teams is the only way to ensure you’re staying up to date on how they feel and what they need from your organization,” they said.
And while asking your employees for their feedback is key, acting on what they tell you is just as important. Lauren explained that every employee experience program “must start with two-way communication; once feedback is received, the organization must be seen to act on it”.
Making your approach as accessible as possible is also crucial. Nicola said, “Clarity is the best thing you can give any new member of your team. Having clear and transparent expectations, guidelines, and processes – from day one – helps create happier employees.”