Employee experience is a hot topic in human resources. And it’s an important one if your company wants to measure and improve its employee journey.

Employee experience is a broad term that refers to employees’ perception of their interactions with the organization, from when they first applied for a job to their departure.

Companies should prioritize the employee experience and recognize its importance to their sustained success. A positive experience can boost engagement, and more engaged employees are more productive and foster more positive customer experiences that build loyalty.

What Is an Employee Experience (EX) Roadmap?

Businesses looking for ways to improve their employee experience should consider creating a roadmap to guide their efforts—a set of steps that encompass all touchpoints between the employee and the organization.

A roadmap can also put companies on a path to continuous improvement, so this isn’t simply a one-time exercise. With the right people, processes and tools, an organization can build an industry-leading employee experience.

How to Define the Employee Experience

The employee experience begins with the recruitment process, follows an employee through his or her career, including raises and promotions, and lasts until the employee leaves the organization. It includes an employee’s formal job responsibilities, compensation and benefits, the organization’s culture and the workplace environment. Employee experience also takes into consideration each employee’s relationships with coworkers, managers and customers. While the employee experience is most directly tied to human resources (HR), all leaders within an organization share responsibility for improving it.

Any evaluation of the employee experience should come from the employee’s perspective, rather than the company’s view. This helps leaders within the organization zero in on areas in which the employee experience is positive and those where it is lacking and in need of improvement.

While employee experience may seem similar to employee engagement, it encompasses a more holistic view of the organization and the employee’s place within it. At the same time, a quality employee experience often strengthens employee engagement.

Why Do You Need An Employee Experience Roadmap?

A compelling employee experience can lead to more engaged employees, which brings myriad benefits. Engaged employees will drive your business forward—a survey from Gallup found engaged employees are 17% more productive and their companies are 21% more profitable. They also earn customer ratings that are 10% higher, among other positive effects.

Despite these benefits, many organizations fall short in finding ways to keep their employees engaged. The same Gallup survey found a striking 85% of the global workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged from their work, and many businesses are trying to change that. They realize this is a key factor in their future success and want to put themselves in a better position.

Elements of an Effective Employee Roadmap

An effective employee experience roadmap involves collaboration not just within HR, but with all managers and senior leadership, as well as employees themselves. Human resources normally takes charge of planning, executing and measuring employee engagement initiatives. But members of the management and leadership teams still play a key role in shaping the interactions between employees and the organization.

6 Stages of the Employee Journey

  • Attract: The roadmap starts with engaged candidates. Several actions can boost this engagement, including thoughtful, intentional company branding on job listing sites and social media, a straightforward application process and clear communication between the organization and job candidates.
  • Hire: A slow, complicated or confusing hiring process could be a turn-off for great candidates. The application should be relatively straightforward, with clear expectations set with anyone the business interviews. Communication is key—make sure you get back to everyone who applies—and consider asking candidates for feedback.
  • Onboard: Once someone accepts the job, onboarding is their first impression of the business. The steps an employee needs to take should be clear and ask all new hires for feedback during and after onboarding. Categorize that feedback by role and lean on it to improve these processes for the next group of new hires.
  • Retain: Once on the job, engaged employees have managers that help them understand their responsibilities and how they contribute to the organization’s values, mission and success. Managers also challenge employees with relevant yet achievable goals and compensate them appropriately. The business should also run regular employee surveys (once a year isn't sufficient), and managers should solicit feedback from their team frequently.
  • Develop: Look for opportunities that will help your staff grow and learn new skills. That could mean requesting their assistance on a key project or asking them where they would like to contribute. Conduct quarterly or biannual reviews to assess performance, discuss career goals, recognize achievements, and give raises, when possible.
  • Exit: When employees leave, it’s a valuable opportunity to gather more information about their time with your organization. They’re likely to be open and honest in an exit interview, and HR should record their feedback and use it to help shape future initiatives. The company can then identify any trends in employee departures.

8 Steps to Creating an Employee Experience Roadmap

The following steps can help you create an employee experience roadmap that improves the employee experience and fosters engagement:

  1. Identify your starting point. Before coming up with goals, you need to understand where you currently stand. Surveys and informal conversations can help you capture employees’ thoughts on their experiences and goals. More quantitative measures like absenteeism and turnover can provide additional insight. This also is the time to assess how closely employees’ goals align with the organization’s mission and identify any obstacles to their goals.
  2. Develop objectives. Using the insights gained from that exercise, determine the goals of a more effective employee experience and how you can measure it. For instance, should it boost productivity or enhance recruiting efforts? Should it increase employee retention and Net Promoter Scores—the likelihood that survey respondents would recommend a company—from your workers? Just as important, consider how these objectives can help the organization move toward its overarching goals.
  3. Establish methods for measuring success. These metrics should help you determine how well you’re progressing toward the objectives you’ve set. If you haven’t already, begin by establishing a baseline of the current employee experience. Watch for changes in areas like the employee turnover rate or the percentage of job offers accepted and other measures of productivity and quality for the current workforce. Seek out benchmarks for similar sized businesses in your industry to see how you compare.
  4. Outline tactics. What steps will you take to improve the employee experience and make progress toward the objectives you’ve identified? For instance, will you provide training that helps managers better coach employees to reach their goals? Does the organization need to change the way it collects feedback after interviews with candidates so it can make offers more quickly?
  5. Leverage technology. Technology like HRMS (human resource management software) or HCM (human capital management) solutions can help everyone in the organization responsible for improving the employee experience efficiently monitor and measure progress (and setbacks). These solutions also offer a central place to view feedback and track key metrics and numbers. For instance, managers might suddenly recognize a trend among unhappy employees and then come up with ways to address it.
  6. Act. Execute the plan outlined here, and make sure you ask for and collect feedback throughout these initiatives.
  7. Communicate with employees. Keeping employees updated on efforts to improve the employee experience, as well as the results, can in itself foster engagement. Employees may feel more fulfilled and optimistic knowing that the organization is backing up its intentions with action.
  8. Assess and improve. Continually evaluate results and then use that feedback to revise and improve your effort. Over time, your business will earn a reputation as a great place to work.

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Measuring the Success of an EX Roadmap

While the employee experience may seem difficult to measure, a number of metrics can help you evaluate it. These include metrics directly related to employee performance, like absenteeism, as well as more indirect measures, like revenue per employee and employee goal achievement rate. Other employee experience metrics to consider monitoring include:

  • Time to fill open positions
  • First year voluntary turnover rate
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Diversity of new hires
  • Average employee tenure
  • Participation rates in employee events
  • Promotions per quarter/year
  • Volume of referrals from existing/past employees
  • Growth of employee groups focused on different backgrounds/interests
  • Employee satisfaction, either through surveys or websites like Glassdoor.com

How to Continually Iterate the Roadmap as Your Business Evolves

Unlike a literal roadmap, an employee experience roadmap doesn’t have a clear endpoint. Instead, it’s an ongoing journey of assessment and improvement.

Typically, the best approach is to start with a small, achievable goal, capture a modest win, build momentum and learn both from the efforts that went over well and those that employees didn’t appreciate as much. From there, set increasingly big goals and implement the changes that will lead to continued and bigger successes, and always keep moving forward.

Free Employee Experience Roadmap Template

You can get started on mapping out employee experience using this free template.

Employee Experience Roadmap Template

Download the Template

An employee experience roadmap can improve your organization’s employee experience, leading to a more engaged and happier workforce. This benefits both workers and your organization, as studies prove happier employees perform at a higher level.

You can boost your efforts to develop and execute your roadmap with software that supports the employee experience. For starters, it can help managers more easily and quickly initiate changes, such as onboarding employees. Solutions also automate many tasks, especially ones related to recordkeeping, freeing up managers’ time for projects that will add greater value to the organization. They also enable employees to easily access information on pay and benefits on their own so they can concentrate on their primary responsibilities. Finally, software can provide real-time analysis and insights that enhance decision-making around building a better employee experience.