Good to Great: Use Development to Ramp Up Your Employee Experience

Much like the customer journey your sales and marketing teams have mapped out for attracting and closing leads, getting your employee journey is essential to your success (if not existence).

And not only because companies with great customer experiences are one-and-a-half times more likely to have engaged employees. They drive more value, too… Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” companies outperformed returns on the S&P 500 by 122 percent over five years.

When 63 percent of employees believe they could find a job as good as the one they’ve got, what will motivate them to stay with your company?

A positive employee experience, no doubt.

Gallup Employee Experience
Source: Gallup’s Perspective On Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience



The good news is, employee development can be an integral part of all of the above. Here’s how HR teams and managers can use it to their advantage at every stage:


Attract

The No. 1 factor that attracts employees is the same one that causes them to leave when it’s lacking: career development opportunities.

Highlighting your commitment to development on your website and job descriptions is one thing. What’s even more valuable? Seeing current and past employees sing your development praises on Glassdoor and other review sites. That level of advocacy only comes from the real deal.  


Hire  

Once you’ve attracted a pool of ideal candidates, how will you help them decide to choose you?

Modern workers value opportunities to learn and advance while doing great work under the guidance of a solid manager.

With the right employee development plan in place, everyone potential peer or manager they meet during the interview process can provide a personal endorsement of how your company’s crushing it with meaningful development.

During interviews, you’ll also be able to give prospects the highlights of your development initiatives—from mentorship programs and leadership development tracks to a resource library that caters to just about every learning inclination.


Onboard

The first impression for #worklife at your company is kind of a big deal, as it can set the tone for their entire employee experience AND confirm whether they made the right decision. To avoid inspiring a bad taste in their mouths:

• Conduct an initial 1:1 to help discuss and set expectations—the company’s AND the employee’s.

• Help your newbie uncover what truly motivates them using a career drivers exercise.

• Deliver a sense of belonging from the get-go with an online employee directory and employee profiles that highlight role, interests, strengths, and commonalities that could spark connection.

• Immerse the new hire into company policies, processes and the like with formal onboarding programs, and courses, as well as access to job-specific training materials.



Engage  

Once employees get past the honeymoon phase, it’s essential that they still feel the love. Especially since only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged. Ramp up engagement for your new(ish) hires with these tactics:

• Facilitate mentorships that matter—whether your employee is the mentor or mentee.

• Ask each employee these three questions, then use their answers to help drive fulfillment and engagement:

    ◦    Do you have meaningful connections at work?

    ◦    Are you growing here?

    ◦    Do you feel like your work is making an impact in ways that matter to you?

• Encourage employees to go outside those cozy comfort zones, whether it’s to take ownership of a short-term project, or simply provide micro-coaching to their peers.

• Focus on team assignments and team-building exercises. A recent ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) study found employees who work mostly in teams are twice as likely to be fully engaged.



Perform

Performance management is crucial for company success—but also how engaged and productive your employee is. Today’s workforce needs to keep tabs on how they’re doing and where their work is going. But they also need plenty of help along the way.

Ensure productive performance conversations with these steps:

• Leverage simple, real-time tools to track and discuss performance as it relates to employee and company goals. Development is often the missing piece that helps employees cross the finish line.

• Equip leaders with the proper training to help motivate employees through feedback and 1:1 sessions.

• Enlist managers to act as workplace coaches, or help them find an appropriate coach for a specific skill or competency if they aren’t the right fit.



Develop

Every employee has a unique career journey. And chances are, they haven’t even mapped it all out yet (or even the first 100 miles).

No matter where an employee is on their journey with your company, ongoing development conversations should be a main topic of discussion. Our research found that 79 percent of employees want career-dev convos with their managers at least once a month or quarter.
• Help employees develop the transferable skills can serve them in their current roles through the rest of their careers, like collaboration, teamwork, and attention to detail.

• Provide access to formal and self-directed development opps for job-specific skills, which will always be in demand (because technology).  

• Offer a mix of growth opportunities tied to their unique career motivators, including stretch assignments, role-playing, short-term projects, and of course, online learning.



Depart

It may seem counterproductive to think about development in the departure stage, but having top employees leave on good terms can have its benefits (mainly a better Glassdoor rating for your company).  

• Support any employee’s desire to start their own business by providing access to self-directed learning opportunities that align with their ambitions.

• Gather feedback on the pros and cons of their experience with your company through an exit survey and face-to-face interview.

• Use tools like Bridge’s Employee Timeline to provide fodder for one final acknowledgement of their contributions.  


Because the “attract” phase can be tricky, be bold enough to ask them if they know any talented people who may be a good fit for your company, and if they are open to coming back later. If you know the lack of development isn’t behind the departure, why not?  

Fortunately, ongoing development is the L&D gift that keeps on giving. For additional insights on enhancing the employee experience, download the e-book: “The Definitive Guide to Employee Development.” Or, discover the all-in-one development platform that can help make it happen here.

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