In the current climate, it pays to know what your employee’s journey is and how you can improve it to attract quality talent, boost engagement and retention of staff. Read on to discover what I believe are the major forces impacting businesses in every industry right now and how employee journey mapping can help you weather the storm.
No matter what industry you are in, there are multiple forces acting on you right now. It’s almost like a perfect storm battering leaders and managers telling us all to wake up to the workforce climate changes.
I see the biggest forces affecting companies today as:
- Inflation and fears of recession
- Covid-19 Pandemic
- Generational shift
- The Great Resignation
- Culture of fulfilment and self-actualisation
- New work culture/hybrid working
- War for talent
And while a few years back this might have been covered with values or companies talking to their employees about purpose, and offering free fruit baskets and gym memberships – none of these fixes are really getting at the issues or providing real solutions.
Inflation and fear of recession
Whether it comes with a flashy media title like “cost of living crisis”, inflation, stagflation or recession – it’s hard to escape the worries about the economic outlook. However, unlike in previous recessions, unemployment is very low and rather than letting people go companies are actively looking to fill roles and find talent. And this seems to be largely due to the general changes mentioned a bit further on.
So while on both company-side as well as on the employee-side thoughts of stability will play a role, we’re truly living in an employees market at this point.
The pandemic changed everything and most companies have yet to return to “normality.” I doubt “normality” is even possible anymore.
Employees know what the possibilities are and will demand flexibility/hybrid work from current and future employers.
Employees also know the stresses of the new hybrid ways of working and will leave companies that haven’t worked out the kinks yet.
This is certainly the most important driver of change in the workforce right now.
Employers will have to work out how to fill the gap and fulfil the needs of Millenials and incoming Gen Z.
According to studies, Gen Z wants meaning in their jobs. They want to feel that employers share their values and they want fulfilment beyond a paycheck.
“To win the hearts of Generation Z, companies and employers will need to highlight their efforts to be good global citizens. And actions speak louder than words: Companies must demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger.”Deloitte, Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace
This demographic change will continue for several more decades and employers need to have a flexible strategy to cope, a strong employer brand and commitment to creating a fulfilling employee journey.
The Great Resignation
The Great Resignation that started at the beginning of the pandemic is also not over. A staggering one in five plan to quit this year according to a PwC survey.
Working adults not only feel liberated to change jobs, but they will also even change careers.
According to Future Learn, 21% of working adults in the UK (7 million) don’t think they will have a job in the same industry by 2030!
“Culture is accelerating so rapidly that we’re all going to need two, three, four career changes.”Dylan Williams, Chief Strategy Officer at Droga 5
Culture of fulfilment
Money is definitely a factor in job satisfaction. However, studies show that more intangible qualities like job fulfilment and identity are almost as important.
The idea of finding meaning and fulfilment is only growing stronger. John Strelecky’s best seller encouraged people to find their “Big Five for Life” – goals you want to achieve in your life that can help keep you motivated and inspired.
“One of the truly great joys of life is spending our time working on something we believe in, are excited about, and are proud of.“John Strelecky
If you issued an employee survey, how many would agree that what they did every day was something they believed in, were excited about or proud of?
New work culture/hybrid working
The pandemic has caused seismic shifts in our way of working. Employees know remote work is possible and want a working style that suits them. Whether that is purely remote, hybrid or in the office.
Companies need to be flexible in their offering while adapting to the challenges of creating meaningful remote work in this new hybrid environment.
Don’t neglect in-person experiences for your team. According to research conducted by Gartner, “to Gen Z, remote work is about continuing connections built in person while maintaining a flexible schedule.” Have workshops, team-building sessions and off-sites.
Your employees want more “self-actualisation” so you need to build that into your reward and retention plans and even your virtual ways of working.
War for talent
Everyone is struggling to find talent right now.
“It’s rarely second nature for leaders to focus on making jobs fulfilling. Doing so requires deep empathy on the part of managers and the ability to translate the company’s overall purpose into specific actions and behaviours, so that employees can see how their work contributes to that purpose. It also requires organisations to identify and eliminate gaps between their words and deeds.”PwC
The key to winning this war is I believe in employer branding. Having a brand that people want to associate with, resonates with their beliefs and provides fulfilment.
Is it possible to effectively counter all these forces of generational demands, new work, post-pandemic hybrid working, The Great Resignation as well as competing for talent?
Can you have an effective brand and business that people want to work for, stay for and be loyal to?
This is where employee Journey Mapping comes in.
What is employee journey mapping?
Employee journey mapping plots out every interaction an employee has with your company.
From awareness to hiring, onboarding, training, retention and right through to offboarding. In the ideal case scenario, you would want even your past employees to act as positive sources of information, considering themselves as proud alumni rather than disgruntled ex-employees who talk badly about their experience in your firm.
Journey Mapping is one of the classic methodologies in the field of User Experience and Design Thinking and is usually focused on the experience users or customers have with your products or website, in order to make products positive and easy to use.
But in an employee market where companies are really trying to win talent, it makes a lot of sense to also focus on making the employee experience as positive and easy as possible – simply considering that employees are users too, and require attention.
Conducting an employee journey mapping exercise will help you understand the pain points and potential gain points in your employee’s journey. It will fundamentally help you mitigate against all these external forces, and it is an essential starting point to successful Employer Branding. Only once you’re clear about your status quo, does it make sense to look at where to improve and then create a Brand around this improved version of your employee journey
It can help you uncover potential changes to your employer branding to attract talent.
It can help you change your current processes to improve retention
It can help you redesign processes that will support employees and give them meaning.
It can also help with the attraction and retention of talent.
How do you design an employee journey?
I believe the best way to design your employee journey map is through a workshop to discover the whole picture, through input from across the whole company.
Only when you look at the whole picture do you discover positives, problems and new opportunities.
Only when you understand what it is, can you improve.
It is about thinking across silos and from the outside in – because employees are users too
When you come to map out your employee journeys, you’ll need to consider all the different touchpoints as well as business units and processes that are involved.
What are the steps to employee journey mapping?
When I run employee journey mapping sessions I start with an Empathy map and then a memory bank before embarking on the full-blown employee journey mapping.
1. Empathy Mapping
An empathy map is the first stage of the process.
Use an empathy map with your cross-company team to explore innate feelings and thoughts about the employees, and to get a shared understanding.
- What makes them happy?
- What are their concerns and problems?
- Where they get their information from?
- What they say?
- How they behave?
- What do they hear?
- What do they think?
- What do they feel?
2. Memory Bank
This step gets your team to brainstorm everything they can think of related to the employee experience, and in order to gather existing in-house knowledge and data points.
3. Employee Journey Mapping
At this stage, your team will have started thinking deeply about the employee experience and is ready to map it out across specific phases of the employee lifecycle. This provides an overview of your current status quo and clearly identifies the current pain and potential gain points. In a second step, you will then go on to explore opportunities and start thinking about how to improve and optimize this journey.
How many steps are there in the employee journey?
There can be as many as you like, as long the first step you consider is the point of contact and awareness about the company and the final step is the offboarding process.
I recommend the following seven stages for a simple but effective employee journey map:
- First Contact
- Interview process
- Negotiation, contracts & signing
- Learning & development
In an employee journey mapping workshop, I also highly recommend jotting down people’s thoughts about the current pain points. Does it take a long time to get people technically set up? Is there little opportunity to upskill once you’ve started the role? Do you have clear development paths defined and communicated across the company? How transparent are you about those career levels?
You may need to zoom in on a step or sub-step to understand the experience of the employee fully.
Then add in any potential gain points. Would a buddy system improve onboarding? Does the company need an exit interview for leavers? And if you already have one, what do you do with the feedback you’re getting?
4. Discover new possibilities
Once the initial mapping is done, repeat the process, but ask your team to think about what works well and what needs more work.
Use the map to create a dashboard or tracker where each pain point project has an owner with an overall manager responsible for the whole map.
Who needs to be involved in Employee Journey Mapping?
At UX, my dear, we run employee journey mapping sessions with experienced facilitators.
They will guide your team through these four stages using Miro. This allows the process to be run remotely, whilst still retaining physical interactivity and engagement.
A Miro board is also flexible and expandable, so ideas are not physically limited as they would be on a whiteboard. And it means you will continue to have access to your board and your work if you’re using Miro in-house too, so you can continue to work on and optimize your Employee Journey over time.
Your employee journey mapping facilitator would guide the process, help prevent siloed thinking, and encourage creativity and inclusion.
We live in unprecedented times. The world of work has changed drastically and so quickly that many companies are still reeling.
To survive and thrive, companies need to pivot quickly and carefully. Using more empathetic tools and strategies can help them find new opportunities and improve processes that their employees will love.
Using Employee Journey Mapping provides the key baseline needed in order to be strategic about where and how you’re improving the experience your new and current employees have with your company. And it’s a crucial starting point for successful Employer Branding that goes beyond simply saying how great your company is.
I believe that the key to attraction and retention of an engaged workforce lies in improving your processes and ways of working.
With a fully thought-through employee journey map, your company can start plugging the gaps, providing meaning for your employees and creating a robust employer brand that will help create stronger teams, engage employees and help you win the war for talent.
Need help running an employee journey mapping session? Book a free consultation about employee journey mapping and let’s discuss your needs.