Employee engagement is much more than a feeling, it’s a business objective. But happy employees also deliver the greatest benefit to your organization–higher quality results, more engaged teammates, and increased tenure. That’s why it’s critical to make employees feel valued early into their tenure and throughout their employment, even though they exist. After all, employee happiness is critical to business success.
A personalized employee experience can help drive employee happiness, but how do you create a personalized employee experience? Yes, it starts with trust, between employer and employee, as well as manager and employee. While the employer helps employees maintain health and financial wellness and provides career growth opportunities, the manager is equally important in building a relationship with that employee to help them understand the value they’re delivering to the organization. But this type of value doesn’t have a clear path, nor can it be built on the fly.
While the employee journey can encompass many stages, our team believes there are six critical stages — joining the company (onboarding), career growth, learning to lead, maintaining a healthy household, succeeding financially, and leaving the company (offboarding).
During each stage, we must ensure Evive’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) comes to life. Your organization likely has its own EVP, an internal brand experience for employees that encompasses culture, total rewards, and more. The delivery of the EVP is critical for both recruitment and retention efforts.
When designing the employee journey, the EVP must permeate throughout each stage. There are numerous opportunities for organizations to personalize the EVP to increase employee engagement and maximize those important employee moments.
And while this seemingly makes sense, our recently conducted survey reveals that not all HR departments are truly nurturing employees at each stage of their journey. And this is certainly no surprise. Since the global pandemic hit one year ago, HR departments have become the provider of all news. So how can HR teams get the support that they need to help ensure all employees are in turn, supported, as they move through the employee journey?
HR’s Role in Improving the Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is an employee’s first experience at a new company—and it starts as soon as an offer is accepted. Effectively communicating and engaging with new hires quickly gets them up to speed to start contributing. But not all HR teams are communicating effectively with new employees during orientation. For example, we learned:
50% of survey respondents said that HR never checked in on them after their orientation period to make sure things were going well.
Only 45% said their company surveyed their satisfaction with their onboarding or orientation experience.
44% felt their onboarding or orientation lacked personalization.
25% didn’t feel their company offered a structured onboarding or orientation experience.
HR departments must streamline and personalize the onboarding process to align with their EVP. By engaging new hires before their start date, you can introduce them to their new teammates, have them complete dreaded and time-consuming paperwork, provide them with an introduction to in-house software, set them up with orientation materials, etc. The possibilities are endless, but it shows the new hire that you truly care about their success even before they have that corporate email address
Once an employee is on board and engaged, it’s HR’s job to help them develop new skills, foster positive employee-manager relationships, and grow within the organization.
Providing Career Growth Opportunities
After joining the company, it’s natural for employees to think about what comes next in their careers. Your company’s EVP ensures employees feel supported in their professional development and growth. Still, our survey indicates:
55% of employees received a formal review with their manager only once a year or less often.
45% say that their manager has never reached out to relevant professional groups related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
34% say that their manager has never reached out with relevant courses or videos in their company’s Learning Management System (LMS) related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
37% are neutral on the idea or disagree that their manager is committed to their career growth.
From one colleague to another – I have to say, we could do better. We must provide novel opportunities for employees to learn and acquire key skills. Managers must take a more active role in their employee’s growth by leveraging development plans, networking opportunities, assigning mentors, etc. Management and HR should actively communicate with employees to better understand their goals and identify relevant opportunities for their growth.
Again, this goes back to the power of happiness. Engaged employees stay longer and make deeper contributions—so helping them grow from the onset only means more success for your organization.
Leading Effective Teams
Employers who provide development opportunities must include leadership training.
HR must nurture future leaders to inspire, persuade and motivate those around them using everything from personalized communications and skills training to team building and performance management.
However, 37% of survey respondents are neutral on the idea or disagree that their company provides the right amount of training to help new managers learn to supervise and develop people effectively.
Providing good leadership development and preparation programs can help support new managers to empower and influence others. Strong leadership also has a compounding effect. When managers engage and train their company’s next generation of leaders, future leaders can help develop other leaders, while also keeping their team engaged.
Professional development is only a small part of what it takes to boost employee satisfaction and support the EVP.
Take an Active Role in Employee Health and Wellness Now
Yes, benefits matter to employees, but it’s equally important to market benefits offerings in a personalized manner.
Many benefits go underutilized because the employee doesn’t understand their benefits, chooses not to deal with the complexity of how benefits work, or do not see the personal value of their options.
Employees, however, who utilize their benefits are not only healthier and perform better, but are more loyal. In fact, hundreds of studies show that benefits utilization helps employers minimize turnover and leads to a stronger bottom line.
So, do you have a personalized communications strategy around benefits that supports the health and wellness of employees and their families? Our study indicates most employees would prefer that. In fact, employees want to receive personalized reminders to help them take timely action on their health. 66% of employees would find it helpful to receive timely reminders from their company when due for health screenings. Another 56% would find health reminders helpful for their spouse or partner.
Creating personalized communications to motivate employees to engage with health benefits reduces healthcare costs for the entire company. It ensures employees have what they need to connect their families with the right health and well-being benefits while not taking a one-size-fits-all approach, keeping them engaged with your EVP.
Driving Financial Success for Your Employees
Many employees, unfortunately, lack financial management knowledge and are also unaware of all the details surrounding their financial wellness benefits.
Utilizing financial wellness benefits helps employees boost short and long-term financial security, provides peace of mind for retirement and drives participation in 401(k)s, HSAs, and FSAs – all critical components of the EVP. Still, if employees aren’t properly educated on how to not only engage with financial benefits but also plan for retirement, they might not adequately fund retirement accounts.
Experts typically recommend saving up to $1 million for retirement. However, 36% of survey respondents expected that their total individual retirement expenses would be less than $300,000. Another 26% expected that their total personal retirement expenses would be less than $100,000. Yikes! Let’s make HR the hero!
Developing a personalized communication plan that educates each employee according to their unique situation helps employees minimize financial stress and their ability to do their job but, here again, increases employee engagement.
A Smooth Offboarding Helps Generate Brand Advocates
Eventually, employees may depart the company for a new venture. But if your EVP aligns with your employee journey, there’s a good chance that the employee will remain a company advocate.
Not many organizations emphasize offboarding like they emphasize the other stages of the employee journey. However, maintaining a positive company image is an integral part of any business, and former employees play a huge role.
Still, only 48% of employees felt they would advocate for their company after leaving. Forty percent said they were unsure, while the remaining respondents said they would not advocate.
A smooth offboarding experience is critical to brand success because there are still opportunities for former employers to interact with your brand, whether it’s an alumni event, referral program, or seasonal projects. Don’t ostracize employees that leave; they may remain friends with current employees and influence their opinions of the company, or offer future referrals and professional relationships. Former employees are still critical to the EVP.
With the evolving, complex needs of today’s changing workforce, employers must deliver the EVP at each stage of the employee journey. As a result, HR departments must establish a communication strategy that takes every employee on their own, personalized employee journey to build trust and alignment, enhance current processes, and improve the employee experience.
Make sure your employee journey is in alignment with other corporate initiatives. Create that highly personalized experience regardless of when or how your employees choose to engage. If done correctly, your employees will find value in its offering immediately and you’ll find more happy, engaged employees. Best of all, there are data-driven, communication technologies to help you do it through each stage of the employee journey.