In recent years several well-known companies including GE and Airbnb have appointed Chief Employee Experience Officers or Heads of Employee Experience. While some of these are a rebranding of traditional HR roles, they also indicate the rise in interest in the concept of the ‘employee experience’.
Compared to more traditional HR, employee experience takes a far more holistic view of how employees experience their working day and their overall time spent at a company. An employee’s experience of work can include:
- physical workspace and working conditions
- the digital workplace with systems and tools and other touchpoints
- work-life balance
- pay and benefits
- personal development opportunities and learning
- organisational culture, brand and purpose
- line manager and immediate colleagues
- much, much more!
In the same way that companies focus on the overall experience of customers, organisations focusing on employee experience hope to improve talent retention, attract new employees, and even drive efficiency and improve productivity.
Surveys suggest that while improving employee experience is a priority for many organisations, there is still a long way to go to make it happen. According to Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends survey, 80% of executives rate employee experience as important or very important, but 59% feel they are either not ready or somewhat ready to address the associated challenges.
How do intranets contribute to the employee experience?
While there are many ingredients and factors which influence the employee experience, intranets can play a part in supporting a positive working day. Here are eight ways in which intranets contribute to employee experience.
Communicating purpose and values
Surveys from LinkedIn and others have shown that company “purpose” – a sense that the work employees carry out matters and makes a difference in the world beyond commercial factors – is regarded as important by many employees. Intranets support messaging from senior leaders which can communicate a sense of purpose to staff as well as related values. News updates can also provide proof that the company really is doing what it believes in and living its own values.
Supporting learning and development
The ability to learn and develop benefits both individual employees and the companies they work for. Many organisations now base their learning and development programmes on the 70-20-10 model where training is derived from on-the-job experience (70%), interaction with others (20%) and formal courses and education (10%).
Intranets help with ‘interaction’ by providing a space for teams and communities to collaborate and communicate. Intranets also help with formal learning, for example allowing employees to view courses and related material, as well as book themselves onto a course. (At Wizdom, we’re particularly proud of our Course & Event Management module.)
Facilitating connection and community
A core strength of intranets is to connect employees with each other, usually via the employee directory and other social tools. It’s possible for an employee to get know their colleagues a little better, even if they are located on the other side of the world!
Intranets also support specific communities – not only those that are work-related – but also social communities such as sports, hobbies and other interests. Working closely with your colleagues, getting to know new people and feeling a greater sense of community, all contribute to a positive employee experience.
Supporting flexible working patterns
A key part of a valued employee experience is the ability to balance life inside and outside work. This can be particularly key for families with younger children or those caring for elderly parents where the ability to work from home or flexible hours can make all the difference. Intranets support remote working by providing access to essential information and to collaboration tools often from multiple devices, so employees can work seamlessly from wherever they want and whenever they want.
Experiencing the digital workplace
There’s nothing more frustrating than an inefficient, slow and outdated digital workplace. Employees spend so much time using technology at work, a poor user experience can really impact the working day.
A high-quality intranet like Wizdom acts as a gateway to the wider digital workplace, either by integrating with or linking to a wide range of digital tools that help employees get things done and carry out their role. A good intranet helps employees to effortlessly experience the digital workplace, removing frustration and increasing productivity.
Helping employees find things more easily
A good intranet also saves employees time by helping them find the things they need. Research has suggested that employees can waste a significant number of hours per week just on searching for information and documents. Not only is this highly inefficient it’s also very annoying! A good intranet helps users find what they need through search, information architecture and other approaches.
Helping new employees
Research has shown that the first 90 days of an employee’s experience of work are critical in shaping an employees’ relationship with their company. Intranets can play a significant role in new employee onboarding by providing easily-digestible information about the company, connecting new hires to colleagues, providing tasks and checklists of what needs to be done, providing access to learning and just helping a new starter feel welcome! If on your first day you get a friendly video from the CEO, join a community where everybody says hello and have a clear list of everything you need to do by the end of the week, then you’re off to a good start.
Giving employees a voice
Intranets give employees a ‘voice’ in several different ways – they can comment on news and blogs, express opinions via polls, post discussions within specific communities and even create their own content. When employees have an effective voice, everybody wins. Employees feel more engaged and taken more seriously, a significant factor in helping to drive a strong employee experience. Senior leaders and managers get important feedback about how employees are feeling and receive valuable input into ideas and initiatives.
What can intranet teams do to support the employee experience?
Is your intranet helping to support the employee experience in your organisation? Here are seven tips for intranet teams.
1. Lead the conversation
If nobody’s talking about employee experience in your organisation it’s time to start the conversation. Intranet teams are well-networked and digitally-savvy. They can play a role in getting the topic on the agenda by speaking to the right stakeholders and leading the debate.
2. Get a consensus on employee experience
It helps enormously to have a consensus among key stakeholders about what “employee experience” is and what to do about it. If you’re leading the debate, consider getting a group together and leading a workshop on the topic to define what needs to be done next.
3. Work with HR
Are you working with your colleagues in HR to advance the employee experience? If not go and speak to them to work out ways you can use the intranet to support their employee experience agenda.
4. Work out the gaps
Use this article as a starting point to work out a checklist of potential ways your intranet can help to support the employee experience. Are there additional things you could (and should) be doing? Identify some of the gaps.
5. Conduct user research
Are there additional ways you can improve the employee experience you haven’t thought about? Get feedback from your users, find out about their pain points, conduct a survey or observe what they are doing. This will give you some excellent material to help you work out how to improve your intranet to drive a better employee experience.
6. Make any necessary improvements
Make any necessary improvements to your intranet to plug identified gaps, meet employee needs or satisfy stakeholders. There will almost certainly be some quick wins to be had which are relatively straightforward.
7. Don’t stop there
Improving employee experience is a journey. Keep on going!
It’s all about the experience
Employee experience is a powerful concept which helps both employees and organisations. Making the necessary improvements really is worth the effort. Intranets play their part in everything from communications to providing learning opportunities to helping employees complete tasks. Intranet teams can really make a contribution and even lead the conversation. Good luck on your employee experience journey!
The original article was published here.