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Employee Experience Explained and How it Links to Candidate Experience

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In a recent survey, 92% of companies stated they're prioritising employee experience (EX). 

Many companies have realised the harsh reality of their employees' work environment. Employees everywhere suffer from insensitive management and a lack of support.

Luckily, a large number of companies are hoping to make a difference.  A handful of management and HR companies are encouraging more empathy, better mental support, and much more in the office. 

Do you find there's a strong link between employee and candidate experience? We'll explain more below.

What is employee experience?

If you're asking, "What is EX?", you're not the only one. It's unfortunate how little companies speak on the employee experience, but we're hoping to change that!

Employee experience includes what an employee learns, sees, and hears in the company. The experience takes place from their first day until their last goodbye. It's the memories they create, bonds they form, and words they receive.

What is candidate experience?

The candidate experience is all about the hiring process. It includes everything from the moment a candidate submits their application until the company's final decision.

Specifics of the candidate experience include:

  • How quickly applicants receive a response to their resume submissions
  • How personable the management is during the interview process
  • The logistics of how interviews are conducted.

Each small piece makes a major impact.

What's needed to improve EX?

We can all agree that high-quality EX is crucial, but it's even more crucial that companies know what to do to improve the employee experience. 

The best place to start is the employee. Understanding employees and their needs aids a company in knowing what changes to make and how to boost morale. 

For example, employees may voice they prefer fewer staff meetings so they're able to focus on projects. Or a handful of employees may feel like there's no support from the management team. 

Even providing the occasional free breakfast to a team makes all the difference! It's important a company starts working for their employees instead of only demanding work from them. 

Wait, how does this relate to candidate experience?

As a company works to improve employee experience, they'll naturally improve candidate experience. 

This is due to the employer gaining a deeper understanding of empathy. They realise candidates have their own support needs and health concerns- on top of their personal responsibilities.

Working to create a smooth and positive experience for an employee inspires employers to think beyond someone's first day on the job. The experience starts as soon as someone submits their job application. 

How can a company improve its candidate experience?

To improve the candidate experience, a company must start at the beginning. Each step of the application and hiring process must be taken into account. 

We'll break it down for you. 

1. Creating a job post

Have you ever applied to a job only to find out the job description didn't match your duties? It's discouraging, right?

To create a better candidate experience, employers must first identify an open role and understand the duties this role will be performing. If there's a chance the new employee will be performing unexpected duties, it's only fair an employer mentions that.

It's also important a company doesn't hide the less favourable aspects of a job. There's a way to be transparent about the downsides of the job without scaring away potential applicants. 

The company could mention the obstacles an employee will face, followed by the strengths they'll gain. It's surprising how many employees are up for the challenge, as long as the job description is honest!

2. Following up with applicants

Submitting a job application feels like throwing a piece of paper into a black hole most of the time. You might follow up with management, receive an automated message, and be left to wonder what's going on. 

A great way to improve the candidate experience is by following up with applicants. A single open role might receive hundreds of applications. Designating a select team of management members to respond to applications is helpful.

Knowing a basic hiring timeline before responding to applicants is also helpful. Employees responding to an applicant should provide a hiring timeline. This better prepares candidates for potential interviews and decision days.

3. Streamlining the interview process

To create a streamlined and smooth interview process, a company must pay attention to the little details. 

Applicants scheduled for an interview should receive adequate preparation time. They should be informed where and how the interview will take place and what the setup will look like upon arrival.

Employers should have a list of questions ready to go! Management teams should collaborate on questions. They must also guarantee a handful of questions are asked about the open position.

If you're conducting interviews, make copies of the applicants' resumes to reference as you chat with them. Highlight any section of the resume you'd like them to expand upon. 

Reference Checking is the last yet crucial part of the hiring process, that should seamlessly fit in the overall hiring journey. For a smooth process, it helps to have an automated reference checking tool that is fast, easy, and convenient for everyone to use. Online reference checking software not only improves hiring efficiency but on the candidate side, creates a great experience by keeping the candidate informed about their reference requests. 

4. Final decisions

There are times when an employer immediately knows who they want to hire. Other times, the decision is much more difficult. 

While it's not advised for a company to rush the decision process, providing a timely decision is important. Some applicants may have other things on hold as they wait for a decision, and others may experience a great deal of anxiety as they wait. 

During the final decision process, background and reference checks are important. Employers must double-check that each candidate is the worker they appeared to be in the interview.

No matter their decision, companies should thank each applicant for their dedication to the interview process. Even if you don't get the job, it's warming to receive a genuine thanks from the company for trying!

Transitioning from candidate to employee

Candidates shouldn't go from feeling valued in an interview to feeling defeated in the workplace. A company should implement empathy, integrity, and compassion at every stage.

Once an employee is hired, they should receive a warm welcome and in-depth training. The training process should be educational, engaging, and motivating. 

Employee experience should even extend to the not-so-fun paperwork new employees receive. Employers must take time to explain the paperwork to new hires and answer questions they have.

If your company just hired a new employee, make the process easier by having the papers printed and placed in an employee folder! You can even throw in a copy of the training manual and commonly asked workplace questions into the folder. 

Once training is over, many companies have found it helpful to provide workplace mentors to new employees. These mentors guide new employees as they find their groove.

Remaining open to feedback

Companies looking to improve the candidate experience must remain open to feedback. They'll even benefit from encouraging it. 

Surveys are great ways to receive feedback about the candidate experience. A company receives tons of information by asking candidates about the hiring process. Candidates can explain what they did and didn't enjoy.

Former candidates and companies both benefit from providing space for honest criticism. Reflection helps a candidate better understand their standards for candidate experience. Criticism helps a company improve its process for future hiring.

Putting feedback into action 

A major downfall of many companies' employee and candidate experience is not using feedback to make positive changes. A company's integrity improves when they put forth an honest effort to make lasting, healthy changes.

Lasting changes don't occur overnight, but informing employees of the changes being put into place speeds up the process. Once employees notice management taking action, they'll put in the work to support a healthier environment. 

Unfortunately, many small companies notice problems stemming from select members of a team. Companies should take this issue seriously. Problem team members can either transition to another team or let go from the company.

Companies face high employee turnover rates if they don't respond to employee complaints. High turnover rates result in low company integrity.

Linking employee experience to candidate experience

Everything that an employee learns, sees, hears, and does is all related to the employee experience. While focusing on employee experience is important, companies must link it with candidate experience

Improving an employer's integrity and empathy is beneficial for paid employees and candidates. Those considered for the job deserve timely follow-ups, a seamless interview process, and gratitude from the company. 

Are you an employer looking to make the candidate experience better? Xref is a company improving candidate decisions all over the world through a reliable identity verification platform. Check out our pricing, and schedule a free demo today. 

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