A robust employee experience strategy is critical to cultivating a collaborative, satisfied, and productive workplace. A thriving culture can boost productivity, reduce talent churn, and create valuable brand ambassadors for businesses.
Developing a comprehensive employee experience strategy begins with understanding the critical touchpoints in the employee life cycle. These junctures are the most significant and influential moments that can determine an employee’s perception of their work.
Create a Culture of Feedback
A feedback culture encourages open communication and essential elements of employee experience design. It enables individuals to receive guidance, aligns their work with organizational goals, and allows them to grow professionally.
A critical element of a feedback culture is for employees to be confident that their input will be heard and valued. It can be achieved by establishing protocols for recognition and praise and sharing updates in a public channel about how specific feedback has been addressed.
Creating a feedback culture also requires leaders to exemplify the values of a feedback-oriented workplace by regularly asking for and receiving feedback. It shows that it’s something that the leadership team truly supports and believes in, as opposed to simply implementing an initiative for show.
Encourage Learning & Growth
With turnover in the workplace at a record high, employees are looking for reasons to stay. One big motivator is a desire for advancement opportunities. A learning culture might be as primary as posting pertinent articles every day or every week, or it can be more structured and involve courses and workshops.
Developing a learning culture begins with listening to your employees. Getting feedback is crucial, and this process should be an ongoing one. Employees receiving continuous feedback on their performance helps them stay motivated to work harder and achieve success. It also signals to them that the company cares about their development and growth. Recognition and rewards are also great motivational tools for employees, especially when acknowledging their progress in your learning program. It can be anything from a quick Slack message to a team meeting.
Create a Safe & Supportive Environment
Maintaining a safe working environment isn’t just a legal imperative; it’s also crucial to employee morale and productivity. Providing employees with access to counseling, a designated quiet space, and regular breaks can promote physical and mental health in the workplace.
Creating an emotionally safe workplace starts with leadership. Leaders can support a supportive culture by demonstrating empathy, open-mindedness, and active listening. They can also provide coaching and training on emotional safety to their teams.
Ensure clarity in roles, responsibilities, and expectations to reduce stress. Establishing a feedback mechanism, like an employee engagement committee or digital platform, is recommended to encourage open communication between employees and their managers. It allows employees to voice their opinions anonymously without fear of retaliation or negative consequences. Lastly, recognize and reward team members for their accomplishments.
Create a Culture of Collaboration
Building a collaborative culture in your workplace requires a strong foundation of trust and camaraderie. To do this, team members should be able to communicate with one another freely, work together on projects, and feel inspired by each other’s goals.
To promote collaboration, set aside time for team-building exercises that encourage employee communication and connection. You can also use tools that allow teams to easily share ideas and information across departments, eliminating silos and encouraging a teamwork mindset.
It’s necessary to remember that creating a collaborative culture takes time, so set clear goals and communicate any roadblocks that may arise. For example, establishing a single communication channel and encouraging open knowledge sharing is essential to ensure transparency within your organization. It will prevent rumor mills and grapevine communication that hinder productive collaboration.
Create a Culture of Innovation
An innovation culture is an organizational environment that encourages unconventional thinking and supports the democratization of ideas. It allows everyone from the CEO to the summer intern to voice their ideas for change and challenge the status quo. It instills intellectual bravery, allowing employees to think outside the box and try unorthodox approaches to problem-solving.
The best way to create a culture of innovation is by rewarding the right behaviors. Supportive leadership and a clear vision for innovation inspire and guide teams toward creative solutions. In addition, a customer-centric focus is essential to success. A commitment to continuous learning ensures employees stay abreast of industry trends. Finally, a culture of innovation thrives when departments collaborate to break down silos and foster holistic solutions. That is why it is recommended to incorporate collaborative protocols and recognition processes in your employee experience strategy.
Create a Culture of Wellbeing
Wellbeing is one of the most critical workplace culture factors. Workplaces that prioritize wellbeing are happier and more productive. Creating a culture of wellness starts with understanding and measuring current employee perceptions through surveys, one-on-one meetings, and focus groups.
Then, organizations should implement the desired cultural tenets in daily business practices, language, and decision-making. It includes offering flexible working arrangements, providing onsite gyms and healthy potlucks, and supporting a mindfulness practice. It also means promoting mental health awareness, including resiliency training and initiatives that remove stigma and encourage help-seeking for depression or other disorders.
Leaders also need to commit to wellbeing by demonstrating their self-care. It can be as simple as committing to unplugging, taking vacations, and setting boundaries around responding to emails at night. When employees see leaders putting their well-being first, it sets the tone for the rest of the company.
Create a Culture of Trust
Trust is the foundation of any workplace culture, starting at the top. Employees must know that leaders are honest, follow promises, and communicate openly.
Employees must also feel comfortable seeking help or admitting mistakes without fear of punishment. For example, if an employee is struggling with a project they are working on, they should be able to go to their supervisor and explain the situation. The supervisor should then work with them to find a solution.
In addition, creating a culture where feedback is given regularly and in a safe and confidential setting is essential. It can be done by incorporating a collective intelligence tool into your employee experience design and by ensuring that every one of your employees receives constructive feedback from their managers every week.
Create a Culture of Accountability
When employees don’t feel accountable, they don’t take the results of their work personally and tend to pass the buck when things go wrong. That is why creating a culture of accountability in your workplace is essential.
Cultivating a culture of accountability requires open communication from everyone in the organization. Encourage team members to share feedback and provide necessary resources (e.g., software, guidance, time).
It’s also essential to communicate your definition of accountability to new hires during the hiring process. That way, they can start on the right foot and become self-motivated to follow company standards. Lastly, it’s crucial to include the next steps in your meetings so that everyone knows who is responsible for what and by when.
Leaders are the leaders of culture and accountability, so they must set a tone for the rest of the team. It means being transparent about their decisions and taking ownership of the results. It also means empowering employees to own their work and be willing to be held accountable when necessary.
A culture of accountability requires a commitment from every employee to complete all tasks and meet deadlines. One of the best ways to ensure this is through clear and attainable expectations regularly communicated with the team, such as through a RACI matrix.
Another critical accountability component is ensuring employees have the necessary resources to succeed. It could be through software, training, or guidance. This support will encourage ownership and help employees feel more confident in their abilities.
Create a Culture of Recognition
It’s no secret that people want to feel valued at work. That is why employee recognition plays such a critical role in building a great workplace culture.
The key to creating a recognition culture starts with leaders leading by example. They should regularly demonstrate a commitment to appreciating team members and celebrating success while acknowledging learnings from failures.
Peer-to-peer recognition and praise are another key to a strong culture of appreciation. Create a dedicated space for everyone to give each other shoutouts (think an IRL whiteboard or a Slack channel) and encourage managers to share recognition messages with their teams.
Finally, don’t forget to make recognition public. When you publicly recognize team members for exemplifying company values, they’re more likely to reinforce these behaviors in their daily work. It is especially effective when paired with rewards that employees can cash in to feel valued.