If your employees aren’t on a journey, you’re doing something wrong

An introduction to the employee journey

Google has on-site gyms and masseurs while Facebook provides its employees with on-site health care, free food and laundry services.

Cool, yes, but also hard-headed. Because these companies understand that their business success begins with how well they care for their most valuable asset: their people. And if their people want gyms and masseurs, gyms and masseurs they shall get.

(Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash)

So, build a gym and watch your business boom? No. The truth is that the gyms, masseurs, ping pong tables, skateboards and the rest are just the middle section of a longer story. A journey. The journey an employee takes into, through and out of your organisation – and the experience they undergo as they do it. A journey that begins with attracting the right talent to deliver your goals, enthusing them so they create more value and culminates in ensuring that after they leave, they continue to be an ambassador for your brand.

Thinking about your employee journey pays back in spades – higher profits, lower employee turnover, fewer absences, more recruiting power – and over the next series of blogs, I want to help you reach what I call the happy employees = happy customers = more business value paradigm. 

The employee journey in a nutshell

So, what is the employee journey? In a nutshell, it is a tool to identify the key contact moments – the touchpoints – of your current, potential and former employees with your organisation. Identifying these gives you an immediate idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the employee experience you are creating, consciously or subconsciously, and the fit between your organisation’s goals and those of your employees. The alignment. You can also use the touchpoints to acquire continuous feedback and make targeted interventions that will improve the employee experience on the basis that happy employees create happy customers which delivers more business value.

Three stages, six touchpoints

There are six touchpoints divided over three stages. The first stage, looking around and applying, AKA the candidate journey, covers employer-brand awareness and pre-boarding. Examples include employer brand ads and before-you-start information. The second stage is working at the organisation. This covers onboarding (the first 100 days), cross-boarding (intra-company moves) and re-boarding (embedding a new strategy, values, etc). The final stage is exit and the touchpoints here are leave-taking (how you handle someone’s departure) and alumni activities. Evaluating and improving each touchpoint will help you optimise your employee journey and the experience people have with you.

Getting started

Before you start though, there’s one other thing to consider, what I call the fundamentals or building blocks. These underpin the creation of a strong employee journey and can be worked on (if they are missing) at the same time as the journey itself:

  1. A clear talent vision: knowing what talent you need and your organisation’s role in maximising it.
  2. An easy-to-deal-with HR organisation: modern systems, clear KPIs, metrics, etc.
  3. An appropriate salary and employment terms: salary and employment terms are still the key factor in an employee choosing an employer, so it’s essential for the organisation’s promise to be reflected in the salary and employment terms and for these employment terms personalise employment terms.
  4. A supportive workplace: IT, systems, structures and processes that work as they should.
  5. An internal communications infrastructure: a digital platform for employees to share and engage.
  6. Leadership vision: helping talent realise its full potential and achieving mutual organisational and individual ambitions.
  7. Have a clear vision on behavioural change: in order to motivate employees and get them to do the right things, you need to steer their mindset and behaviour in the right direction.

And lastly, the one thing that you actually must have: the absolute support of senior management. Because without it you’re dead in the water.

Next time: how employer branding can help you hook the people you need.  

Sascha Becker

As head of strategy at communications agency PROOF | internal & employer branding, Sascha Becker has inspired leading brands in both the Netherlands and internationally to turn the entire employee journey into a successful and structured employee experience. Sascha’s personal mission is to help shape the future of work and create a better, healthier future for everyone.