5 Practical Ways to Enhance the Employee Experience

Summary:

Which factors affect Employee Experience?

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Employee Experience?

Why Employee Experience is more important than ever

Enhancing the Employee Experience: 5 steps to take

How Sodexo Engage can help enhance your Employee Experience programme


5 Practical Ways to Enhance the Employee Experience

Against the backdrop of the Great Resignation, holding onto your top talent has never been more important. Employee experience is essential to this, but it’s also key for organisations who want to drive the best business outcomes.

But how can you enhance employee experience, and what factors impact it?

Which factors affect Employee Experience?

There are a wide number of factors that affect employee experience, but Deloitte’s ‘Is your organisation simply irresistible?’ report identified the following five factors as the most important when it comes to developing a great employee experience.

Meaningful work

There are four elements that make up ‘meaningful work’ according to Deloitte: 

  • Autonomy —allowing people to develop their own unique work style, sparking new ways of working and more innovation
  • Select to fit—finding job roles that feel right for employees and make the most of their strengths, rather than basing it entirely on grades or past employment
  • Small and empowered teams—enabling employees to interact directly and build closer relationships with team mates. This breeds greater trust, inclusivity and mutual respect.
  • Time for ‘slack’—this ‘slack’, or unstructured time, gives employees the chance to reflect on what’s working and what’s not, fix what needs to be fixed and be more creative.

Supportive management

Supportive managers provide their teams with:

  • Clear goals—objectives should be clear and understood, but also realistic and achievable.
  • Regular coaching—this isn’t just formal training, but also positive coaching. That is, positive feedback and recognition.
  • They invest in the development of managers—organisations that spend two to three times as much on developing managers see 37% more revenue per employee, five times more innovation and change ability.
  • They implement agile performance management—stop relying on annual reviews, and instead implement continual coaching, frequent check-ins and data-driven assessments. This ensures employees and teams are staying on track and more likely to hit their goals.

Positive work environment

A positive work environment is defined as one that offers:

  • Flexible working—this is something 37% of employees are willing to leave a job to find elsewhere 
  • A ‘humanistic’ atmosphere—this is defined as seeing employees as whole people, with lives and interests outside of work, not just workers for your organisation.
  • Recognition—rewarding employees is a powerful driver of high performance and loyalty. Organisations with recognition programmes see a 31% lower voluntary staff churn, and are 12x more likely to enjoy strong business outcomes.
  • Fair, inclusive and diverse—diverse workforces are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians, while they are also 45% more likely to report a growth in market share.

Growth opportunities

Organisations can enable greater growth opportunities by:

  • Offering training and support on the job—this should take the form of both formal and informal training.
  • Facilitating talent mobility—this doesn’t just mean promotions, but also lateral moves that give people the chance to try something new. Having a clear direction and path for progression is essential for job satisfaction.
  • Self-directed and dynamic learning—this approach can offer 30-50% better retention rates, and boost productivity by 52%.
  • High-impact learning culture—is your training linked to actually getting things done? Developing a high-impact learning culture delivers higher engagement and higher revenues.

Trust in leadership

Deloitte’s report suggests trust in leadership might be the most important element in this model. This requires:

  • A mission and purpose—organisation with a clear mission and purpose drive 30% greater innovation and 40% higher rates of retention.
  • Continuous investment in people—this leads to outperforming competitors in retention, innovation, customer service and profitability.
  • Transparency—being open and honest with your employees is essential for building trust.
  • Inspiration—leaders of the most successful organisations continuously inspire their employees, through talking about the future, telling their personal stories and sharing the company vision.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted Employee Experience?

The most clear and obvious way Covid-19 has affected the employee experience is the way in which remote working has become far more prevalent, but it also significantly impacted every pillar of employee wellbeing.

The rate of workplace mental health issues had been rising throughout the 2010s, but it saw a significant spike during Covid. This resulted in almost 1.5 million people being referred to NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in 2020/21.

Financial wellbeing played a big part in this. Job losses and the threat of redundancy during the pandemic was a reality for many UK workers. Meanwhile the furlough scheme, while protecting the jobs of many, didn’t cover 100% of lost salary.

However, the impacts of Covid-19 on people’s careers wasn’t entirely negative. The pandemic gave workers the chance to reflect on their careers, with 74% of employees polled by Hays saying they’d had the time to consider their job choices.


Why Employee Experience is more important than ever

Covid-19 led to a pause in career progression for many UK workers, but since the end of lockdown and the opening up of the economy, the ‘Great Resignation’ has seen high levels of resignations. Indeed, they are still well above pre-pandemic levels.

Combine the high number of people willing to move, and the large number of job vacancies currently on the market, if you’re going to have a chance of retaining your best talent, it’s essential that you get to work improving employee experience in your organisation.

Enhancing the Employee Experience: 5 steps to take

The vast majority of employers (84%) recognise the importance of a positive employee experience, but only 9% claim to be in a position to improve it.

Here are five steps organisations can take for enhancing the employee experience.

1. Put employee wellbeing first

Supporting employee wellbeing has never been more important, especially since the pandemic. Indeed, employees and employers alike recognise the importance of prioritising wellbeing in the workplace.

We define wellbeing as being made up of three pillars, mental, physical and financial, and they all need to be supported in order to protect overall wellbeing.

2. Stop being afraid of remote working

Despite a multitude of studies showing that remote working drives higher productivity, some business leaders are still reluctant to implement it full time following the pandemic.

If you’re one of them, you won’t only be denying your company the productivity gains on offer from remote and hybrid working, but you’ll also be behind in the race to retain and acquire top talent. One study found that over 80% of employees would stay in a job longer and demonstrate loyalty if their employer offered them more flexible working arrangements.

3. Prioritise diversity and inclusion

Working towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce isn’t just the right thing to do—it also drives improved business performance. Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that employees working within diverse workplaces were 45% more likely to report a growth in market share, and 70% more likely to report capturing a new market.

4. Implement an employee benefits programme

Think beyond the standard employee benefits, such as workplace pension, 28 days of paid leave and yearly Christmas parties. An effective employee benefits programme, designed to support every pillar of wellbeing. For example:

  • An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) will provide expert and confidential mental health support when your employees need it most.
  • An employee recognition and rewards platform will make it easy to encourage high performance, as well as recognise long service and achieving company goals.
  • Additional financial benefits, such as employee discount programmes and salary sacrifice schemes, help your workers’ money go further and still enjoy the things they love.

5. Don’t ignore your employees

Lots of organisations ask employees for feedback, but some don’t go on to act on it. Don’t make this mistake. Employees are twice as likely to be actively disengaged if they feel as though they’re being ignored by management.

Be willing to implement new strategies and policies following employee feedback, and make sure you communicate the changes you make to show you’ve been actively listening.

How Sodexo Engage can help enhance your Employee Experience programme

Here at Sodexo we’ve been helping organisations with enhancing employee experience for over 60 years. Our tried and tested engagement solutions, including employee benefits, recognition and rewards programmes offer award-winning services, including:

  • An EAP that connects your employees with fully accredited counsellors for 24/7 support.
  • A wide range of employee benefits, including money off at over 150 retailers and over 400 cashback offers.
  • Salary sacrifice schemes, including travel season tickets, tech deduct and energy efficient car schemes, helping to make their salaries go further—while offering significant National Insurance Contributions savings.
  • An unbeatable range of rewards, from eVouchers and voucher cheques, through to film vouchers, celebration packages and more.

 

Ready to find out more about how Sodexo Engage will improve your organisation’s employee experience. Get in touch with our experts today.