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Build your Employee Experience Strategy for Remote Work

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The Great Resignation is still a hot topic on everyone’s lips. There is plenty of competition for good talent. 

Just as customers are key to every business, employee experience matters. A strong employee experience is more likely to result in better business outcomes like strong sales and high retention rates. This leads to an increased competitive advantage in your market. 

Why Employee Experience Matters

Because motivated employees are more likely to be loyal and more productive to work for a business that supports them. In turn, companies with motivated staff are more likely to reach their goals. 

The truth is in the numbers. Over two-thirds of business owners say a positive employee experience brings increased productivity and employee retention. This leads to positive business performance. 

Remuneration and benefits are only one part of the equation when it comes to creating an employee experience. So how can you motivate your people to, in turn, achieve better sales results and increased retention? Is this possible with a remote workforce? 

Here are three milestones and five pillars where you can influence employee experience.

3 Key Milestones in an Employee Experience Journey

Employee experience is an end to end relationship, playing a role in the entire employee journey. It begins when an employee looks to join your business and ends after they have departed. There are 3 key milestones where you can shape an employee’s experience:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Retention
  3. Exit

These milestones provide the opportunity for feedback and continuous growth. The people involved at these three milestones can all advocate for your business.

Recruitment

Get your candidate experience, (the first stage of employee experience), right from the beginning. This will support their progress through your organisation. 

A candidate will form an impression of your business from their first interaction with you. Consider, what you want your hiring process to say about your business.  

Ask yourself:

  • Are you flexible? 
  • Is there too much paperwork? 
  • Can your recruitment processes be improved? 

There is currently a significant amount of competition for good candidates. It is an employees market. How you present your company early on will be a key factor in your success to secure the best candidates.

To influence a positive experience at the recruitment stage, consider seeking feedback on the application process. Candidate experience helps you understand your recruitment process from an outsider's perspective. 

Ask how your candidate felt about:

  • the information they needed to provide before an interview, 
  • the interview process itself, and 
  • how quickly a decision was made.

40% of talent professionals recognise that simple administrative processes can improve a candidate’s experience.  

Once a new employee joins, the onboarding process is another key component in the employee experience. A solid onboarding plan assists in employee retention and can help to identify gaps in knowledge. Training is a valuable element in the employee experience that your business can achieve effectively in the retention milestone. 

Retention

Retention is the second milestone that, when done well, contributes positively to a strong employee experience. 

To retain talent, consider the 4P’s of employee experience - people, place, product and process.

The 4P’s of Employee Experience

Ask yourself these questions:

  • People: Who do my employees engage with? Managers, leaders, customers, suppliers
  • Place: Where do they engage? A physical office, home, in an offsite location
  • Product: What engages my people? Daily tasks, stimulating projects, development opportunities
  • Process: How do they engage? Rules to complete work, rewards, tools provided 

The Great Resignation is a reality for many businesses and many employees around the globe. Retaining your good talent leaves you less open to the challenges of competing for new talent. It pays to keep your best staff happy. 

Employee experience isn’t the responsibility of just one person or one team within your business. Everyone present in your business is a contributor. 

Today, many forward-thinking organisations are employing dedicated employee experience managers. Their tasks include typical Human Resources functions like performance management, training and compensation. Yet, they also include areas like real estate and technology choices. This is because they understand the needs and preferences of current employees.

Exit

People leave businesses for a wide variety of reasons, so don’t take it personally. The final milestone where you can influence an employee’s experience is as they depart. An exit survey allows you to understand the reasons an employee is leaving. 

Conducting an exit survey gives you the opportunity to uncover any feedback and implement it. If the exiting employee is highly valued, making changes may open up the possibility of them returning in the future. An employee who returns can be very valuable to your company. 

Employee Experience and Remote Work

A recent global survey found that 68% of people prefer a hybrid working model. 95% of those surveyed were looking for flexibility in the hours they worked. 

The challenge now is finding ways to keep your employees engaged as they work from any location. The shift away from the office has meant less face to face time and reduced opportunities to engage employees. Many businesses are opening themselves to hiring staff away from headquarters, (for example in smaller cities or internationally). This will go a long way to creating truly diverse workplaces

Some elements you may wish to consider to positively impact your employee experience include:

  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Open and effective management
  • Training opportunities
  • Career progression opportunities
  • Work/life balance 
  • An inspiring company culture

In the 2020 Global Trends Report, LinkedIn recognised that “pay matters, but it only goes so far”. If you already compensate your employees well, paying them more will only serve purpose to a point. Employees are asking for training opportunities, the ability to easily speak with management and of course, work/life balance. These are the moments that matter to employees. 

As the global workforce moves and changes, so too should your employee experience strategy.

Knowing where you want your organisation to be in the future will help you to create and nurture an employee experience. 

Five Pillars for Creating a Good Employee Experience

Your workplace culture might include perks like free coffee, snacks and ping pong tournaments. However, when considering employee experience, elements like work/life balance, training opportunities, and effective management are key. 

Lisa Chesterfield, a strategy and transformation professional, outlines five pillars for creating a strong employee experience. 

  1. Communication
  2. Personalisation
  3. Leadership
  4. Wellbeing, health and safety
  5. Learning and development

When working in a remote team these can be useful for exploring the less tangible elements of employee experience.

Communication, wellbeing, learning and development

To communicate clearly and demonstrate an interest in your employee’s wellbeing and learning and development, consider conducting regular pulse surveys. 

Employers use pulse surveys to take the temperature, or pulse, of their employees. They are completed at regular intervals - monthly, quarterly or half-yearly. Pulse surveys are short. 

While experience is subjective, there are ways that you can report on how your employees feel. Over time, repeat reports help create data which then builds a picture of the experience you provide your people. 

Pulse surveys provide employers with relevant and timely feedback. They remind your staff that you care about their opinions and experiences. Getting issues off their chest in an informal and non-confrontational way may also serve to boost morale and overall wellbeing. 

Pulse surveys show that employee experience should always be an active, evolving strategy -not set and forget. By using pulse surveys, a HR team can manage and adapt an employee experience strategy once it has been implemented. 

Leadership and communication

Clear, concise communication that involves everyone is a simple way your employees feel like they are part of your organisation.

An open-door policy may not be as easy with a remote workforce, yet communication and leadership can still be effective. 

Implementing regular ‘all hands’ video calls allow you to communicate important messages and show leadership in good times and challenging ones. Open the floor to questions. 

Personalisation

A personalised employee experience for a remote workforce can be achieved through delving deeper into work/life balance. Has your leadership team received requests for a 9 day fortnight? Would an employee who has childcare responsibilities benefit from a later start time? Trust is key with a remote workforce and flexibility and understanding go a long way in developing a positive employee experience. 

At Xref, we maintain Workplace chats and groups. These serve as instant communication channels and platforms for updates between any number of staff across any department. Our leadership team are willingly included in these, ensuring communication is equal, open and everyone is accessible. 

These groups allow for business announcements and cultural updates like introducing new staff members or celebrating achievements. We use voice, video and text to communicate including memes where appropriate, to convey our young and diverse culture. 

Outside of regular team meetings, we take a ‘get your work done’ style approach to work hours.

Employee experience is not the responsibility of one person and is not achieved through a ‘one size’ strategy. It is not always top-down. Employee experience is driven by all and a good employee experience can be felt internally and externally.  

Did you know, your brand can be impacted by your employee experience? 

Your Brand and Employee Experience are Related

Brand reputation is important. Not just for customers, but when looking to recruit future employees. This cohort will consider the experiences of current and past employees when they look to work for you. 

Similarly, current employees will assess their experiences when they look to leave. Current employees will consider how their present experiences stack up against what potential future employers are offering. 

Your current and recently departed employees are your best advertisement for future talent acquisition. 

Websites such as Glassdoor allow employees to leave ratings and a review about their role and your company. Consider this a ranking of employee satisfaction. Potential talent can read these reviews and make a decision about whether or not to join your company. 

Being open to feedback promotes a company culture of open communication and ​​cohesion. This can support enhanced brand reputation in the long term.

Wrap Up

With The Great Resignation, the war for talent is only increasing. Employees’ expectations about their experience at work has evolved. Work is no longer in an office, 9-5, five days a week. All employees have unique expectations around what work can be, and this is impacting what employee experiences a company should deliver. 

There is no single way to deliver an employee experience strategy. These milestones, pillars and examples can contribute to a positive work environment. By implementing flexible strategies at each milestone, your business can improve the employee experience.

Despite many roles now being remote, there is an expectation for valuable employee experiences within your business. A business that chooses to focus on employee experience will find positive outcomes for customer experience and customer satisfaction.

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