The war for talent is unrelenting. The unemployment rate in the largest economies around the world is at record lows. Compensation alone won’t cut it – employers need to offer an employee experience that beats their competitors.
Employees want to work for successful companies. They also want to be seen and heard as individuals, rather than cogs in a machine that go unnoticed and unacknowledged.
Old HR mindsets are crippling companies from the inside out. They use command and control strategies to manage employees – heavy, performance-oriented systems that don’t treat employees like humans.
We don’t treat our customers that way: we support them from day one. A recent valuable tool has been customer journey mapping, which tells the story of a customer's relationship with a company from initial engagement to long-term loyalty. We want to know what barriers are keeping them from having the best customer experience.
We need to give our employees the same opportunity as customers – to map out their daily routine and see where improvements can be made.
Employee surveys are dead
Many companies continue to rely on mass distributed surveys to uncover employee barriers. These surveys, however, are limited.
Traditional employee surveys and exit interviews produce a list of problems within the company. What these tactics do not provide are the causes behind these internal conflicts. But that’s precisely what we need to fix the problem and help employees achieve a better work experience.
Choosing the right tool for the job: Employee journey mapping
When an employee tracks their daily routine, employers can learn what affects their experience. The process offers a visual representation of an employee’s daily activities, plotting them on a scale from positive to negative and productive to non-productive.
Employers see great value in observing how the scales fluctuate as employees work on different tasks, to better understand the roadblocks to productive work and the stressors associated with them. And by identifying patterns across journey maps of all employees, we can identify the major barriers within the organization.
Often, leadership is under the impression that they have one type of problem, but the journey map reveals a different gap. No more guessing – journey mapping gets to the root of the issue.
For example, implementation of new software is unavoidable as technology changes and improves. But it’s one of the top stressors for employees. Employee journey maps may reveal that employees are gaining little from the training resources provided with the new software, or that the new software is crashing often, disrupting their flow and leaving them frustrated.
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In contrast, a survey might at best indicate that employees attribute a low score to their learning and development needs being met. Without journey mapping, you simply do not know what part of the training is causing the problem, and you risk wasting precious resources guessing at how to solve it.
Once leadership understands the ground-level blockers, they can design programming and implement fixes to address the problems.
Employees benefit too.
By acknowledging their daily setbacks and working out solutions with their best interests in mind, your employees feel valued. A bonus? By recording and reflecting on their daily tasks, they develop mindfulness around the way they work and better enhance their productivity and performance.
By solving the problem right on the first try, employers save money, earn employee trust and keep their talent.
Dr. Aaron Barth is the founder and president of Dialectic, a company that aims to improve how people work, learn and collaborate using scientific research and person-centred design.