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5 Tips to Improve the Employee Experience

Most companies know by now that happy employees lead to a more productive workplace. The question for many businesses is how to generate that happiness. While you should of course pay a fair wage and offer a decent benefits package, there’s so much more you can do to improve the employee experience. Your goal is to create an environment employees are proud to walk into and contribute to. Here are a few strategies to help you do just that.

1. Engage Your Employees

From the moment they walk through your company’s doors, your employees should feel engaged by the work they do. Often, people are not just thinking about what they’re doing now, but what they will be doing in the future — how their career will evolve. Far too few companies help their employees with career growth. Instead, workers are left to figure it out on their own, hunting for job opportunities and promotions, which may lead them right back out the door. 

Instead of letting valuable staff take work in other companies, ensure you have a strong HR department that will keep track of your people’s careers. This could include employee journey mapping, which focuses on critical moments in your staff’s development. It could also involve programs that train employees and promote from within. Approaches like these help keep the people on your team feeling like they’re on track to grow with your company.  

2. Consider Working Parents

Support for working parents is still lacking in many places of business. Approximately one-third of the American workforce has a child under the age of 18, so this lack is a problem. Parents need to be able to leave work to care for a sick child or see a baseball game or ballet performance. Every time their place of work makes that hard on them, they will likely have a worse work experience. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Businesses can put policies into place that allow for the needs of working parents. After all, unhappy working parents may keep their jobs, but their performance will probably suffer. To combat this, you could implement a supportive culture at work that encourages parents to take the time they need to be with their kids. This could include paid parental leave after childbirth or adoption and flexible paid time off to accommodate the unpredictable schedules of kids.

3. Offer Flexible Schedules 

Speaking of being flexible, one of the greatest ways to improve the employee experience is to allow for more freedom in their schedules. The hardest part of work for a lot of people is getting to and from work around rigid work hours. Parents have to figure out drop-off and pick-up times for their kids, not to mention daycare. Employees with two jobs have to balance multiple shifts. Some of your staff may want to attend classes that don’t work with the typical 9 to 5.

The reality is that most jobs don’t actually have to be done during “banking hours.” Furthermore, many tasks can be done remotely. The sooner your company adapts to this societal shift, the more happy and productive employees are likely to be. As much as business will allow, let your employees create their own hours. Make long lunches or late start times a possibility. And offer remote options for any work that does not require employees to be physically present. 

4. Share Your Company Vision

Perhaps one of the bleakest situations in the workplace is when the employee feels disconnected from their work. Showing up just for a paycheck can get old fast, and it can quickly lead to bitterness and burnout — not a recipe for a positive employee experience. While many companies hand out brochures or address the company vision during the interview or initial training, it often ends there. Within weeks or months, staff forget what they’re working for. 

You can change this trend by communicating the vision of your organization regularly. Hold quarterly meetings that review business performance and how this or that department contributes to that performance. Remember, it can’t just be about the bottom line. Show your employees the value of the products or services your company offers and let them see their role. Proud employees are much more likely to be happy employees. 

5. Garner Trust

Finally, skip the micromanagement. If your business has a culture of constant oversight and hyperfixation on employees’ daily activities, end that culture as soon as possible. It may feel sometimes to managers like they’re “babysitting,” but you’re dealing with grown adults. And the truth is people often rise to meet (or exceed) expectations. If you treat them like kids, they’re more likely to behave like kids — sullen, bratty, and rebellious. 

Instead, create policies and procedures that communicate necessary information effectively, and then let staff do their jobs. It is management’s job to make sure employees know what their job is and then support them as they do it. Also, have a chain of command in place so employees can raise concerns and offer their insights and ideas. The more you trust and support your employees in their jobs, the more likely they are to do them well. 

In the end, a positive employee experience is a critical piece of any truly successful business. Unhappiness trickles down and ripples outward exponentially. And while you should always expect your employees to work hard and conduct themselves in a professional manner, it is up to you to create that culture. Lead from a place of respect, compassion, and trust, and watch your employees rise to the occasion, helping your company make progress for years to come.