| 31 August, 2023 | 6 Min Read

Design Employee Experiences to Promote Productivity

Positive employee experiences lead to increased productivity and retention. Strategies include personalization, transparency, simplification, authenticity, and organizational responsiveness.

Women are talking about designing a good employee experience

Employees in any company, large or small, want to have positive work experiences. Nothing drives down productivity more than an unhappy or unmotivated employee. Many employers are hesitant to put in any effort to make sure their employees are happy because they think a large investment in time or money is required to make the effort succeed. That is not always the case, however, as perks are not the only way to satisfaction.

So, how do you design employee experiences in a way that promotes productivity? An in-depth answer is required to break down what employee experience is, how positive experiences lead to the desired productivity level, and how to design employee experiences that actually work.

What is Employee Experience?

Excellent employee experience at a modern workplace.

Employee Experience is more than just setting up team-building activities. It combines the physical working environment, social connections with team members, and work responsibilities each employee is expected to accomplish. Does your office building provide a comfortable place to work? Do you have a meeting space, such as a break room, that would provide a space to speak with other employees? Are the work responsibilities too much for one person to handle reasonably? All of these questions must be considered to ensure the employee feels excited to come to work.

IBM discusses the components of excellent employee experiences:

Companies use five strategies to improve their overall employee experience: personalization, transparency, simplification, authenticity and organizational responsiveness.

Let’s dive further into these components. Personalize each employee's experience, as not all employees are motivated the same way. Be transparent in your company’s goals, vision, and expectations, but also let employees know how the company is doing and how their position helps the company grow. Simplify expectations to reduce confusion or misunderstandings. Employees want to know how well (or otherwise) they are performing. Always let them know ways they can improve. Authenticity is the key to loyalty and gratitude. Then there is organizational responsiveness, which builds off the work the employee has done in an effort to drive growth. After all, employees work harder if they know their efforts are contributing to the company’s success.

Employee experience is taking all these components and letting employees know how valuable their work is to the company. That falls into the transparency component by ensuring the employee is recognized and acknowledged. Furthermore, research conducted by IBM and Globoforce shows that:

Employees who experience a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor are more likely to perform at higher levels and contribute “above and beyond” expectations. They are also less likely to quit.

Employee retention falls largely on the level of satisfaction gained from workplace experiences. Positive experiences not only increase productivity but also give the employee an incentive to stay with the company. It is expensive and time-consuming to train new employees, so retaining employees while at the same time increasing their productivity goes a long way toward growing the company’s revenue.

Key takeaways:

• IBM outlines five strategies to improve employee experience: personalization, transparency, simplification, authenticity, and organizational responsiveness.
• Personalizing each employee's experience is key, as different employees are motivated in different ways.
• Transparency in goals, vision, and expectations is also important, as well as regularly communicating performance.
• Authenticity helps with loyalty and gratitude from employees.
• Employees need to feel their work is valued by the organization; recognition and acknowledgment help with this.
• Positive experiences increase productivity and incentivize employees to stay with the company.

Positive Experiences Increase Productivity

Three laughing people sitting at a table with laptops at the workplace.

Who wouldn’t want positive experiences? As the building block for happiness, positivity in the workplace shouldn’t be difficult to achieve. Greeting someone in the hallway with a smile, acknowledging and answering questions promptly, and rewarding excellent work. There are many ways to create positive experiences, but leaders need to set an example so others will follow.

IBM research promotes the concept that positive experiences in the workplace increase employee productivity.

Research continues to show linkages between employee engagement and productivity. Numerous studies demonstrate that employees who are positively engaged in their work environments are likely to be more productive, achieve higher customer satisfaction scores, produce higher levels of quality, and have lower absenteeism and attrition rates.

Happy employees are much more likely to work as hard as they can for a company that treats them well than employees at a company that doesn’t care about their feelings. That’s not to say unhappy employees won’t complete their responsibilities. A paycheck is a paycheck at the end of the day. What we’re discussing are those employees who go beyond expectations and who strive to achieve more. Acknowledging those employees who work harder than required is one of the easiest things a manager can do, and the results are worth the effort.

Positive employee experiences lead to a better work culture and impact business performance. In fact, research indicates treating your employees well can lead to a 20% increase in productivity for a short time. Keep in mind the short time part of that research. Positive experiences are not a one-and-done deal. Just because you treated your employees to lunch one day does not mean that the positivity will last if those positive experiences don’t continue.

In summary:

• Leaders need to set an example for creating positive workplace experiences, such as greeting people with smiles and rewarding excellent work.
• IBM research shows that positive experiences lead to increased employee productivity.
• Numerous studies suggest a correlation between employee engagement and productivity, customer satisfaction, quality production, and low attrition/absenteeism.
• Treating employees well can lead to a 20% increase in productivity - however, positive experiences must be maintained for the effect to last.

Designing Employee Experiences

The girl is designing an employee experience action plan.

Now that you understand how positive employee experiences lead to increased productivity, let’s discuss how to design those experiences. Make sure your strategy includes a variety of ways to ensure positivity in the workplace, as each employee is motivated differently.

The first thing to consider is how you will implement the employee experiences and keep them operating smoothly. Kennedy Finch surveyed companies and found that “in some cases, like Airbnb and Adobe, the CHRO role is being replaced by the Head of Employee Experience. We believe that this is the way of the future.” If your company is large enough to support both a CHRO and a Head of Employee Experience, all the better; however, if you can only support one position, analyze the benefits for each and decide which will work better for your company.

At Airbnb, for example, the Head of Employee Experience “blurs the lines between the functions of Marketing, Communications, Real Estate, Social Responsibility, and Human Resources.” This position is, therefore, a role that coordinates with many different departments within the company. By working closely with each department, the Head of Employee Experience is given a level of insight that may not have otherwise been given to a CHRO.

Designing employee experiences starts by analyzing what is missing from the company’s current procedures. From there, a strategy can be formed to work on all aspects of an employee’s experience. From the recruitment process to their last day of work, everything in between must be considered.

Gallup concludes the best way to design employee experiences that lead to improved business performance is to consider the employee lifecycle.

The employee lifecycle includes seven stages that employers must get right for a consistent employee experience: attract, hire, onboard, engage, perform, develop and depart.

Attracting the right candidates, encouraging them to sign on, training properly during onboarding, providing engaging activities and work duties, giving feedback on workplace performance, developing talents through training and classes, and finding out why they leave the job. These are all elements that must be considered throughout the employee lifecycle if you are to have a strong workforce. Properly handling these elements all lead to positive workplace experiences as the employee is not left to figure things out on their own. Always lend a helping hand to employees. We promise doing so will give you a loyal and dedicated employee.

Proposed initiatives:

• Creating an effective employee experience requires establishing two roles: Head of Employee Experience and Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO).
• The Head of Employee Experience must have insight into all departments, including Marketing, Communications, Engineering, Finance, Social Responsibility, and Human Resources.
• Designing a successful employee experience starts by understanding what is missing from current procedures and strategizing to improve the overall experience at all stages of the employee lifecycle.
• The employee lifecycle consists of seven stages that employers must get right for a consistent experience; these attract, hire, onboard, engage, perform, develop, and depart.
• Encouraging feedback and providing guidance at each stage will lead to a positive work environment and dedicated employees.

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