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  • Oleksandra Vlasiuk

Ultimate Guide on Crafting Employee Experience Strategy

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 FAQs


Long-term retained employees who are eager to develop, reluctant to leave, and consistently perform at their best. This isn't just a utopian vision; it's the reality that a well-crafted employee experience strategy can create.


My name is Oleksandra, and as a Dedicated People Partner at SD Solutions, I've seen firsthand how transformative an employee experience strategy can be. In this ultimate guide, we'll delve into what employee experience truly means and why implementing an effective employee experience strategy is crucial for organizational success. 


What does Employee Experience mean?


Our human resources team defines employee experience as everything shaping the way an employee feels and performs at work. It's about creating an environment where professionals can do their best, feel good about what they do, and contribute meaningfully. 

Further, to answer the question, “What is employee experience, and why does it matter?” I will highlight the main components of the concept.


Firstly, let’s understand it as a comprehensive path that an employee goes through, starting with the pre-employment operations finishing with the exit interview, or even afterwards, having an Employee Alumni communication.


Secondly, it includes practical aspects like providing necessary workplace equipment and tools and offering mental support through regular check-ins, training, workshops, etc.  

Whether you have 5 people on your team or 505, each of your employees will go through this path. The only question is whether they and you will be satisfied with the outcome of this journey.


Assessing Current Employee Satisfaction step by step


Before making any changes, it's essential to assess the current situation. Employee experience exists even if you haven't previously thought about it. So, how can you evaluate the quality of employee experience at each stage? We have developed a scheme whereby we always know what is going on with an employee, even when they are in the pre-employment stages of recruitment.


employee journey. Pre-onboarding Onboarding  Probation Closure  Performance Review  Satisfaction Survey  GALAP-12 Survey  Work Milestones  Exit Interview

Pre-onboarding.You might think that all the processes are initiated only when a person starts working, but it actually begins at the stage of the interview with the recruiter. It is the first impression a person has of a company, so it would be reckless not to include it in an employee experience strategy. Our work as HR managers begins with Pre-onboarding and ends with the final stage of exit interview discussions. 


Once a candidate receives an offer, they join the company, and the HR team launches a pre-onboarding process—direct communication between the People Partner and the newcomer employee. This includes preparing the documents, creating corporate accounts for the employee, and setting all the arrangements before the employee starts working.


Employees are kept in the loop every step of the way. People Partner ensures that new team members are up to speed with updates and regularly checks in to measure employee satisfaction with the process.


So, how to measure the success of the employee experience strategy at this stage? Start by defining key metrics that will be assessed. How long does the entire interaction with the employee take, from the offer to onboarding? This timeline should be tracked and recorded for each new hire to identify any delays. How clear is the pre-onboarding process for candidates? The number of clarifying questions from new team members is the key measurement here.


Onboarding. Full integration of an employee starts with the first working day. Our team prepares a welcome book that is sent to new team members at the beginning of the onboarding process. It contains the most important information about the company. The employee can find there:

  • The contact details of their People Partner and other organizational structures.

  • Company Policies: including but not limited to Code of Conduct, Anti Harassment Policies, etc.

  • Benefits information.

  • Details about the office and equipment.

  • Payroll details: rules for the country or the chosen type of employment.

  • Links to our social networks and referral program.


The onboarding period often coincides with the probation period time. That is why the final onboarding call is scheduled at the end of the trial period.


Probation Closure. If the hiring was executed accurately, all HR protocols were followed, and the period transpired without major issues, the closure of the probationary period is typically viewed as a routine check-up. 


This meeting evaluates the results of cooperation with the new team members during the probation period. At the client's request, we can also create an online form with a questionnaire for the employee asking what went well, what needs improvement, what challenges have already been met, and what is yet to come. 


We recommend gathering employee feedback on the work for the past 3 or 6 months (depending on the project), and analyze responses to see whether a person and the team are both satisfied and are willing to continue working together.  

Read more about the happy probation period here


Performance Review. Performance reviews, depending on the project and client requirements, can occur immediately after the probationary period, after six months, or after a year. These reviews are designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of an employee’s performance and to identify areas for improvement and growth. Here’s what typically happens during a performance review:


  • Self-Evaluation: Employees are asked to assess their own performance. This involves reflecting on their achievements, challenges, and areas where they feel they could improve. We encourage employees to take ownership of their performance and development.

  • Manager Evaluation: Team Leads evaluate employees' performance based on specific criteria relevant to their role. This includes assessing the employees' ability to meet KPIs, their work quality, and their contribution to the team.

  • Team Evaluation: In some cases, employees are also asked to evaluate their teammates. This provides a broader perspective on team dynamics and highlights areas for collective improvement.


The review includes a mix of open-ended and closed questions. Open-ended questions allow for detailed feedback and insights, while closed questions provide clear, quantifiable data.

Performance reviews help employees set clear goals for the future and create personalized development plans. They also encourage open communication between them and managers, enhancing overall employee engagement.


Satisfaction Survey. We also conduct optional Employee Satisfaction Surveys on request. These surveys are a key part of our employee experience framework and help us understand if they are satisfied with various aspects of their work. Satisfaction surveys are beneficial because:

  • Employees might find it easier to express their true feelings anonymously. This can lead to more honest and insightful feedback.

  • The employee surveys can be tailored to address specific areas of concern, such as work-life balance, management practices, and work environment.

  • The results provide actionable insights that can be used to address any issues promptly.


Gallup's Q12 Employee Engagement Survey

What is Gallup Q12 Survey

Employees respond to the statements based on their level of agreement. We use the results to identify strengths and areas for improvement within the organization and the team. By regularly conducting Gallup's Q12 survey, we track changes in employee engagement over time and make data-driven decisions to enhance the employee experience.


Work Milestones. The initial significant milestone is the first year anniversary of employment with the company. We assess the progress, the employee's professional growth, satisfaction, and issues with certain tasks. This is a very important stage because after a year, a person already fully understands whether they want to continue working. Therefore, such meetings are held every year after this anniversary. 


Evaluate all the stages of the employee journey separately and how a person goes through them. This not only helps managers stay on track but also allows them to control any situations that may arise and resolve them quickly. 


HR Tip! As an additional form of employee support, we create a Personal Development Plan at the request of the client. It reflects short- and long-term goals and measures their success


Exit Interview. When someone leaves, it doesn't mean you'll never see them again. That's why conducting exit interviews is crucial. It's essential to ensure a positive exit experience, even if there are any hard feelings involved. It doesn't matter if the person has been with the company for six months or five years—both the employee and the company want to understand the reasons for resignation if it is a voluntary leave.  


There are also cases when an employee leaves the company after the probationary period, either on their own accord or by the team's decision. In any case, we understand that this is a stressful moment for both parties, so we always conduct a detailed analysis of the reasons why this happened, such as whether the roles were defined correctly, what expectations did not match reality, etc. 


Many companies overlook the significance of employee experience for employer branding, but every internal interaction influences the company's reputation. After engaging with the company, the former employee may share their experience on platforms like Glassdoor or Indeed. Reviews might kill the employer brand, so feel obliged to build your employee experience strategy and include exit interviews as an essential part of it.


Three Pillars of a Perfect Employee Journey 

Crafting a comprehensive employee experience strategy involves focusing on three main pillars: employee well-being, workplace environment, and a culture of recognition. These pillars are essential for creating a positive and productive workplace where employees feel valued and motivated.

Round diagram

Focusing on Employee Well-being

Employee well-being is the cornerstone of a thriving workplace. It includes physical, mental, and emotional health, ensuring that employees are in the best position to perform their duties effectively. 


And it's not just fiction; a meta-analysis conducted by the Center for Economic Policy Research observed 1,882,131 employees and the performance of 82,248 business units, and found that satisfied employees exhibit a 25% reduction in turnover rates. (CEPR)​.

Here are some strategies to enhance employee well-being:


Work-Life Balance

From our experience, offering flexible working hours, providing an opportunity for remote or hybrid work options, and encouraging employees to take regular vacations promote a healthy work-life balance. We remind everybody to take a proper vacation. Work without vacation = the death of a productive workflow. 


Mental Support

Regular check-ins, mental health days, and creating team moments that matter are crucial for maintaining a supportive work environment. All People Partners are open to communication 24/7 with their assigned employees. If it is difficult for someone to pass the information in questionnaires or during meetings, they can write emails or call. We react as soon as possible to those requests and handle them accordingly to our internal policies. 


It is often overlooked that keeping everyone informed of any changes minimizes sudden stress. Nevertheless, it is part of well-being. We had a case when we organized an online meeting with the legal department to fully explain the new labor laws. It may sound like, “What does well-being have to do with it?” In fact, people want to be informed about their rights if there are significant changes—and we take this into account.


It doesn’t necessarily involve only labor laws. For example, if there are new taxation rules, People Partner Team communicates with the Finance department to give additional info. Such clarifications do not always require a meeting; they can be a written appeal, an announcement, or a post to our knowledge base in the HRM system for all employees. 


That's why HRs need to be aware of the tools currently used on the market, even for organizing team-building events, which are an integral part of well-being. I mean, you always have to be aware of what events are being organized and, most importantly, how they are being organized. 

We live in a reality where everything is changing, and what was popular yesterday may not be a thing tomorrow. 


The step-by-step approach for both strategies: 

  1. Lead either a questionnaire or a regular call where the HR manager asks about all the employee's needs.

  2. Document it as a task on the whiteboard or in notes in the HRM system.

  3. See what is needed to fulfill the request: creating an announcement in HRM for employees, communicating with other departments, or writing new policies.

  4. Track when the request has been processed and whether there are any requests left to be addressed.

  5. Close the request and proceed to the next sync with a colleague to talk over the results.


Enhancing Workplace Environment

The physical and virtual work environments play a significant role in employee satisfaction. A well-designed workplace fosters productivity and creativity. 


Here’s how we improve the workplace environment:


Create spaces that encourage collaboration and communication, such as breakout areas and virtual collaboration tools. All our offices have Open spaces and individual meeting rooms, which have a dedicated booking policy. We are also always supportive of bringing employees together during lunch in a common area in the office. It contributes to a positive experience and increases the chances that you, as an employer, will be recommended to others. 


Provide employees with up-to-date technology and tools that help them perform their tasks efficiently. This includes reliable hardware, software, access to necessary resources, and subscriptions to needed services and tools. Of course, hardware is handled by our IT department, but HR processes requests and, if necessary, passes them on to other structures in the company.


How can policies be adapted to make a person feel comfortable at work? 

HRs also work for business success, not just for employees. Therefore, all the policies we make, all the documents we send to an employee, and even the NDA must take into account the interests of both parties. When we created the code of conduct, we relied on our company's fundamental principles, and it proved to be a successful decision. 


Building a Culture of Recognition

Yes, recognition is a powerful motivator. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to stay engaged and committed to their work.


Work Anniversaries. Celebrating work anniversaries is an excellent way to show appreciation for employees' loyalty and contributions over time. Trust our experience, even if it's a personalized written greeting text sent to everyone by email, it's valuable. Recognizing these milestones reinforces the value of long term commitment. 


Regular Feedback. Implement a system for regular feedback where achievements are acknowledged promptly. This can be through verbal praise, written acknowledgments, or public recognition in meetings. Regular feedback ensures that employees know their contributions are valued and helps reinforce positive behaviors.


Performance Praising. Praising employees for their performance is a simple yet effective way to boost morale. This can be done through:

  • One-on-One Meetings: Personal recognition during one-on-one meetings can have a significant impact. We encourage team leads to do this during monthly and quarterly calls to keep the team spirit in high gear.

  • Team Meetings: Public credit during team meetings emphasizes individual achievements and encourages a supportive team culture. Believe me, spotlighting wins during all-hands sessions or in-house team meetings is extremely empowering.

  • Internal Communications: Highlighting top performers in newsletters can inspire others and foster a competitive spirit.


Role of Dedicated People Partner in Employee Experience


At SD Solutions, HRs are employee experience managers who cover everything. HR is a multifunctional role in our company, you don't do one thing in particular, such as conducting a performance review or being responsible for one-to-one meetings that take place in the first weeks when you get a position. People partners cooperate with many departments regarding individual and team requests, wrapping everything together. We act as a bridge between the employees and the organization, ensuring that employees' needs and concerns are addressed promptly.


The Link Between Employee Engagement and Employee Experience


Employee engagement and employee experience are closely intertwined. It is our responsibility to build an experience as the level of engagement, and the result we get depend on it. A positive employee experience naturally leads to higher engagement levels, which in turn boosts productivity and job satisfaction. Here’s why:

  • Engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond in their roles, contributing to the company's success.

  • A positive experience reduces turnover rates, saving the company time and resources spent on recruiting and training new employees.


FAQs 

How can employee experience strategies be customized for diverse workplaces?

We adjust and improve the employee experience strategies based on cultural differences, varying work styles, and specific job roles. Sometimes techniques that work well for Ukraine may not work for Poland. The same applies to remote and hybrid work modes. 

How frequently should a company update its employee experience strategy?

How does employee experience influence retention and turnover rates?

Can improvements in employee experience reduce workplace conflicts?


Author: Oleksandra Vlasiuk

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