How to improve employee experience in the modern workplace
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How to improve employee experience in the modern workplace

From management to HR, everybody agrees that employee experience can make or break a company’s success. The way employees feel about working with you, which is what employee experience ultimately means, impacts employee retention. Naturally, employees that feel happy and engaged are more likely to stay with your company — and work toward reaching business goals.

A loyal workforce is key to the financial well-being and growth of a company. Apparently, employers have realized that. As a 2021 employee experience survey revealed, employers have placed “improving the employee experience” high on their priority list. The problem is, few have developed a strategy for it.

So, what is employee experience all about? Well, it’s not just about large bonuses or an ultra-fancy campus. It’s not about casual Fridays and free sodas, either. While all of these things can (and do) improve employee experience to a certain degree, there is more to the story.

As anything that depends on subjective criteria, employee experience is hard to quantify. It’s the result of small and big things: from an ergonomic workstation to an empathetic manager and career development opportunities, it can all make a difference.

Let’s unravel the concept and secrets of a positive employee experience in the modern workplace. Read on to find out why employee experience is important along with five ways to improve it.

Why employee experience matters

Simply put, because a company’s success depends on its employees’ knowledge, skills, and creativity. And it’s not just about how happy your current employees are.

Thanks to the rise of employer review sites, word gets out on the street fast, and candidates can be either motivated to or deterred from hitting the “submit resume” button.

Here’s what you will achieve by improving employee experience:

  • Increase employee engagement
  • Boost employee morale and job satisfaction
  • Improve employee retention
  • Decrease workplace friction
  • Protect employee well-being
  • Attract top talent

Over the last years, big and small companies alike have taken substantial steps towards improving employee experience — and not just for self-serving reasons.

Workplace culture has changed, with employers being more appreciative and considerate of their employees. Modern employers offer perks, like remote work and private health insurance, because they have realized that every employee is an equal member of the team. Yet, there’s still work to be done.

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5 tips to improve the employee experience in your company

Below you will find five actionable tips to improve employee experience and reap these amazing benefits for your company.

1. Appreciate good work (and don’t be afraid to show it!)

No matter the setting, it’s nice to hear “thank you” or “nice job!” from time to time. In the workplace, it’s even nicer.

Acknowledging good work raises employee morale and motivates everyone in the team to take it up a notch. Apart from verbal praise, you can also show your appreciation with a gesture, like taking the team out to lunch — or, hosting a virtual team lunch with sponsored meals if the team works remotely.

For milestone accomplishments, like hitting the yearly goal, you can go bigger and offer an unexpected bonus or organize a trip. Employees with consistently high performance should be rewarded with a raise.

That said, there are a couple of situations you should avoid.

The first is acknowledging the work of specific employees or managers to the detriment of others. Even if some employees are more creative or productive than the rest, make sure to spread your praise, and recognize every employee who manages to exceed their usual performance.

Another mistake is being too generous with your praise. If you give praise all the time for every little thing, eventually it won’t mean anything. Employees are past the participation trophy phase —they want sincere and honest feedback.

2. Foster a positive workplace culture

Workplace culture is a key component of the employee experience. Recent SHRM research indicates that positive organizational culture keeps employees engaged, so it’s worth focusing your efforts on fostering a workplace your employees will perceive positively.

Below are a few quick tips:

  • Don’t micromanage: Micromanaging starts from the top. And it kills creativity, motivation, and innovation. Trust your managers with the projects you have assigned them, and they will do the same with their teams.
  • Be inclusive: Discrimination of any kind doesn’t belong in the workplace. Offer equal opportunities for growth to everyone, and show zero tolerance to bullying and marginalization. Since such incidents often happen unintentionally due to ignorance, offer your workforce inclusion and diversity training.
  • Have an open-door policy: HR and upper management should always be approachable and willing to hear employees out. Encourage employees to come to you not only with their concerns but also with their ideas. The point of having an open-door policy is not only to prevent friction but also to make employees feel safe to come forward with their feedback and suggestions.
  • Instill your company values to your employees: You’ve built your company for a reason, and financial gain is only a part of it. Share your values and goals with your employees to get them fully on board, so that they work with you rather than for you. You’ll be surprised by how much working toward a common goal can increase employee engagement.

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3. Don’t underestimate the importance of a pleasant work environment

Culture is all nice and good, but don’t forget about the practical aspects of a workplace, too. The most enthusiastic of employees will lose their patience if they spend the better part of their day on an uncomfortable chair or in a badly lit office.

While these things sound basic, they can go a long way in keeping employees happy. You can also invest in a training series of workplace essentials to help employees be safer and more efficient in the workplace.

If your employees are working remotely, either fully or partially, make sure they have the tech they need. From intuitive project management and communication tools to remote desktop software, in this day and age employees should pivot from on-site to remote work without blinking an eye!

4. Offer employees opportunities to evolve professionally

Nobody likes a dead-end job (and if they do, perhaps they’re already disengaged from what they’re doing). Offering a clear advancement path will increase employee engagement and give your employees a goal to strive towards.

But first, you need to give them the opportunity to acquire and hone those skills. This opportunity can come in the form of continuous training and development that will reinforce your employees’ technical and soft skills. Investing in a full-featured and user-friendly corporate training platform will help you create engaging training everyone will benefit from.

Career change doesn’t have to be constrained to vertical movements (from a lower to a higher ranking role) either. Many employees will be equally satisfied if they use their newly found skills to move from their current role to another, even within the same hierarchy level and pay grade. Some employees might also prefer staying in their current position with a pay rise. Offering such possibilities is another excellent way to improve employee experience in your workplace.

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5. Prioritize mental health

Employee burnout is an unfortunate yet all too common occurrence in this culture of perfectionism and overachievement. Employee burnout has detrimental effects on workplace productivity and severe health implications. Therefore, apart from cultivating a positive workplace culture, you should take steps to ensure mental health is a priority, even when employees seem to forget about it themselves.

Start by offering flexible working arrangements that promote life balance and allow employees enough leisure time to unwind. Allow employees to work remotely if they wish to and add a few extra days of paid leave yearly. Mental health services should also be included in your benefits package.

Plus, since there is no greater benefit to mental health than exercise, make it easy for employees to engage in physical activity. For example, offer a discount at a local gym or, if you can afford it, create a small gym in your building. A more budget-friendly idea is to create a “meditation” room with comfortable seating, plants, and calm music where employees can take a break to relax.

Pave the way for a better employee experience

Employee experience is a bet you can’t afford to lose. Job satisfaction, employee retention, and business growth are all interdependent, with employee experience being the connecting link.

The five tips we’ve shared with you in this post will help you improve employee experience in your company. Very soon, you’ll be navigating the EX territory like a seasoned explorer!

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