Understand, Design, and Build your Ideal Employee Experience: A Practical Guide

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Employers attract the employees they deserve and vice versa.  Taking this a step further, organizations comprised of certain employees, in turn, attract and retain the customers they deserve. Companies are discovering that aligning these two focuses, customer-facing approaches with talent acquisition and development strategies, can result in lucrative gains for the entire organization.

This process – called the Employee Experience – has become mainstream over the past couple of decades due to three major themes.

  1. Technology is radically disrupting the markets we work in and straining traditional consumer models.
  2. Employees are demanding innovative work environments that cater to their personal goals.
  3. Employee bases are shifting (we’ll only use the word millennials once...).

To adjust to these external pressures, organizations are having to reevaluate, redesign, and realign their employee experience with new company objectives to drive growth and keep up with shifting landscapes. Every day there is a new job title of the person or division that is responsible for managing this transition process: Chief Employee Experience Officer, Chief Culture Officer, Engagement & Talent Analytics, it goes on and on. The moral of the story is that companies are transitioning from a see and react mentality to a measure and predict philosophy to build more agile and proactive employee- and customer-centered businesses.     

The Psocratic index, alongside Deloitte, Gallup, and countless other reports over the past two years, indicates why companies are focusing on the employee experience – essentially, companies with higher employee satisfaction and engagement rates dramatically outperform their peers. Gallup recently discovered that 70% of employees at the world’s top performing and most profitable organizations are engaged compared to only 33% of employees in the U.S., resulting in $350 billion in lost revenue annually! To reduce this gap, and unleash the potential of our workforces, we need to do a better job of taking our customer-centric model and applying it internally to better understand and cater to the desires and drivers of the employees we want to attract and keep around.

The benefits are clear, but what exactly is the Employee Experience?  

Jacob Morgan, a regular Forbes contributor and author on workplace innovation, defines the employee experience as "the intersection of employee expectations, needs, and wants and the organizational design of those expectations, needs, and wants."

Similar to customer and user experience, the employee experience is the process of understanding the behavior and responses employees have from the moment they learn about an organization to after they leave it, then taking this understanding and aligning it with company objectives to redesign how employees interact with an organization at key moments to drive desired outcomes. In short, it’s all about building sustained relationships with the right people and growing together in a mutually beneficial way.

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To cultivate this symbiotic relationship between an organization and its workforce, employers must understand, design, and build an Employee Experience that does the following:

  1. Maps out the employee experience to address key touchpoints.
  2. Makes sense of employee behaviors, desires, and drivers.
  3. Makes the experience social to build a culture that fosters collaboration, connection, and communication.

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1st: Mapping out the Employee Experience from Beginning to End to Identify Key Touchpoints.

To design a better employee experience, organizations must understand how employees engage with an organization: i.e. the work they are doing, the workplace they are in, and the workforce they are apart of. How are employees responding positively or negatively to the recruitment cycle, on-boarding process, promotional periods & transitions, compensation & benefits, physical and social environment, recognition, and exit?

This is clearly a simplified version so here is a useful link to apply it more broadly.

Once a comprehensive map is started, organizations can begin to identify key touchpoints along the employee experience for specific demographics and cohorts. Measuring information during these touchpoints allows companies to make informed changes to their recruitment cycle, people operations, and workplace culture to provide employees with catered experiences to address their desires and drivers (as if they were a target customer). IBM is one such company that used this approach to their advantage. After mapping out the employee experience for a few geographies they were able to save more than $130 million by identifying when employees were at risk of leaving and taking the right steps to prevent it from happening. Furthermore, by taking action at these key touchpoints they were able to strategically align IBM's goals and mission with those of their workforce to ensure that both were growing in tandem. 

Similarly to customer experience, mapping out the touchpoints for the employee experience doesn’t provide any value unless the behaviors and desires of the target audience are well understood, in this case, an organization's preferred talent.

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2nd: Personalize the Employee Experience.

Companies that have a superior understanding of their target customer outperform their peers. Companies that have a superior understanding of their workforce and a customer- and employee-centric model define our top organizations.  

The first step to making the experience personal is to get to know your employees at a deeper level and uncover what motivates them to stay engaged and productive. Gaining insights into employee's personality and behaviors, and grouping key employee segments (like customer personas), provides HR managers with the information needed to start designing better experiences across key touchpoints for target audiences. Who are your best performers, and how do you identify and encourage them to stay engaged?

Just like organizations need to know the particularities of their customers and their desires and drivers, they must also have an intimate understanding of their own workforce and what drives them.

Companies are creating more robust talent and engagement analytics capabilities to keep an updated pulse to gain these insights. To do this, employees are asked frequent questions regarding personal and professional expectations, health motivators, social and team preferences, vision for the future, how they wish to contribute and grow with an organization, and what environment they tend to thrive in. While this information is a useful first step, it takes more than incoming data to create positive employee experiences.

Similar to customer-facing divisions, the employee experience has to be constantly updated to drive positive outcomes over time. Keeping this pulse necessitates new ways of communicating with employees, understanding behavior, and using data proactively to adjust and align the company mission with employee offerings.

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As employers improve their understanding of what motivates employees to stay engaged and productive in their workplace, they can apply this knowledge to the various touchpoints that have been identified, ideally in real time.

Companies that use this approach, such as Airbnb, IBM, Cisco, and countless others, have taken it beyond engagement surveys and short-term solutions – like wellness campaigns – and instead use a holistic and proactive toolkit that ties in the overall culture and vision of the company to make continuous improvements.    

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3rd: Use Employee Experience Design to Improve Team Connection and Workplace Culture by Placing the Emphasis on Collaboration, Not Individual Output.

Measuring the employee experience is not just about the individual, it also covers how people expect to interact with their peers and overall workplace environment. To understand this relationship, companies must be able to answer how employees prefer to collaborate with their team, how they want to communicate both horizontally and vertically within an organization, and what support systems and connections do they rely on to accomplish goals. With this information, organizations can design jobs, teams, and entire environments that attract and retain the best talent, and subsequently, the best clientele.

Designing the employee experience with a social connection in mind is key to improve communication, collaboration, and connection to drive a company’s growth and to build a culture that works. To use a worn out yet relevant analogy, employees at Facebook, Google, and Apple expect the whole employee experience to meet their expectations. To accomplish this, these tech leaders work tirelessly to create holistic workplace cultures and brand perceptions (that may be borderline cultish, we agree) that promote social innovation and collaboration, unequivocal reasons they report the highest satisfaction and profitability per employee.    

Designing a business that is customer-centered and mission-driven is the goal. The best way to do this is to align business objectives with a well-designed employee experience that is always being updated, personalized, and social. Once employees start to think and feel like target customers they can begin to build stronger and more empathetic relationships and products that translate to higher satisfaction, engagement, profitability, and connection for everyone involved. Plus, companies with this mentality are the most enjoyable places to work!

If this method is something that interests you we would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or reach out directly. 


Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellbeing. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

10 Ways to Maximize Workplace Wellbeing Programs

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Top human capital teams are continually improving the emotional wellbeing of their employees, subsequently accelerating the engagement of their entire organization.

In the 21st century workplace, building a nurturing and positive culture requires constant attention, refinement, and innovation. Salary, health benefits, and perks no longer attract top talent. Employees today expect the entire job experience to cater to their personal growth and lifestyle - in and out of work.  

How does a company maximize their employee wellness programs to stay ahead of the curve and forge a holistic experience that attracts and retains top talent?

10 Best Practices to Boost Wellbeing Programs:  

Lead by Example. While many employers understand the value of supporting employee wellbeing, they often make the mistake of implementing a workplace wellness program with the expectation that it will be successful without giving it further attention. Instead, employers must look for more ways they can demonstrate a commitment to enhancing their employees’ emotional wellbeing. A key first step is to not hold Human Capital leaders solely responsible for the rollout and success of a wellbeing program. In addition to HR, team leaders and senior management throughout the organization have to lead by example to ensure that wellness offerings are successful and highly utilized across the organization.

As an added benefit, managers that prioritize their health and personal development will stand out as more creative, focused, and engaged leaders. Studies prove that they will more consistently hit deadlines and establish stronger lines of communication with employees. They will also set a contagious example for the rest of the company and the industry at large.

Give Employees a Say. Organizations should give employees a contributing voice and stake in their wellbeing programs to increase commitment and to design more effective initiatives. Involving employees is facilitated by designating program ambassadors, scheduling group strategy meetings, or through digital channels and feedback forums. This dialogue should include opinions from across the organization to make the program all-encompassing and inviting. When everyone from top executives to interns gets involved, it can galvanize the entire organization!

Appreciate that Everything is Connected. All work-related issues human capital leaders face regarding engagement, wellbeing, attraction & retention, etc. are derived from the same root problem. HR’s reactionary responses to address these seemingly different wellbeing challenges over complicate the situation, leading to added stress and anxiety for everyone. Taking a step back to appreciate the bigger picture will further illustrate that these themes are all connected. Once understood, HR can assess why certain problems arise and how best to approach them from a holistic and sustainable perspective. It seems obvious, but remember that most problems can be alleviated by making the workplace intrinsically healthy!

EMPLOYERS ATTRACT THE EMPLOYEES THEY DESERVE, AND VICE VERSA

Design the Program to Fit Your Unique Needs. Wellness programs are not “one size fits all”. Utilizing custom marketing, branding, and personalized messages will demonstrate that you care about your employee’s wellbeing and have invested the time to cater to their needs and environment. Maximize impact by changing the messaging of the program to fit seasonal or quarterly company initiatives, team or divisional goals, and even individual aspirations. Start strong by measuring baseline health motivation, personality, and engagement rates and then build-up from there.

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Make it Social. Organizations often attempt to increase engagement of wellness programs with incentives. Although helpful in certain scenarios, this generally results in short-term bursts of interest that fizzle out. A more sustainable approach is to incorporate wellbeing into the social fabric of the organization. Frequently used tools include social media, internal company platforms, team challenges, company sponsored initiatives, and social good & volunteer efforts.

Intelligently Market and Promote. Many organizations do not sufficiently publicize their workplace wellbeing program internally to their employees, leading to low utilization rates and diminished returns. Human capital teams must actively promote wellbeing services to prospective and current employees across multiple channels. Utilizing company intranet and web portals is effective but broadening the reach to include email, social media, physical posters and flyers, and other modern communication channels will help to increase engagement and employee satisfaction while also promoting your brand as employee-focused and human-centric.

Constantly Review the Program. Workplace wellbeing programs must be accessible and operational 24/7. To ensure this, organizations have to constantly measure employee engagement, program efficacy, and messaging. This requires a large amount of data reporting and analysis; a growing skill and attribute of top human capital teams. Frequently reviewing the program will provide key insights and strategy on how to best adjust the messaging, content, and intervention.

Don’t Give Up! Plan to be nimble and change your approach every once in a while to re-engage employees and improve the wellbeing program. If you expect your wellbeing program to be a plug and play resource then it will fail. Participation will wax and wane. Remember to take a step back and keep the bigger picture in mind and be persistent. If employees believe that the program is a long-term addition to the workplace, they will be more open to adoption.

If you expect your wellbeing program to be a plug and play resource then it will fail

 

Start Early. Effective wellbeing programs will provide key insights into the personality traits of your employees and overall workplace culture. This information can be used to guide recruitment strategy by highlighting what traits to look for in prospective candidates, as well as filling gaps within your culture. Advertising your wellbeing program during the recruitment process will also attract better talent and distinguish your offering from that of competitors. On-boarding assessments are a crucial tool for identifying the personality and motivation factors of employees and designing development plans that fit their specific needs. This gives employers an invaluable window into their workforce.

Take Action Now to Show That You Care. Wellbeing platforms not only allow individuals to improve their own personal health, but they also demonstrate that employers are equally invested in their future development. Perception is integral and contributes to the positive employee experience.

The benefits of an effective workplace wellbeing program far outweigh the cost of implementation and upkeep.

An organization can be at the forefront of its industry by placing a much-needed emphasis on the emotional wellbeing of their employees. A positive purpose-driven workforce is the backbone of any successful company.

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About Psocratic 

Psocratic empowers employees to be better versions of themselves and creates holistic workplace cultures from the ground up to boost your number one asset, your talent. Our integrated development programs leverage leading-edge behavioral & managerial psychology, big data technology, and proactive intervention plans to transform HR departments into the revenue, savings, and business strategy generators of the future.

By delivering customized engagement and wellbeing services for employees, predictive analytics & reporting for managers, and more transparent communication lines across organizations, our holistic approach propels organizations to be ahead of the curve.

Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellness. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

7 Ways Companies Fall Short on Stress Management

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Being human is awesome. We’re technologically advanced (invented Netflix), at the top of the food chain (hello, ice cream), and have built dynamic societies (mega malls). But it also means we deal with a few inherent downsides. Notably, stress.

Whether you’re a parent, plumber, or astronaut, stress is an unavoidable part of life. Although we don’t typically use our animal instincts for physical survival anymore, the fight or flight response is ever present. Modern stressors have taken on a new and widespread fangless form. Everyday “dangers” now include navigating complex social dynamics and inequalities, maintaining physical and mental well-being, career progression, relationships, political uncertainty & presidential tweets, financial instability, 24/7 connectivity, and work-life balance, just to name a few. Stress has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that the World Health Organization calls it the great “health epidemic of the 21st century”.

But one culprit exceeds the rest. If you’re like most American adults, work is far and away the leading cause of stress in your life. Unlike the traditional 9–5 desk job of generations past, we are now expected to be connected 24/7, work longer hours without extra compensation, make tight deadlines with fewer resources, compete for promotions, and fear layoffs and reorganization — all while finding passion and meaning in what we do. Sound familiar?

Stress derived from work is obviously not a new phenomenon, but over the past 20 years there has been a massive increase across the U.S. and modern workplace statistics reveal that:

  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.
  • 42% say their co-workers need help with stress management.
  • Work-related stress costs U.S. businesses $300 billion a year due to presenteeism, absenteeism, turnover, and healthcare costs.
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Since most people work, and work is our greatest stressor, the workplace environment presents a prime opportunity to learn how to effectively manage and cope with our stress. Yet only 1 out of every 6 working adults consider their organization’s stress management programs adequateAccepting stress as “just another part of the job” is clearly costing us a lot across the board. So why aren’t we doing a better job of managing stress in the workplace?

  1. Misconceptions about Stress — Stress is not something that you can simply get rid of. It’s an inherent property of human nature but it can be managed like other emotional responses. While short-term stress can be beneficial for your health, prolonged or chronic stress, in the form of multitasking, information overload, decision making, and social strife, has adverse effects — both mentally and physically. Over time, stress is scientifically shown to lower immune health, release harmful chemical reactions that weaken physiological health, and is directly linked to diabetes, obesity, and poor cognitive performance.
  2. Mental Health Stigma — It’s fair to say that most people do not fully understand the legitimate emotional, mental, and even physical impacts that stress can have. People with stress-related mental health issues face widespread discrimination in social environments, as well as ‘self-stigma’, especially in the workplace. Showing signs of anxiety, depression, and extreme stress is discouraged at work because it often leads to even more stressful situations, such as feeling disconnected from the team, performance review, and receiving negative attention; potentially hurting your career or even resulting in losing your job.
  3. Cost and Measurement — Stress reduction is relatively hard to measure, so it’s equally hard to justify spending money on it. Many organizations and individuals prefer to invest in wellness programs that quantify physical health, or financial stability, which can be clearly charted since measuring steps taken or money saved is easier than quantifying a 5% reduction in chronic stress levels.
  4. Business Sense — Many stress management solutions are viewed as counterintuitive to traditional business ideologies — suggesting that employees work less, disconnect from email and company communication channels, receive higher salaries, and take more time off can be hard for businesses to digest and reconcile without guaranteed returns.
  5. Low Priority — Oftentimes, corporate wellness programs place a large emphasis on physical health and developing social culture, while overlooking mental well-being. Organizations prefer to implement programs that look good on paper, such as a health challenge that can be easily measured with wearable devices, or a corporate event to bolster social connection that can be documented. Understanding the positive link between effectively managing stress and other health categories, such as physical health and social connection, will help to prioritize holistic stress management programs for individuals and organizations alike.
  6. Lack of Support — Practices such as mindfulness and meditation to manage stress are often viewed with skepticism and can seem daunting to start and maintain without guidance and social support. Understanding how effective and simple it is to promote and adopt stress management habits is a key challenge of both employers and employees. Recognizing a colleague’s efforts to manage their stress is a great way to validate what they are doing and learn about new techniques and resources.
  7. Data Privacy — Understanding how stress impacts individuals and organizations requires measurement and employee data. But collecting information on people’s mental states and stress levels is invasive and can be used against employees if it’s mismanaged. Making sure that personal health information (PHI) collected remains anonymous, doesn’t negatively influence employer-employee decisions, and is only being used to support stress management, are key challenges of companies that create their own stress care programs.

Understanding what causes stress and how to best manage it is a required skillset of top performers and organizationsIn order to accomplish this, we need more robust individual and company-based stress management programs and environments. As employees, we should regularly self evaluate our stress levels and understand what coping methods work best for certain scenarios. As employers, we need to open the doors for unbiased conversation about stress and mental health, provide resources and support, and encourage teams to develop skills to handle stressful situations, both professionally and personally.

A good first step is seeing how your company currently stacks up when it comes to mental wellness. Check out your company’s Psocratic Wellness Score here.


Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellness. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌