A Once in a Lifetime Employee Experience

February 13, 2020 in
By Joseph Sahili

Every month we dive into what we are all so passionate about here at FMP: human capital management. You hear it all the time. Companies constantly guarantee that interested candidates will have an amazing, once in a lifetime experience if they so choose to work for them. These companies are not lying, though how exactly are they ensuring what an interested candidate will experience? How can they be so sure that what motivates one person is also going to motivate someone else? Or that one employee’s expectations are in any way similar to someone else’s?

A growing trend in strategic Human Capital management actually originated from the world of Consumer Psychology and Design Thinking. The purpose of this practice is to both strategically and intentionally craft the perceptions, interactions, and outcomes of the experiences that the workforce has while on the job. Consumer psychologists begin by creating a Journey Map, which is an illustrative diagram that conveys relevant touchpoints within the cycle of consumer behaviors. For those that are more organizationally inclined, these touchpoints would be the phases within the employee lifecycle (e.g., attracting, recruiting, onboarding, developing). This is what we would call the “Employee Journey Map” for the purposes of Design Thinking.

This growing trend stems from the fact that companies are becoming more aware of the “experience” that they need to provide in order to attract, engage, and retain their workforce. According to research findings from Gallup in 2019, organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%. And according to a 2019 statistic from the Bureau of National Affairs, employee turnover costs $11 billion per year. It’s no surprise, happy and engaged workers equate to productive and tenured workers.

At this point you may be thinking, “This all sounds pretty cool and innovative, though how can I be sure that my company is ready for such an approach in developing the employee experience?” Well for starters, is there any data or feedback that would suggest that some employees love the experience they have at work, and others not so much? Does one segment or group within your workforce seem more motivated than others? Is there a group of creative employees who enjoy collaborating with one another in your workforce? If you answered yes to these questions, then this practice may be of interest to you and your company.

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So, you’re onboard, though you aren’t too sure of where to start. Find a group of employees who are both interested in this initiative and work well in a cross-functional team. This group of employees need to be empathetic if they are going to design the interactions and experiences of others. Next, start by creating the Employee Journey Map. A great place to start is by referring to the phases within the employee lifecycle.

Each phase is its own juncture in time where demanding factors pull your employees in one way or another. For example, new-hires may be a bit more nervous during the recruiting stage since they are hoping to impress a company well enough to be considered for hire. During development, employees will most likely have a sharp eye out for observable behaviors that they can lean on when gauging whether an upcoming promotion is likely. The point being is that this team needs to step back and identify the relevant conditions and factors that set the stage for that particular phase in the employee lifecycle.

Great, so what’s next?! The team will now have to identify the various clusters or groups that exist within their workforce. The reason for doing so is that the team can create Employee Personas, which is an archetypal representation of the needs, expectations, motivations, and interests of each segment within the workforce population. Worth noting is that to ensure compliance with the EEOC, these personas should be crafted without specifying gender, race, age, or other such factors.

Now that you know what the different segments in your workforce are and what their needs are built on, you can begin Design Thinking! One common group you will find in any company are employees who have recently graduated from school and are just entering the workforce. Their expectations will naturally be different when compared to more experienced employees. These junior employees will undoubtedly look for opportunities to collaborate with others so that they can learn from those who have experience in applying what they learned from school into the real world. They will also seek out mentors who can support them to better acclimate to this new environment that they find themselves in. The purpose then is to tailor the experiences that this group will have as they cross through one of the major touchpoints illustrated in the employee lifecycle based on their unique needs, interests, and expectations.

Design Thinking is an iterative process which requires multiple attempts to design the ideal experience for your employees. It requires a feedback loop so that those who are designing the experiences can gauge how close they are to hitting the mark. Not only does this practice ensure that each redesign attempt will yield greater results, it also allows your employees to have a say in what they experience at your company. This perception of ownership has been proven to lead to greater levels of engagement for employees.

As you may have noticed at this point, Design Thinking is very much an abstract concept. So how does a company monitor the impact that this practice has with objective metrics that would indicate that it is being implemented successfully? There are 5 key metrics used to measure employee experience and they are as follows: employee productivity, employee wellness, employee engagement, employee retention, and employee recruitment. Your company may already be tracking similar metrics, so comparing these metrics before and after the Design Thinking initiative has been implemented is a great way to justify the impact this practice has.

Well, now that you’re an advocate for the Employee Experience and you’re also an expert on Design Thinking, what are you waiting for?! Your employees will cherish where they work, and you will also find that there are many benefits for taking the desires of your workforce and making them a reality.

How do you create unique experiences for employees? Share your thoughts on Design Thinking with us on LinkedIn!

Joseph Sahili joined FMP in March 2019 as a Human Capital Consultant working on a variety of technical areas within Human Capital Management. Joseph is from Santa Monica, California and loves to play basketball, hang out at the beach, and check out all of the museums in D.C. Learn more about Joseph in our recent Employee Spotlight about him!