All companies want the best and brightest job candidates. But not all are able to attract and keep them. Money is only one part of the issue. While fair remuneration is no doubt important, a host of other factors, forming what is known as the employee experience (EX), play an even bigger role in determining the decisions to join a company and to stay on.
Some steps to improve the employee experience depend on where in the employee lifecycle a person is. There are five traditionally recognized lifecycle stages: recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, and exit. This article will provide ideas on how to boost EX during onboarding. We will also demonstrate how mentoring platform Mentessa can help set the course right and create positive experiences during the first days and months of an employee at a new job.
What is the employee experience and why does it matter?
There are many definitions for the employee experience. It is a measure of how connected an employee is to their work and also to the company. The employee experience encompasses everything that a person observes and feels during their tenure.
Many factors – both human and environmental – can affect the employee experience either positively or negatively. One framework through which to think about EX is the Employee Experience Index, created by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and the Globoforce WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute. It focuses on five dimensions: belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor.
In the model proposed by McKinsey&Company, there are nine elements to getting the employee experience right: people and relationships, teamwork, social climate, work organization, work control and flexibility, growth and rewards, purpose, technology, and the physical environment.
Regardless of how one chooses to define EX, one thing is certain: the overall quality of the experiences that an employee has while on the job will greatly determine how motivated they are at work and whether they are loyal to their team and the company. In fact, the relationship between productivity, retention, and profitability is well-established and quantified with robust data.
According to a McKinsey study, a positive EX means an employee is 16 times more engaged at work, compared to people with negative experiences. They are also eight times more likely to want to stay on with an employer. A recent report on the financial impact of positive EX has shown that companies who score in the top 25 percent on this metric experience double the return on sales and nearly three times the return on assets compared to companies in the bottom quartile. With such strong evidence in place, it certainly seems unwise to ignore the quality of the employee experience, right?
Enhancing the employee experience during onboarding
There are many steps and interventions to boost EX. Some factors – such as investment in comfortable, well-lit, and airy premises – continue to play a role regardless of where along the employee lifecycle a person is. There are also specific steps to take depending on particular stages of the employee lifecycle. Below are some ideas on how to optimize EX during the first days that an employee is at a new job.
Communicate expectations clearly: Joining a new company involves a certain level of stress (though the degree varies depending on each person) so telling new hires in advance exactly what is expected of them as well as what to expect during their first day and week on the job is helpful and reassuring.
Extend a warm welcome: There is a reason why first impressions are considered important. Nailing this step has tangible effects on employee engagement, morale, and loyalty later on. More details on how to do it right are available here.
Ask and listen: Companies that create positive and personalized employee experiences are attuned to their employees’ needs. The best way to achieve this is to ask and to take seriously the feedback that is provided. This should start during onboarding. Ask new hires what they need to be successful on the job and how they see their way forward. It is also very important to check regularly how they are settling in.
Buddy them up: An onboarding buddy can be a great help in welcoming and integrating a new employee. They could help provide support, answer all kinds of questions and help the new person understand the subtleties of the company’s culture. If you want to find out how to utilize peer learning successfully, then this post is for you.
Use technology: Recent advancements in computing and AI can provide tools that help create personalized career development and EX approaches easily and efficiently. The issue here is to study and compare the different technology solutions on offer and choose those that best suit your needs.
5 steps to Boosting Employee Experience
It takes two to tango. OK, maybe the actual number of persons involved is larger than two, but there are essentially two parties responsible for successful onboarding: the company and the employee itself. Here is what a new hire could do to transition into a new role easily and to help HR staff, hiring managers, and line managers provide the best possible EX:
- Ask questions: The first few days at a new job are the best time to have all your questions answered. Don’t hold back, this is expected of you and will help you settle in faster.
- Get to know your colleagues: Extroverts love this part, introverts – not as much, but establishing and maintaining respectful and open professional relationships is key to success. Use the momentum of the introductions during your first few days to get to know your coworkers.
- Share input, knowledge, ideas: Just because you are new does not mean your knowledge and experience are not relevant and valuable. In fact, there are cases when an outside point of view can be extremely beneficial. Do not hesitate to provide input when relevant.
- Be proactive: Taking ownership from day one is a great way to build a good rapport with your colleagues and managers.
- Provide feedback: If any issues arise, try to clarify them quickly before tension builds up. In many cases, a quick chat is all it takes to clarify misunderstandings and set boundaries.
Smooth onboarding with Mentessa
Mentessa is a software platform that aims to remove barriers to success for employees by encouraging skills and knowledge sharing and the building of communities within companies. Our onboarding feature helps HR managers activate new talent easily and efficiently. On their first day at the new job, new employees are welcomed with targeted introductions to other team members, as well as any buddies, mentors, and/or culture ambassadors that the company has nominated.
The frequency, type of contacts, and duration can be determined in advance and monitored in a bid to estimate how effectively a new hire is interacting with their peers and other relevant people within the company. The automated employee matching and introductions make sure no one is ignored and save valuable time and resources for HR teams, as well as line managers.
New employees have quick and easy access to the entire community in case they need help. They can also get to know other new hires, potentially bonding over similar experiences. Designed to foster openness and sharing, the Mentessa onboarding feature is particularly helpful when integrating remote workers into the core team.
To find out more about how Mentessa can help deliver great, personalized EX during onboarding: