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The Employee Engagement Handbook | WorkStride

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The Employee Engagement Handbook | WorkStride

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Learn how creating a positive employee experience can help increase engagement, retention, and productivity. In this guide, we’ll go over five areas to focus on in order to create a positive employee experience: employee engagement, learning and development, company culture, workplace environment, and tools and technology.

Learn how creating a positive employee experience can help increase engagement, retention, and productivity. In this guide, we’ll go over five areas to focus on in order to create a positive employee experience: employee engagement, learning and development, company culture, workplace environment, and tools and technology.

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The Employee Engagement Handbook | WorkStride

  1. 1. The Employee Experience Handbook
  2. 2. EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE DEFINED The customer experience has been a priority for companies for several years now, with whole departments dedicated to ensuring that every interaction a consumer has with your company is a positive one, from discovery and contact to purchase to customer service and support. Recently, as organizations have realized that creating a positive customer experience starts with engaged employees, a movement towards creating a great employee experience has begun. WHAT IS EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE? The employee experience is the sum of every aspect of the employee’s interaction with your company, from the application process to the exit interview.
  3. 3. BUILDING THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE Every connection that an employee has with your organization is an opportunity to build trust, establish clear expectations, and communicate honestly. Depending on the length of tenure, there are thousands of opportunities to impact an employee’s experience with your organization, including some of these major points: Making new hires feel welcome on their first day. Prioritizing career development and growth Establishing clarity about job functions and how they impact organizational results Recognizing employees for their contributions and commitment Communicating about performance expectations Creating an organizational culture that supports your mission, values, and vision Offering professional development opportunities Establishing trust through meaningful relationships with peers, managers, and leaders
  4. 4. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT Day-to-day, the main objective of creating a positive employee experience is to ensure that your employees are happy, motivated, and productive, which leads to better customer service and business performance. To put employee experience at the heart of your strategy, you need to focus on everything that affects the work environment. This includes intangible factors such as quality of management and a well-communicated organizational vision, along with tangible factors such as workplace environment and technology tools. In this guide, we’ll go over five main areas to focus on in order to create a positive employee experience. COMPANY CULTURE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY ELEMENTS OF THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
  5. 5. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Engaged employees have a positive relationship with their company, are committed to their job, and actively care about their company’s success. Engaged employees impact key performance outcomes on a large scale. A recent Gallup meta-analysis revealed that organizations with high engagement saw 25% lower turnover. Additionally, a Gallup poll found that engaged workers outperform their disengaged counterparts by 147 percent in earnings. It is estimated that disengaged employees cost U.S. business upwards of $450 billion dollars each year. LOWER TURNOVER RATES Staying with your organization longer IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY Contributing positively to your organization’s culture and environment HIGHER PROFITABILITY Producing better quality work BETTER CUSTOMER/ PATIENT METRICS Engaging positively with customers
  6. 6. CLEAR ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY Leadership needs to know where the company is going and how employees can help it get there. The company needs to have a mission and vision that employees can rally around, as well as clear direction as to how the employees contribute to getting it there. A set of core company values is essential to guide the daily actions of employees as they work toward common goals. EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT Sixty-nine percent of employees whose managers help them set performance goals are more engaged. Managers need to check in frequently with employees and create a roadmap to align personal and company goals. Ensuring that an employee’s job objectives line up with their own career goals is a great way to increase engagement and inspire better performance. Offer training opportunities for those who wish to expand their skill sets in order to advance. EFFECTIVE LINE MANAGERS Line managers play a crucial role in employee engagement levels. Managers must give their employees clear goals, offer frequent feedback, and be available for questions and collaboration. Managers who focus on recognizing employee strengths and successes while encouraging open dialogue have happier, more engaged employees. A Gallup survey found that 67 percent of employees who agreed their managers focused on their strengths were engaged; among those who disagreed, 71% were actively disengaged. While every individual is different in what motivates and inspires them at work, here are the main factors that contribute to high levels of engagement. 67%of employees who have managers that focus on their strengths are engaged.
  7. 7. EMPLOYEE AUTONOMY Everybody hates to be micromanaged. Make sure you are hiring people you trust to do the job at hand, and allow them to do it in the way they see fit. Managers should act as coaches, giving direction and checking in on progress, without making the employee feel that they are being watched. Not only will employees feel more empowered, but they will build the skills that make for better decision- making and creativity. TRANSPARENT TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION, INCLUDING FREQUENT FEEDBACK Regular and meaningful feedback is the basis of a healthy manager-employee relationship and it is connected to higher engagement levels. Managers who hold regular meetings with their staff have employees who are 3 times more engaged than those who don’t. EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION A 2012 Bersin market brief reported that in organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14 percent better than in those where recognition does not occur. Employees should be recognized for great work on a regular basis by both managers and peers. Not only does it make people feel good, but it also highlights the core values and results that your organization wants to reinforce. 67% of employees who have managers that focus on their strengths are engaged.
  8. 8. An organization where recognition occurs performs 14% better than those without.
  9. 9. Six factors ensure that your employees are engaged and driven. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Employees that meet with their managers regularly are three times more engaged than those who don’t. TRANSPARENT COMMUNICATION EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT CLEAR ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY EMPLOYEE AUTONOMY EFFECTIVE LINE MANAGERS EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION 69% of employees with performance goals set by managers are engaged. A mission and core values provide meaning and guide the daily actions of employees. Coaching without micromanaging will empower employees to do their best work in the way they see fit. 67% of employees who have managers that focus on their strengths are engaged. Organizations that recognize employee accomplishments perform 14% better than those who do not.
  10. 10. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT Organizations that invest in training and development will have a more highly skilled workforce, more engaged employees, and higher retention rates, as employees will be able to see a future at the company rather than moving on to further their careers.
  11. 11. Use these four compelling strategies to enrich the employee experience and retain talent. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT One report suggests that 63% of millennials feel their leadership skills are underutilized. CREATE PERSONALIZED CAREER PATHS 43% of employees are likely to quit their jobs if a development opportunity arises elsewhere. SKILLS TRAINING Identify skills gaps and use technology such as on demand training to fill them. TUITION REIMBURSEMENT Only 3 percent of companies currently offer this perk. Which makes it a unique way to build a loyal and skilled workforce. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
  12. 12. 43%of employees are likely to quit their job if a development opportunity arises. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce, and they are hungry for leadership opportunities. In fact, Deloitte recently reported survey results showing that 63 percent of millennials said their leadership skills aren’t being fully developed. Among those who said they are likely to leave their jobs in the next two years, 71 percent cited lack of leadership development as the reason. Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal leadership training program, you can connect employees with mentors who have the skills and demonstrated experience in job functions or roles that are of interest to them. Give employees who are seeking leadership opportunities the assignment to lead a team for smaller projects and offer constructive feedback about their leadership performance. There are many ways that companies can provide their employees with more enriching opportunities. CREATE PERSONALIZED CAREER PATHS Employees are looking for career development options, and they leave your company if the path isn’t clear. In a 2015 survey conducted by Workplace Trends and Saba, 43 percent of respondents said they would quit their job if an opportunity to advance their career and expand their professional skills arose Twenty-eight percent said they’ve already quit a job, or several jobs, for this reason. In addition, the LinkedIn 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report found that among 3,800 talent acquisition professionals, only 12 percent said internal hiring was a priority of their recruiting strategy. By failing to look at internal talent, many companies are ushering great employees out the door, which increases costs associated with turnover. Don’t assume that a talented sales assistant wants to move up and become an account executive—perhaps she used that position as a way in to your company, but her true passion and interest is in the field of finance. It’s essential to talk to your employees, learn more about their career goals, and help find an internal career development path that works for them.
  13. 13. SKILLS TRAINING Once you understand where your employees would like to take their careers, it’s easier to identify skills gaps and offer training opportunities to close them. However, it’s no longer realistic to stick employees in classrooms with a corporate trainer and a projector. Millennials, who have grown up using technology to learn and communicate, expect to be able to access training opportunities when, how, and where they want. Online training content providers, such as Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity, allow employees to access lectures or on-demand courses that cover a wide range of business skills. Employers may even offer incentives for taking these training courses, ranging from badges to monetary rewards. One report suggests that 63%of millennials feel their leadership skills aren’t being fully developed. COLLEGE TUITION REIMBURSEMENT College tuition reimbursement is a powerful way to encourage employees to further their own education with advanced degrees. According to SHRM, only 3 percent of companies are currently offering this perk, which makes it a surefire way to improve the employee experience and set your organization apart. It’s also a great retention tool, as employees will not only stay for the perk, but will appreciate their company’s investment in their development. Loyal employees with enhanced knowledge and skills are worth the investment.
  14. 14. Company culture is a crucial part of the employee experience. It encompasses the norms (both formal and informal) that make up the way work gets done in your organization and how people interact. Yes, culture includes parties, games, and your free bagel breakfasts on Fridays, but it also informs deeper business practices such as the way management addresses mistakes or how employees treat unhappy customers. To ensure that your company has a positive culture, you must actively build and nurture it. You will have a company culture whether you try or not, but in order to build an atmosphere in which both your employees and your business thrive, you must work at it. COMPANY CULTURE
  15. 15. It’s a good idea to have a yearly cultural audit in which you take the following steps: Ask employees to define your current company culture In order to figure out where you should go, you have to know where you are. Sometimes it’s better to bring in a third party to facilitate this exercise so employees can feel comfortable being honest. You can also send out an anonymous survey if your company is too large to do in-person meetings that include the entire employee population. Identify what’s working, and what’s not working Most companies are going to have a mix of positives and negatives within their culture. Perhaps your company puts a great emphasis on customer service as a core value, but doesn’t put enough focus on internal communication among employees. Celebrate what’s working, and use what’s not working as your roadmap to improvement. List what you currently do to nurture the positive things about your culture When you identify the positives in your culture, make sure those benefits don’t go away. If you have a great work-life balance going because all of your current managers are provide employees with flexibility, make it a part of your company policy. Your current management team will likely change over time and you’ll want to ensure that you don’t lose what makes your organization stand out as a great place to work. Audit your company culture on a regular basis. Be thorough in analyzing what’s working and what isn’t. STEP No 1 STEP No 2 STEP No 3
  16. 16. Brainstorm additional ways you can build the culture you want The success of organizations depends on a group of people working to accomplish the company goals. A community environment fosters better working relationships, boosts morale, and increases output quality. Record the results and act on them Whether you went through this culture audit via online survey or in-person focus groups, be sure to track the results. Make it a priority to go through the suggestions and implement those that make sense. One of the best ways to support employee engagement is to show that you take feedback seriously. Create a culture guidebook High-profile companies such as Netflix, Zappos, and Hubspot have put out their culture decks publicly to promote what their companies value and to show prospective employees what it’s like to work there. After going through your culture-building process it’s a good idea to put together a similar document that comes from the decisions you have made as an organization. It will be something all employees can get behind, because they helped to build it. Repeat this process, at least annually Employees leave; new employees join the organization; and the business environment changes. As a result, your culture will adapt and evolve over time. Make sure that you keep up with annual culture audits to ensure that your company culture contributes positively to the employee experience. STEP No 4 STEP No 5 STEP No 6 STEP No 7
  17. 17. Employees spend a majority of their week at work. That’s why creating an inviting, comfortable, and adaptable workplace environment is such a critical part of the employee experience. Not only should the environment be inviting, it also needs to be conducive to the type of work your employees perform each day. Some employees thrive in creative circles where they can bounce ideas off co-workers. Others need peace and quiet to analyze data or draft documents. All workers, especially those who perform manual labor, should have safe, ergonomically-correct workstations. While Google popularized the open office, which maximizes space by removing walls and cubicles, there has been a lot of backlash against this trend. A 2013 study found that many employees in open offices are frustrated by distractions that negatively affect their work performance. Nearly half of those surveyed said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem, and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT
  18. 18. To solve the issues caused by the open office, some companies are moving to the hybrid office concept, which combines traditional and modern offices spaces. The key to these work environment set-ups is flexibility. Employees can conduct a conference call in a private office to avoid disturbing those around them. Managers might hold a quick team meeting in an open area to avoid the formality and logistical challenges of reserving a conference room. And individuals have the option to find an open workstation if they need to read and respond to emails between meetings. The hybrid office approach allows employees to create the work environment experience they need to be most effective. Whether it’s caring for aging parents, raising children, or volunteering in the community, today’s workers require a workplace that allows them to achieve better work-life balance. Another popular alternative to the traditional 9-to-5 work environment is the option for employees to work remotely as needed. Often when companies allow employees to work remotely on occasion, they are more satisfied and productive. Today, a pleasant work environment is a critical component of the employee experience that enables you to retain top talent who are able to generate revenue and results. OPEN LAYOUT PRIVATE OFFICES MOVEABLE WORKSTATIONS SOUNDPROOF ROOMS CUBICLES COMMUNAL AREAS
  19. 19. PROVIDE OPTIONS Combine open areas with more private ones to match the work types of employees. MAKE THE SPACE INVITING Employees spend the majority of their time at work- make it a place they enjoy being. FACILITATE FLEXIBILITY Allowing employees to work remotely when necessary can boost productivity, reduce costs, and promote work-life balance. WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT ATTRIBUTES Workplace layouts and designs continue to evolve along with the way employees accomplish their work. Make it a priority to create a work environment that helps rather than hinders productivity.
  20. 20. As the workforce becomes more globalized, we rely more and more on technology platforms to streamline processes and improve communication. There are countless tools that help with everything from project management to collaboration to employee recognition. The hard part is figuring out which ones achieve the best balance between budget and functionality. TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY
  21. 21. LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS Employees today are seeking ways to develop their skills and their careers on their own time. These centralized learning systems enable organizations to provide coaching, training, and development to enhance employees’ knowledge and skills without the confinement of a classroom. And for those required courses that might not be as desirable, you can always integrate incentive programs or gamification to encourage higher participation rates. PULSE SURVEYS As more companies are realizing that an annual employee engagement survey is not a great way to effect changes in the day-to-day employee experience, gathering and acting on employee feedback more frequently has become a focus. Online pulse surveys administered weekly can be a good way to gauge your employees’ attitudes in a more real-time fashion. You can customize the questions to line up with events that are currently going on in your company such as mergers or big product launches to see how they are affecting your workforce. COLLABORATION SOFTWARE These tools help your employees work smarter, harder and faster through real-time communication and collaboration. For teams or individuals that work remotely, collaboration software fosters a sense of community and connection that was previously achieved only by sitting in the same workspace. GAMIFICATION PLATFORMS Who said work has to be boring? Gamification is an innovative way to motivate, challenge, and engage employees through friendly competition and incentives and game techniques. You can integrate these apps with different types of software to encourage certain actions, such as filling out profiles completely or for sharing your company’s posts on social media. RECOGNITION SOFTWARE A website or app that allows for peer and manager recognition puts the ability to recognize and reward employees for outstanding efforts at everyone’s fingertips. Recognition awards should be aligned with the types of behaviors you want to see from all employees, such as putting the customer first, great teamwork, or creative problem solving. If you incorporate social elements into the program, other employees can comment on and “like” the accomplishments of their remote co-workers, turning a one-to- one communication into a wider message that can echo for days and act as an example for others. Below are just a few examples of tools that can help your employees and managers to be more productive and engaged.
  22. 22. WorkStride helps companies recognize, motivate, and develop their talent through configurable software, modern rewards experiences, and strategic program design. For a quick capabilities review, please email us at sales@workstride.com or visit www.workstride.com and request a demo.

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