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Why Employee Experience (EX) is Critical to Talent Retention
The way employees experience their participation in the organizational effort has become a cornerstone of customer experience, underpinning talent retention and leadership succession. Employees who buy into the company values, have the freedom to make decisions concerning their work, and enjoy opportunities to better themselves personally and professionally are not just happier; they are also more productive.
“Your Customer Experience will only be great if your Employee Experience is greater.” – Carol Wain.
Customer experience has been a battlefield for organizations the world over for some time. It is the measure by which brands thrive or die these days. It has become a critical defining factor of engagement and relevance.
What is Employee Experience?
The next battlefield is employee experience. Closely connected to customer experience, employee experience involves the interactions employees have with their employers and the feelings, impressions, and emotions these interactions create.
Employee experience is the key to retaining talent, and by extension, to creating an organizational succession system capable of developing the brand ambassadors and leaders of the future.
In my leadership development books and blog posts, I have always argued that leaders should create individualized development plans to retain talent and identify high-potentials.
To an employee, such a development plan shows that he/she is more than a mere cog in a more elaborate mechanism. The company sees in him/her a valuable, developable asset and perhaps a future leader.
Why is Employee Experience Critical to Talent Retention?
Establishing and clearly stating the purpose of an organization is the first step toward creating an environment conducive to performance. A good employee experience achieves the same goal on the level of the individual employee. It creates a personal purpose, and through it, motivation.
There is more to employee experience than providing individuals with a purpose that aligns with the organizational values and goals.
Employees of the 21st century no longer conform to the expectation of the industrial leadership paradigm. They relate to authority differently. Many of them will not work for an organization whose values, principles, and purpose they can’t make their own.
Without offering a top-notch employee experience, organizations can no longer retain and develop high-potential talent.
Boosting Employee Experience
From the tools and resources employees need to be effective at their job to factors that impact their emotional wellbeing, much goes into the ideal employee experience cocktail.
- Continuous feedback and coaching. Setting goals is a good start. But to sustain the motivation that goals create, leaders needs to provide regular feedback and guidance.
- Appreciation and recognition. If an employee does a good job, he/she needs to feel appreciated. Gratitude and even formal recognition can provide a welcome boost.
- Intelligent leadership. The leadership models of the post-industrial era have made it clear that leaders should serve their employees and not vice-versa. It falls to leaders to create a top-notch employee experience, ensuring a similarly stellar customer experience that will allow their organizations to thrive.
- The relationship between coworkers. Fostering a relaxed environment where coworkers can work together and play together facilitates the development of meaningful relationships. Such relationships have a positive impact on employee experience, teamwork, and ultimately, performance.
- Trust, empowerment, and respect. If leaders trust their employees and respect them, they will find it easier to delegate responsibility. Allowing employees to make the decisions they deem optimal and granting them the freedom to do their jobs encourages psychological ownership, an important key to engagement and a better employee experience.
- Striving for success. Meeting and exceeding organizational goals is a function of getting employees engaged, empowered, and motivated. This means defining success for each individual, setting personalized goals, and taking a real interest in the employee’s achieving of these goals. Organizations should aim to provide opportunities for personal and professional development.
- Optimal communication. To feel valued and trusted, employees need to communicate with their peers and leaders openly, honestly, transparently, and consistently.
Much like the resources that go into leadership development, the time and energy that go into boosting the employee experience are never wasted. Improving EX should become a strategic transformational goal for all forward-thinking, future-oriented organizations.