Last week we spent a day with over 300 industry professionals to talk about a topic that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind this year: employee experience. We were all participating in an event held by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. The event was centered around the theme of “revolutionizing employee experience” and called on speakers and attendees alike to share what they have done in their respective organizations to create strong and meaningful experiences for their employees.
Throughout the day we learned about strategies to improve recruiting, employee engagement, communication, functional alignment, branding, and technology, among others. For us, the 3 key insights below frame the challenges as well as suggest strategies for improvement in the area of employee experience.
1. Engaging employees starts way before they are hired; it begins the moment they submit their resume and become prospective candidates.
Curriculum Associates showed us how a talent team of four, along with the dedication of their CEO, creates a stellar experience for all candidates who apply to their organization. Their recruiting process includes consistent and transparent communication from start to end, with communication centering around a more interactive experience. At the beginning of the process, candidates can respond to their application confirmation email, and at the end of the process, candidates who did not make it after the interview are released by a phone call. Curriculum Associates puts candidates’ flexibility first, working interviews around the candidates’ schedules, even driving into the city to interview if that is the most convenient option. And most importantly, they get feedback from all candidates after the interview in the form of surveys and share that feedback with the hiring managers to improve their process.
2. Core values are the building blocks of employee experience. Make the core values relevant and easy to understand.
Core values will undoubtedly be different from one organization to the next. Regardless of what the core values are, however, ensuring that they resonate with employees is important. Panelists discussing the topic “Creating an Incredible Employee Experience One Company Value at a Time,” moderated by our CEO, Brent Kleiman, suggested we take the following steps: identify what the values mean at each level in the organization by giving standard definitions to the values and embedding them in the day-to-day culture and activities; operationalize the values and communicate them to the organization through campaigns and town halls; and get employees involved in presenting the values, hold the employees accountable to those values, and get feedback from them on how to improve the process. The most important step of all is to make the values relevant and easy to understand before cascading them throughout the organization.
3. Employees are not an expense; they are your biggest assets. Make them feel that way.
PTC (a computer software company) transformed how their organization views people by creating an employee-centric culture that’s focused on encouraging behaviors that are relevant to the company. They identified employee advocates to champion those behaviors and have a reward system to reward/promote employees accordingly. Additionally, PTC set up learning labs to train employees and motivate them to extend their skills. The rollout of this program included a marketing campaign as well as the support of the leadership team to cascade the message of change throughout the entire organization. Within a year or two of implementing this change, PTC made Boston Globe’s 2017 Top Places to Work, becoming one of the 25 organizations with 1,000+ employees who made the list.
Companies who have had success in building a strong experience, whether it is for the candidates or the employees, all share these common traits: they make their people a priority in the organization, regardless of role or level; they are responsive and respectful of people’s time; and they have a feedback loop in place for continual improvement and development.
Many organizations claim that employee experience is a priority. If employees in those organizations were asked about their experiences, would their responses reflect that prioritization?
What has your company done to improve employee experience? Have you implemented any of the strategies mentioned above? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!