One common mistake made by organizations is assuming that employer branding is a process external to the organization itself and mainly intended to recruit new talent and stand out in a competitive marketplace. In fact, the employee experience is one of the most significant elements of employer branding, and this is a fully internal process that is then expressed externally. Such expressions usually take the form of opinions voiced by current employees on social media, as well as on dedicated sites like Glassdoor, without the organization’s involvement or supervision. So, before investing in bombastic campaigns, we instead need to invest in the right employee experience, which will also boost corporate image.
The Employee Experience in Today’s Job Market
Poking fun at the lengths companies go to in order to attract talent, Israel’s satirical comedy show Eretz Nehederet coined the phrase, “24 varieties of ice cream and a brand new Tesla for every employee.” However, this joke might not be far from reality. The hi-tech world has always been known for buttering up its employees with endless perks, if only to keep them sitting at their open-plan desks almost around the clock. These include desserts and beers in the fridges, snacks and munchies freely dispensed throughout the day, and the list goes on. In order to tempt workers to spend a few more hours in the office, companies are now laying on gourmet dinners, with some larger corporations even running summer camps for the workers’ kids so that Mom and Dad can focus completely on the job.
Of course, all those yummy snacks and long hours at the computer take their toll. This has led to companies offering Pilates and yoga classes to help stretch sore muscles, with more advanced businesses even building the own in-house gym. The bottom line is that all of these perks are designed to blur the line between home and work life, enabling employees to have a “home” experience even when they are spending most of the day at the office.
Our lives have now changed fundamentally, so that the idea of spending 5 days a week in the office, working 10 hours a day, already seems like ancient history. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, offices have become ghost towns, with employees now choosing to work for companies that offer greater flexibility in working from home… Or from anywhere else they might want to be.
How can you create a meaningful employee experience without a physical space to mold content and experiences?
It may come as no surprise that the employee experience is about much more than gimmicks like the ping-pong and pool tables that made us “oooh” and “ahhh” the first time we saw them at the Google offices. Similarly, the path to a positive employee experience is about a few elements that are much simpler than designing your office space.
Here are some practical tips for creating a meaningful work experience:
1. Bring Value
After determining the values of your employer branding strategy, look at how those values can guide you. For instance, if you have defined “innovation” as a value, ensure that you are in fact embracing innovation at every employee touchpoint. A good example here is Yotpo, which has given its employees bonuses in the form of exclusive NFTs, thereby participating in a new equity model.
2. Examine the Employee Journey
We’re all familiar with building the customer journey and analyzing the entire customer experience, from the first time they ever encounter your product to the moment they become an avid ambassador for your brand. Use this same model for building the ideal “employee journey.” From onboarding to daily routine, focus on the major launchpads and crossroads in accordance with your strategy, and make sure you are there, physically or virtually.
3. Provide a Personalized Experience
Every employee has their own unique needs. Work-from-home options enable companies to provide personal solutions fairly easily, and gain favorable exposure on social media due to this individual consideration. Reach out to each employee to discuss their needs and offer a customized response. This is a worthwhile investment that will pay off very quickly.
4. Shape Meaning
Perks and a cool vibe are no longer a competitive advantage. They are quickly copied by other companies and cannot be termed a differentiating factor in your employer branding. Meaning and added value, however, can still give you that vital edge. Use your product to shape meaning – if your product makes the world better, leverage the values behind it as the cornerstones of the company’s positioning as an employer. For example, if your product is based on eco-friendly renewable energy solutions, select an employee experience strategy that reinforces those values.
5. Express the Corporate Culture
Many organizations attempt to address the employee experience without evaluating the corporate culture that exists in the workplace. It is true that it is much easier to handle concrete items like perks and activities, but corporate culture is overall a far more significant part of the employee experience. As part of the employer branding process, we study and diagnose the corporate culture in the workplace, determining whether it does in fact reflect the defined values, and where there are shortcomings. Even if the HR team responsible for guiding the employee experience can effectively encourage employee feedback and sharing, it is far from a given that all managers in the organization are like that. Remember, if there is no mutual listening and sharing in the professional and personal interactions of teams with management, all of these efforts will be in vain.
To sum up, the employee experience is a constantly changing process in today’s competitive, turbulent job market. It is therefore vital to avoid stagnation – constantly evaluate what you are doing right, as well as what requires correction and improvement, while also studying what competitors are doing and aiming to be a consistent thought and creativity leader. This will pay off in terms of retention and also attract many more candidates to your door.