Your employees’ experiences at work impacts the success of your business. Employees who feel positive about their employer and their workplace are more engaged, more productive and stay at the company longer.

Employee journey mapping is a way to measure the employee experience at every stage of an employee’s tenure at the company. The employee experience is how the employee feels about workplace interactions and events, such as performance reviews during their employment. By building and analyzing a map of the employee journey, HR teams can identify potential areas for improvement.

What Is an Employee Journey?

The employee journey describes the entire time that an employee spends at your company—from the hiring process to offboarding. It includes all stages and employee experiences, from completing the initial job application to participating in the final exit interview. The employee journey is also sometimes called the employee lifecycle.

employee's journey

Along the journey, there are key moments and memorable experiences that can have a lasting impact on employees’ opinions of their workplace. You can likely remember the excitement of your first day at work—but you may not remember the second or third day. Pinpointing these important moments helps you build a strong foundation for a positive employee experience.

Examining the employee journey from the perspective of both the employee and the employer can provide valuable insights:

Employee perspective:

The early stages of employment can set the tone for the employee experience. Employees may remember that they felt welcome during their first week or that their manager took them to lunch on the first day. They’ll also remember negative experiences—for example, if it took a week to get their laptop or access to their email.

What is one example of a moment that matters within an employee journey?

Some of the most memorable experiences may be major events with long-term career impact, or they may be personal touches like a surprise party at work or the company’s support for a cause that’s important to them. Some noteworthy career touchpoints include the first job interview, first performance review, department changes, team events, promotions and exit interviews.

Employer perspective:

Many of the moments that matter to employees are important to employers, too. For example, if a new employee doesn’t have a positive early experience, they are more likely to leave within the first year. Since memorable moments can significantly influence employee performance and employee engagement, you should identify them and then measure and monitor them closely.

What Is an Employee Experience Journey Map?

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To help improve your employee experience, don’t wait until there are issues. Instead, be proactive with an employee experience journey map. What is employee journey mapping? Employee journey mapping is a way to track the key stages and experiences in the employee journey. Create a chronological chart to visually capture and examine each step of the employee experience. Discuss the different stages and look for strengths and weaknesses of each.

The concept is derived from customer journey mapping, a method that companies use to outline and visualize the customer experience. Marketing and operations teams use this technique to enhance the customer experience.

In the same way, HR teams and business leaders can use employee experience journey mapping to optimize the employee experience. How do you map employee experience? Like with customer experience mapping, HR teams develop personas that represent different segments of the workforce and then focus on optimizing the experience for each persona.

Employee Journey Map

Persona: Sandra Smith, Sales Department

  • Goals to be hired
  • Expect timely communications
  • Warm introduction to the team
  • Sign on to benefits plan
  • Learn company policies
  • Clear and timely role expectations and sales goals
  • Opportunities for training and upskill
  • Identify a mentor
  • Seeking advancement and promotion opportunities
  • Leave on good terms
  • Submit request to Applicant Tracking System
  • No response for weeks
  • Finally spoke with friendly recruiter
  • Benefits overview
  • Role expectations with Direct Manager
  • Lunch with team
  • HR Performance management tool
  • Monthly meetings on sales goals and performance
  • Direct manager recommends sales leadership training to HR
  • HR coordinates external training and finds internal mentor
  • Applies for a promotion
  • Accepts
  • Moves to a new department
  • Provide notice to direct manager
  • Exit interview
  • ATS
  • Recruiting Firm
  • Interviews
  • LinkedIn
  • Team introduction
  • Meet with HR
  • HRIS Benefits
  • Direct Manager
  • HR
  • HRIS system
  • HR
  • Outside training service
  • Mentor
  • Direct Manager
  • HR
  • New department
  • Direct Manager
  • HR
  • HRIS System
  • Frustrated with lack of communication
  • Happy to schedule an interview
  • Friendly team
  • Happy with the warm welcome from the team
  • Not satisfied with the benefits enrollment
  • Initially satisfied but currently disappointed
  • Need to improve communication with candidate
  • Several challenges with benefits enrollment
  • Inconsistent performance reviews and feedback
  • HR to reduce communication lag
  • HR to work with IT on ATS
  • HR to speak with benefits providers to solve enrollment glitches
  • HR to speak with direct manager
  • Implement reminder in Performance Management tool

Free Employee Experience Journey Map Template

Download this free template to start applying the principles of employer experience journey mapping within your organization.(opens in new tab)

Why Is an Employee Experience Journey Map Important?

In a recent poll, more than half of employees(opens in new tab) said that they’re not engaged with their work, and 13% said they’re actively disengaged—which means they’re having miserable work experiences and spreading their unhappiness to their colleagues. A well-designed journey map can help you find areas that need improvement and boost the employee experience. Why is employee experience so important? Because a positive experience can increase engagement and lead to higher retention rates, greater productivity, lower recruiting costs and better customer service.

Your employee journey map can provide a unique way to depict your company’s goals, values, and processes. The best employee experiences bring the company’s values to life and help build a strong culture. A distinctive culture can help a company attract talent that will fit in and thrive within its work environment.

For example, if a company prides itself on automation and technology, then the workplace should use the latest tech for innovative and efficient business processes. This will help employees better relate to customers and strengthen the company’s brand and reputation in the marketplace.

HR and Payroll

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5 Steps to Create an Employee Experience Journey Map

You can map the entire employee experience journey or focus on a specific troublesome section. For example, if high turnover is a problem in the first year, you may want to start by mapping the first few stages of the journey.

Here are five steps to build your employee experience journey map:

  1. Start with research. Conduct employee experience research. You may already have some quantitative workforce data such as turnover rates, tenure statistics and exit interview details, which can provide a starting point. Next, interview employees to gather information on needs, goals, expectations, problems, and perspectives. Talk to employees from across the business, at different organizational levels and with varying levels of tenure.
  2. Develop employee personas. Segment your workforce into employee personas, which are fictional representations of a segment of your workforce. Not all employees have the same experiences or expectations. For example, sales reps will have different needs and goals than IT staff, and an entry level candidate will have different expectations than a VP. Once you’ve identified these segments, develop a concise profile of each persona, and include their goals, expectations, challenges and measures of success.
  3. Identify stages/moments that matter to each persona. Define the various employment stages at your organization and outline desired outcomes for the employee at each stage. Some examples of areas to include are recruiting, hiring, onboarding, compensation and benefits, ongoing engagement, volunteer opportunities, learning and development, performance management, advancement, rewards and leaving the company.
  4. Create a map or storyboard. Visualize the journey from the employees’ point of view. Include the insight you’ve gained from measures like turnover, employee surveys, exit interviews and other discussions about goals and expectations. Outline the company processes and touchpoints for each stage and include any problem areas, such as inefficient onboarding, unhelpful performance review processes or a lack of career progress possibilities. Examine the transitions between stages and look for points in the journey where an employee might feel lost or disengaged.
  5. Take action. Smooth out the bumps in the road along the employee’s journey. For example, are there too many steps to the onboarding process? Are performance reviews timely and frequent enough? Add possible solutions like a formalized onboarding process and training for management on how to conduct effective performance reviews. Other solutions might include offering career development programs or boosting internal communications efforts to keep employees abreast of business decisions and developments to the employee experience journey map.

Measuring the Employee Experience Journey

Ask employees how they feel about the employee experience. Conduct employee engagement surveys or simply send emails to gauge employee sentiments, especially during moments that matter. For example, you may want to check on new staff members after their first few weeks to see how they are feeling about their new position.

As you collect more quantitative data, you can compare how the employee experience correlates with employee experience key performance indicators (KPIs) such as offer acceptance rates, productivity, engagement, absences and turnover. And implement changes based on the data and feedback you receive.

How Software can Improve the Employee Experience

By using human capital management (HCM) software, companies can automate and manage the employee lifecycle to create a more engaging employee experience. For example, one of the benefits of HCM software is that it gives workers quick and easy self-service access to benefits and compensation information, as well as their employee profile. A simple interface helps employees with daily tasks like requesting time off and accessing an employee directory. Employee timelines help your team track details like compensation and training.

HCM software can provide insight for finance teams and managers. For example, is a downturn in sales related to vacant sales positions? And it reduces manual and labor-intensive processes such as creating job requisitions and onboarding processes. Additionally, robust HCM software can connect with other key areas of the business, such as payroll and budgeting processes, which can assist with decisions about hiring and promotions.

HCM software can also help you more easily stay on top of new and leading practices, as well as track KPIs, such as the time it takes to train new employees, productivity, and turnover rates.

Investing time in employee journey mapping can help your company offer an improved employee experience. As the experience improves, employees feel more engaged at work. Processes become more efficient, and employees can become more productive. These efforts can all be boosted with software that supports the employee experience and provides the tools you need to map the employee journey, find pain points and implement the changes to fix them.