Khadim Batti concludes his piece on the importance of employee experience.
What encompasses the employee experience?
Just like customer experience, employee experience is the aggregate of all the experiences across all touchpoints that an employee has ‘working’ for an organisation. But, unlike the customer experience, it’s not just while interacting with the company or using its product or service.
So, if the workstation employees use is not fast enough, it’s a bad employee experience. If the training programs are not interactive and engaging enough, it’s a bad experience. If the applications employees use at work aren’t fluid enough, it’s a bad experience. Complexity and lack of automation in workplace processes and protocols are a bad experience.
To create a great employee experience requires meticulous attention to detail. But, at the same time, anything that makes employees more productive and less stressed contributes to a great employee experience as well.
But the biggest lesson to be learnt is: Like customer experience, employee experience is the aggregate of all the experiences employees have with the organisation they work for, but it’s not a zero sum game. The good experiences will not cancel out the bad ones.
To create a great employee experience requires meticulous attention to detail.
Employee training: Prioritise improving the poor employee experience touchpoints first
The experience game is such that the bad ones more often than not trump the good ones. As such, every organisation’s first priority needs to be improving touchpoints where the employee experience could be bad.
So, where should you start? Employee training. Why? Well, PwC studies suggest that employees reckon having ‘good training and development’ programs is the third most desirable quality in a workplace. The first two are adequate career progression opportunities and competitive financial compensation.
Another study found that ‘improving training’ is the third most common adaptation to accommodate millennials in the United States. Making work timings flexible and allowing employees to work from home are the top two.
Despite all these numbers, the importance of employee training is still understated. That’s not because organisations aren’t allocating enough budgets for employee training programs or spending enough time. On the contrary, it’s because despite spending a lot of money, organisations are unable to make employee training engaging and effective.
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Quite obviously, that translates to a very poor employee experience. And, as I already pointed out, unless organizations sort the bad experiences, the good experiences they create will not start adding value. More directly, improving training is being seen as a method to improve the overall employee experience.
Employee experience and engagement needs to be inherent in training
Organisations do realise that training is critical to retaining employees but a lot of them assume that their responsibility ends at providing for it. As employee demand becomes more like customers, it is imperative for instructional designers and HR owners to ensure that engagement and employee experience are inherent to the training programs they create.
In fact, the design doesn’t need to be based on a new system but one of the old.
In his fundamental andragogy theory, the famous educator Malcolm Knowles emphasised that training works best when it is highly relevant to the learners’ profession. Training must be designed so that:
- It allows employees to instantly apply the learning to their professional roles.
- It allows employees to use a non-linear method of learning whenever and wherever they can, effectively, giving them control of their learning.
- It is always available in the environment of the employees’ professional roles and responsibilities and is smart enough to train contextually.
- It provides on-the-job learning so the onus of retaining knowledge is not upon employees.
- It allows instructional designers to gauge and measure the learning curve employees are moving through.
It goes without saying that instructional designers would need to ditch the old practices of training and employ modern tools which embed the employee experience into the training programs. Also, it is noteworthy that when instructional designers follow the above principles, then the training per se becomes engaging for employees improving the overall experience.
This is the era of the employee and whether or not it is talked about as frequently or not, organisations are fighting as hard for employees as they are for customers. It is high time they focus on both as equally important sides of the same coin.
About the author
Khadim Batti is the Cofounder and CEO of Whatfix, a leading SaaS based performance support platform.