What is an employee journey?

The employee journey describes the time duration that an employee spends with a specific company, encompassing all relevant events and touchpoints.

While customers are the lifeblood of any business, employees are the heart. Your workforce helps direct and drive customer satisfaction. They power your organization, and are the foremost factors in establishing and maintaining a positive culture. As such, organizations are discovering that understanding of the employee experience may be just as essential as understanding the customer experience.

To understand your employees and help them (and your organization) reach important goals, you need an accurate view of the various steps and touchpoints these employees experience while with your company. The employee journey is a concept that was borrowed and adapted from tried-and-true customer journey analysis. By mapping the employee journey in much the same way that organizations map the customer journey, HR helps businesses work to improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.

With a clear understanding of the employee journey, companies enjoy the following benefits:

Improved employee experience

Recognizing and analyzing the employee experience, organizations can better plan activities from onboarding, to development, feedback, and more. It helps you become more aware of operations that are necessary to help an employee along their career path.

Increased employee satisfaction

Studies show that employees who feel they are treated respectfully are 63% more satisfied. Mapping the employee journey and improving their experiences help your employees feel valued, and in turn, they will be more capable of providing value.

Decreased turnover

Satisfied employees are less likely to leave your company, and 93% of employees who leave would stay at a company longer if the company were more invested in their career. Understanding your employee journey helps you determine which training opportunities should be provided to your employees, and plan out their development accordingly.

Reinforced company culture

When employee career plans are mapped, expectations are communicated, and development happens as needed, work becomes less stressful and more productive. This leads to a friendly office atmosphere and a stronger, more-satisfying company culture.

Recognizing and discussing the employee journey is important, but it’s generally not enough. You need to be able to visualize it. Employee journey mapping is a visual representation of the employee journey as they move through the organization. Journey mapping allows organizations to prioritize resources, clarify roles, and identify crucial moments that will matter as they map the various steps and emotional states that employees may experience during company interactions.

  • Additionally, employee journey mapping allows you to:
  • Align the organization
  • Identify the moments that matter the most
  • Clarify crucial roles
  • Promote employee-centric thinking and actions
  • Set priorities for funding and other resource

Attract

This stage refers to the recruitment process, which encompasses all of the necessary steps in hiring a new employee. Consider how long it will take to hire, the cost of hiring, the rate of acceptance, and the quality of the hire. A clear understanding of this stage allows you to improve job posting to better attract the best applicants, and identify any friction that may be driving potential hires away.
Graphic showing the stages of the employee

Onboarding

Onboarding describes the tasks associated with bringing on a new employee, and getting them up to speed with systems, tools, processes, and expectations. New employees typically require a “ramp up” time to get up to speed and find productive strategies. Effective onboarding takes the initial enthusiasm of a new job and turns it into something meaningful and long-term.

Engage

Consider the steps in the employee journey that affect employee engagement. These efforts should be continuous and persistent along every stage of the employee journey. A crucial aspect of this process is communication—carefully create a workplace communication strategy and assess when/how to communicate with employees. An organization’s ability to successfully engage with their employees makes for a better employee experience.

Develop

This is an ongoing process as you develop individuals at varying rates and across different skills. To map this stage, you must be able to quantify their productivity, ability to be a team player, and their career aspirations. It’s also important to offer employees opportunities to expand their skill sets—an important differentiator for employees who want to build a portfolio consisting of varied experiences.

Perform

Employees that are ramped up and developing need incentive to continue improving and contributing to the success of a company. Increase performance by inspiring them and connecting them to the success of a company’s vision.

Exit

There are many different reasons why an employee may part ways with your business. But while you’ll never be able to stop employees from moving on, you can develop a clearer understanding of why they are leaving, and how you can help prevent future employees from doing the same. Employees will leave at different stages, and exits are an essential opportunity to find out what can be improved and developed for future employees.

Optimizing unseen experiences

Journey mapping assists with the thought processes surrounding hidden aspects of the employee journey.

Discovering what runs smoothly

Mapping allows you to leverage what is working well in all moments of the journey, to meet employee needs no matter what stage they are in.

Fixing bad experiences

Mapping a journey reveals not only where, but also why you might not be meeting the expectations of your employees. Use this information to identify and eliminate bad experiences wherever possible.

Identifying opportunities to foster equity and inclusion

There usually isn’t a single critical point along the employee journey that fosters inequity. Instead, it’s the combined impact of systemic inequity and bias over many moments that can create a significant experience gap. Find key points where you can foster equity and inclusion, and help employees understand how important they are to the organization.

What is a personalized employee experience?

An employee experience that is personalized accounts for unique situations, needs, and the employee preferences, and applies those accounts to deliver an experience customized to the needs of the individual.

Design, plan, and execute on personal work experiences, much in the same way that organizations handle customer experiences. While mass-communication and other ‘wide-net’ strategies may seem more cost effective, they tend to create an impersonal atmosphere, where no employee feels very important or understood. Instead, personalize your communications and processes within the employee journey, so that they have the specific support and direction they need to exel.

Personalized experiences provide the additional support and comfort they need to address mentally exhausting tasks. At the same time, a properly personalized employee journey benefits the organization as a whole, by offering insight into how individual employee satisfaction affects the company’s overall ability to generate revenue.

How should you personalize your employee experience?

While personalization of the employee experience is more time-consuming and labor intensive than simply creating a one-size-fits-all approach, it is also far more effective. And, with the right personalization strategies, you can create custom employee experiences without over taxing your resources.

Here are three key focuses to consider while you personalize the employee journey:

  • Onboarding
    Chances are, you’ll be hiring for different roles within your company. As such, having a single, universal onboarding experience simply is not effective. The onboarding experience should be tailored to the specific jobs that your new hire will be expected to perform. At the same time, not every hire responds the same way to the same training and processes; where possible, try to customize the onboarding process to fit the unique needs of each new employee.
  • Equipment
    Employees are generally a better judge of which hardware will help them be the most productive. If you force every individual in your workforce to conform to exactly the same equipment, you may be hurting the employee experience. Instead of assigning standardized hardware, consider giving each employee an equipment budget with which they can requisition specific hardware to meet their specific needs and responsibilities.
  • Location
    2020 forced a shift in attitude towards the concept of the remote worker. Today, employees are less understanding of company policies that force them to remain in office without justification. Where online capabilities allow for remote work without a drop in capability, give your employees the freedom to choose where they work. And for those who do have to be in the office, open-style workspaces allow employees to find the spot that best nurtures their own productivity.
  • Hours
    Again, unless absolutely necessary to foster coordination between teams and departments, or to better serve customers, there really isn’t any reason why every employee should have to work the same 9 – 5 work day. Wherever possible, allow your employees to set their own work hours, and then assess their effectiveness based on quality of work, not hours spent sitting at a desk.

Segment your workforce

Consider how your employee’s journey is different based on departments, like software developers and recruiters. Segment your workforce based on these different personas. Thinking about the journey of different employees will help you prepare for creating multiple journey maps.

Create multiple employee journey maps

You don’t have to create a great deal of journey maps, but you need to be inclusive by including sub-maps or smaller variations within a map. You shouldn’t only account for the type of job and its related tasks; also take into account the age of the hire and other personal information you may have access to—development opportunities are valued differently based on an employee’s generation and prior experiences.

Survey your employees

Conduct regular surveys and collect information to better understand what employees think of your efforts, and where you may need to improve.

Revise according to feedback

Surveys provide cumulative data, but qualitative feedback is also crucial for improving journey maps. For example, after participating in a training session, reach out to see what your employees thought of it, if they found the information useful, and if they feel as though they need to move forward. If the feedback is negative, or if employees provide valid suggestions for improvement, update and revise the training to for an improved experience.

Measure your success every step of the way

Keep track of KPIs and the success of your employee journey mapping. Set your own parameters for success of onboarding, recognition, and development. Measuring recognition efforts can also be automated and integrated with recognition software.

Modern enterprises need to realign their focus on improving the employee experience. ServiceNow provides the tools and resources to help make this possible, with Employee Journey Management.

Employee Journey Management is a new package of enterprise-wide capabilities designed to help optimize the individual employee’s experiences as they move through their own unique, dynamic career journeys.

The Journey Accelerator app makes it easy for management to personalize employee roles and organize important activities and tasks to promote success every step of the way. Listening and learning posts help collect employee feedback and provide valuable educational opportunities. Lifecycle events incorporate automated workflows to help facilitate complex employee requests. Experience packs give HR teams important blueprints for simplified journeys, including prepackaged workflows, content , and configuration.

After all, your employees really are the heart of your business. Give them the support they need to ensure positive experiences and effective paths to personal success. ServiceNow makes it possible.

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