The employee experience is what makes or breaks retention. Simply put, if employees enjoy their work, they will stay.
However, this is no easy feat. The best way to improve the employee experience is by giving them a personalized experience. Employees don’t want to feel like just a number in the books. They want to feel special and have an employer who knows how they prefer to be treated.
Take a look at how wellness programs are used. The Whispers From the Water Cooler survey by Welltok and National Business Group on Health found that 37 percent of the 1,000 employees surveyed did not find health programs personally relevant and 20 percent didn't know they were available, a strong indication that greater personalization and awareness is needed to drive employee engagement.
Personalization goes beyond just wellness programs and coffee perks — it needs to be applied to the entire employee experience. Here’s how employers should make the change:
1. Create a talent mobility program.
Motivate the staff by investing in their professional growth. The 2014 Global Workforce Study by Towers Watson found that career advancement opportunities are among the top driving forces for employees, according to more than 32,000 respondents.
A talent mobility program empowers employees with clear, documented processes that will guide them to advance within the company. When employees are given a chance to learn and grow, they are motivated to stay.
Promote the talent mobility program to boost interest and encourage enrollment. Then start catering training and development to each person’s unique interests, talents and personal goals.
Customized action plans are impactful and far more efficient that one-size-fits-all training. A one-size program may bore employees who want to learn a different skill, or the teaching style might leave some behind. It’s best to identify each person’s style of learning so they can be taught in the most effective method. Try to connect each employee to the path they want and invest in educating them to expand their skill sets in a way that works toward not only personal goals, but also a stronger organization, collectively.
2. Start recognizing employees.
People want to know how they are doing in their work. A recognition process helps streamline communication, adds structure, and defines impactful recognition practices.
It should be fair and equal for each person, and systematic in giving out rewards and incentives to those who earn it. Display information about it and get people excited by offering diverse rewards. Make use of technology and create a digital space for everyone to socialize and engage on. This will keep everyone in the loop, and it gives management a social space to announce updates and celebrate employees who succeed.
Publicly celebrating everyone when they earn it is important to adding a positive element to the company culture. Everyone responds to recognition differently, so it’s important to find out what motivates everybody. Ask for feedback and adjust the rewards to improve the results.
3. Perform regular evaluations.
Don’t wait a full year to check in with people. Sit down one on one with employees on a frequent basis to gauge how they are doing and to offer help if they seem to be underperforming and struggling with their workload.
When supervisors do this, employees feel noticed and are motivated because they see the impact they can have on operations. Provide them with impactful performance data so they can visualize where they are succeeding and where they should be making improvements.
Train managers to give constructive feedback so employees can get personalized direction on their performance. Help them define an action plan, and check back in with them regularly to make adjustments until they find what works for them.
4. Foster strong relationships.
Not everything has to be addressed through strict processes and stuffy meetings. Prioritize getting to know the staff on a personal level. The 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 58 percent of the 600 employees surveyed say their relationship with their immediate supervisor is “very important.”
Prioritize building stronger relationships and connecting with employees as people. Host fun get-togethers outside the office and talk about hobbies and personal life details in an appropriate way.
Employees are more than just an asset — ask about their kids, go to their band’s shows, read their blogs and start a book club. The culture needs a human element, and fostering close relationships with everyone is the key to building that kind of culture.