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  • Miki Ackermann

Employee Experiences in the Workplace

Updated: Apr 11

According to McLean and Company providing a great employee experience is an important priority to businesses in 2024.



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Employee experiences at work


What is employee experience? It is your employees’ perception of all their experiences within your business. This encompasses their journey from their first application to work with you, the entire recruitment and onboarding process, to daily work life, career steps, performance evaluations, communication, and departure. It is different than employee engagement, which is the outcome of your employees’ experiences.


If you wish to keep your employees interested in coming to work, staying with the business, being productive, and, making your customers happy and returning for more, it is in your businesses’ best interest to pay attention to your employees' experiences in your workplace.


How do you understand your employees’ experiences? Ask and listen. This may sound simple and can be. However, be aware if you ask and do not act meaningfully on what you hear, you may frustrate and disappoint your employees, leading to disillusionment and disengagement. If you cannot act on what you learn from your employees, it’s best not to even ask.


You can collect data about your employees’ experiences via surveys, small focus groups, 1:1 meetings and performance reviews, townhall meetings, social collaboration platforms, exit interviews, employee advisory groups, or suggestion boxes.


Surveys allow you to ask anonymous questions about all kinds of topics related to employee experiences. Preparing your staff ahead of the survey is important, making it clear the answers will remain anonymous, settings expectations on when and how to answer, making it easy for them to complete the survey during work hours, and of course, acting on the results are all key steps to using surveys to measure employee experience. Free survey tools are available online, such as Survey Monkey or Google docs.


If your team is small, consider hosting small focus group meetings with no more than 2-4 staff members at a time. It’s important to educate your staff on the reasons for and the goal of the meetings. I recommend doing this only if you believe you can create a safe space for your staff to speak freely. Often hiring an outside expert to facilitate these focus groups can help put your staff at greater ease.


Regular individual meetings and performance review meetings can provide you with a forum to ask staff about their experiences. For example, you can ask them to provide you with feedback on the working environment, practices, morale, and more. Similar to focus group meetings, providing a comfortable, safe environment for your staff to respond honestly is pivotal to ensuring you get authentic information.


Organizing periodic townhall meetings or other employee forums can also allow your staff to voice their opinions, ask questions, and share ideas in a group setting. Here’s a tip: ask them to submit their questions or ideas ahead of the meeting so that you can prepare yourself to answer them during the forum.


If you have one, leverage your social collaboration platform, such as Slack, to allow employees to ask questions to the leadership team, business owner, and/or HR. These platforms can facilitate the sharing of ideas, collaboration on projects, and the potential to discuss workplace matters openly. I suggest having a trusted leader or you, as the business owner, facilitating and monitoring the online discussions. Establishing rules of engagement is an important consideration prior to opening the platform to feedback to head off any potential strife.


It is usually too late to change why an individual employee is leaving but exit interviews can help you understand what contributed to their decision to depart, thus capturing perceptions of their experiences and data on the workplace culture. Be sure to ask for suggestions for improvements. Analyzing the interview data can inform retention strategies, organizational development changes, and other interventions to make the workplace more engaging. Similar to other strategies outlined above, it may work best to ask for outside help in completing exit interviews, as even departing employees can worry about potential blowback.


Establishing employee advisory groups or committees made up of staff from various departments and levels of the business can serve as another sounding board for you, the business owner. When set up properly, these groups can offer you diverse perspectives and input on initiatives, morale, policies, changes, and other experiences from daily work life.


Although it sounds old fashioned, suggestion boxes can still play a role in collecting employee input. You can call it a “Suggestion box” or “Questions for HR” or “Comments for the CEO”. Whatever name you give it, it is a low barrier, anonymous avenue for staff to share ideas, concerns, suggestions, and ask questions. Monitoring it monthly and responding to the questions or ideas publicly during staff meetings, townhalls, or stand-up huddles will demonstrate your commitment to listening and responding to employee concerns.


If you decide to act on these ideas, we commend you. It will bear fruit in the long run as you work on building a healthy working environment. Remember to prepare properly and act on what you hear. Consider asking for expert help to ensure the positive intentions translate to your workforce.


If you need help implementing any of these ideas, reach out and book a free consultation with us.


Learn 9 tips about how to engage and retain employees by clicking here.

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