Written with love by our friends at BambooHR:
Experience matters. It’s why most people would pick a five-star hotel over a hostel. It’s why people choose to be with people who treat them well. And considering that 90 percent of recruiters say the current market is candidate-driven (up from 54 percent in 2011), being able to create an employee experience that attracts candidates and retains employees is becoming increasingly important.
Great experiences are created when employers carefully consider the needs of employees and candidates throughout all stages of the employee’s lifecycle: pre-hire, employment, and post-employment. Let’s walk through tips and strategies for each of these important stages:
Employees likely hear about your organization long before they work for you. That’s why it’s important to consider employee experience at every touchpoint – even before your employee actually works for you or is considering applying for a position with your organization. This is often referred to as candidate experience.
Candidates can (and do) look and ask around about organizations before applying. And what they find out often influences their application decisions: 84 percent would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation.
To influence employer brand, organizations can manage their online employer reputation – particularly reviews on Glassdoor. Being involved in the community also helps employers build a positive and recognizable brand. But most importantly, employers should act responsibly. Essentially, if you want a positive reputation, provide a positive experience.
Recruiters are often the first human interaction candidates have with an organization. And because of that, their interactions with candidates have lasting impressions and kick off the experience (for good or bad). So, a recruiter who is accountable to agreed timelines and attentive will likely set a good trajectory, while a difficult recruiter will likely derail your efforts.
The application process—which is often managed by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – is also very influential in candidate experience. A complicated ATS can drive applicant drop-out rates up by 48 percent, the main complications being an unnecessary length of time to complete their application, inability to save the application and finish later, and lack of indication that the application will actually be read.
It’s important that all your future employees have great candidate experiences and first impressions of your organization. To help them have a great experience (and want to begin their experience in the first place), pay close attention to your organization’s employer brand and recruiting practices.
Onboarding helps set employees up for success. Many organizations wait until day one to begin onboarding, but starting before the first day actually helps reduce no-shows and reassures new hires that they chose a great employer. Software tools can help you collect personal information and get paperwork signed beforehand, so organizations can do more strategic onboarding when the employee comes into the office.
Extending onboarding beyond the first day with frequent check-ins throughout the first year can also help managers and HR gauge (and adjust, if needed) the experience new employees are having. Plus, employees who experience a structured onboarding are 69 percent more likely to remain at their organizations for up to three years.
After the dust settles and new employees become regular old employees, organizations must continually pay attention to whether or not those employees are still having a good experience. Creating a feedback loop is a great way for organizations to manage performance, but it’s also a great way to discover if anyone is having a poor experience. For instance, an employee may feel he doesn’t have the tools to adequately do his job. That can be a pretty simple fix and make a world of difference in employee experience.
Employees also have a better experience if their organizations are willing to provide opportunities for continual growth – after all, the number one reason employees leave their companies is due to lack of advancement. Helping employees reach career goals and giving them training helps them stay fulfilled (and stay with your organization).
Most employees will end their experience with your organization at some point. And whether it’s voluntary or involuntary, making that experience as positive as possible is vital to your company’s employer branding (it all comes full-circle). Exit interviews provide a great opportunity to leave on a good note. It’s an opportunity to thank the employee for their contributions to the organization and express excitement and encouragement for his or her next opportunity. For employees who leave voluntarily, acts of goodwill – like letters of reference, LinkedIn recommendations, or farewell parties – can help remind employees about (and continue) their positive experience.
When a fantastic employee leaves your company, it doesn’t mean their experience should be over. Boomerang employees (the ones who leave, but end up coming back) are more common than you might think. That’s why it’s so vital to end on a good note and keep in touch. A simple “How’s it going?” email once per year or so is enough. That way, if they decide they’d like to come back or you decide to reach out to them about a position in the future, you will still have a relationship with each other and you can pick up the employee experience right where you left off. Other opportunities lie in company-managed alumni organizations that offer more formal communications, events and meet-ups for employees as a way to build ongoing connections across members and to keep your company top of mind for referrals.
It’s easy to think that employee experience only matters when someone is actually working for your organization. But whether they’re still considering applying, currently working for the organization, or recently said goodbye, HR can make a huge impact on employee experience – which, in turn, impacts everything from engagement to retention to your employer brand. Take a look at what candidates, employees, and former employees are experiencing at your company, and see if you can make some improvements.
Written with love by our friends at BambooHR:
Kelsie Davis is a brand journalist for BambooHR, the leading HR software solution for small and medium businesses. Her mission is to help HR create more strategic and impactful initiatives. She does this by researching, analyzing, and writing about all things HR – particularly topics helping HR professionals engage, attract, and maintain employees.
Because of their unique ability to influence the most fragile and important asset a company has – it’s employees – Kelsie believes HR professionals can help companies succeed. But in order to do that, someone has to help them navigate and select the highest-impact activities for their departments and organizations.
Kelsie studied Communication Studies and Journalism at Utah State University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude before pursuing a career in marketing. Kelsie writes frequently for BambooHR’s blog and has written for HR publications such as Talent Culture, TLNT, and About.com.
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