Someone from your company leaves. Then another. And another. You were thinking you were doing fine, right? Well hello there false sense of security. Sucker punched to the gut. Whenever this happens I can never really quite shake off the feeling of me being fired as a manager. I’ve lost many great people over the course of my career, working on different teams. If you are like me you probably had to take some time to think about why they left. Sometimes it takes me quite a while to figure it out. Sometimes I never really figure it out.
Over time I realized that I need to create a better way of tracking employees along their lifecycle. That way I could pinpoint, not only when they left, but why as well. I recently learned that employee journey mapping is a great way to retain employees, improve engagement, increase job satisfaction and increase business revenue.
To start exploring employee journey we should start with the customer journey, especially if we think of employees as internal customers.
Customer Journey Mapping
Harvard Business Review describes customer journey mapping as the process of creating a diagram that illustrates what the customer goes through when interacting with the company.
It includes interactions at all levels: social media, mobile, website, store, and customer service center. By creating this map, the company can better understand customer needs. They can then change their processes to better serve them.
Employee Journey Mapping
This process can be the same for employees as well. If your company tracks how employees interact with the organization, you can begin to implement changes that impact satisfaction, engagement, and retention. There are positive aspects of treating employees with the same importance that you treat consumers.
Let’s take one employee and follow them on their journey from a potential recruit to a former employee.
- Employer branding
- Job listing
- Application process
- Interview & acceptance/rejection
- First day of work
- Learning and development
- Career planning
- Team management
- Succession management
- Personal life events
- Job termination or retirement
This includes all of their experiences, attitudes, and key moments: biggest challenges, emotional times, important decisions, moments of innovation, and others.
After the employee’s journey has been mapped, you can identify how certain moments impacted the company in terms of goals, retention, productivity, and other KPIs. Depending on the type of impact, you might need to find a way to focus on what employees need at various moments. Maybe they need more information or resources from you related to their job function. Or maybe they need more emotional support.
Let’s take Sam. She visits your company’s Facebook page and sees a job that she likes. She clicks it, then starts her application but does not complete it. What if you have another 10 or 20 people just like Sam, who visit your Facebook page, but don’t apply or don’t follow-up with the process? That means that there is something that needs to be fixed at that stage of the employee journey.
Or maybe we have Liam. He has been working at the company for about a year and suddenly leaves after a major internal change. You notice from other employee journey maps that others have done the same. It might be time to start looking at how you communicate with and support your employees during times of change.
After creating many employee journey maps, you can then start to create employee personas. Some companies do not have the resources to create an employee journey map for every potential employee or actual employee. That’s definitely understandable. But if you do enough you might be able to put together some personas based on demographic information. With those insights, you can begin to personalize your employee’s experiences based on a variety of factors.
Overall, employee journey mapping looks at HR services through the perspective of an employee. Oracle believes that companies should focus on the experiences of their employees as employees become a focus of organizational strength in innovation in a world where there is a shortage of many skills and where everything changes so quickly.
There really is no time for feeling comfortable. If you are feeling too comfortable in how your company is doing, that is your first sign that something is wrong. That might sound a bit pessimistic, but it’s better to be over prepared than to get caught off guard and without a job (because you didn't keep up with what your employees were telling you and your company went under or you were fired). Either way, not good.
The Importance of Employee Journey Mapping
Still not sure why you should start employee journey mapping? As Simon Sinek says:
Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.
Bottom line, employees are the most important part of the organization. Without them there is nothing. Designing the employee journey map is one of the only ways to get insight into what is really going on in your organization.
Effective employee journey maps should be able to answer the following questions:
- How do employees feel about the company and how do they share it?
- How do they feel about their team and managers?
- What was the recruitment process like?
- What did they think about onboarding?
- How do they feel that are developing?
- What kinds of challenges or achievements have they had?
- What would they change if they had the chance?
Creating an employee journey map that answers those questions will help your company align its various departments and processes, especially in HR, Recruiting, Marketing, Internal Communications, and Learning and Development. All of these departments take part in the employee journey. Aligning their goals and initiatives will create a more agile organization but also help improve the employee experience.
If we look at the various phases of the employee journey, we can see how all departments can work together.
Phase 1: External Engagement
Marketing is usually responsible for engaging the community and attracting potential new hires. But to do that effectively, they need to know what HR is looking for and what kinds of programs they can advertise to attract people’s attention. Marketing also has valuable information that HR and Internal Communications can use to help them know what future employees are looking for and what other companies are looking for.
Phase 2: Branding & Recruitment
HR and Recruiting usually handle this aspect but they would have a much more difficult job if it weren’t for Marketing telling the community about all the amazing things happening inside the company through branding.
Phase 3: Selection & Employment
HR will then select and employee certain candidates. They share this information with other departments to make sure that an employee has a smooth transition.
Phase 4: Internal Engagement
When it comes to engaging employees, Internal Communications and Learning and Development work together to make sure that employees are engaged, satisfied and learning.
In order to make this process more effective, all departments need to be a part of the employee journey map. They all need to make sure that have a stake in it and can use the information to improve their efforts.
Gaining more insight about your employees will give you more information about your culture. You will be able to tell how the personalities and behaviors of your employees interact with those of the managers in a way that creates the overall culture. Culture and your management of it are important factors in employee engagement and satisfaction.
According to Forrester Research, businesses that create employee journey maps have more buy-in from stakeholders. That means they are more likely to invest in ways to improve the employee experience.
Research has also shown that there is a high ROI on employee journey mapping. Companies see an increase in alignment of about 10%. In terms of employee performance, they are 6% more likely to put extra effort into their work and their performance increases by at least 2%.
Creating the Employee Journey Map
It’s time to get started on your employee journey map. No more excuses.
Step 1: Choose the journey
To begin the process of employee journey mapping, you need to decide what aspect of the company you need to target. Are you looking to improve your training program? Are your employees not using benefits as much as you thought they would? Have employees complained about the hiring process or onboarding sessions?
Wherever you see a problem, create an employee journey map for employees who are close to that key issue.
Step 2: Choose the employees
After you have chosen the journey, you need to decide what employee or employees are the most important to map. One way to start is to create an employee survey and find the employees that are the most frustrated. See what they are frustrated with and match your target with those employees. This where you need to get it right.
Many companies have found that choosing the right employees to map is critical to the success of the process. Some companies choose multiple employees to be able to make comparisons: different generations, new and experienced, high and low risk, different levels of potential, and so on.
Step 3: Create a persona
After you have chosen certain employees, start creating personas. Build a snapshot based on demographic information, goals, attitudes, communication style, working preferences, and anything else you can think of to create a model employee that can be used to help you understand the larger group.
Step 4: Empathize
Now comes the part where you have to go on the journey and try to take on the role of the employee. You need to discover their needs and objectives. You need to know what their passions are, what makes them feel valued, what challenges them, what scares them, how they overcome problems, and who they rely on.
Knowing all this information will help you discover how they progressed along their journey and why.
Step 5: Brainstorm
So, you have all the information you need. It’s time to brainstorm. For every stage of the employee experience, try to think of solutions that will make the process better for the persona you created. It is a good idea to gather a group of highly engaged and high performing employees together and explain to them what you are doing and why. They could have amazing insight into the problems and solution from an employee’s perspective.
Step 6: Build a program
With the help of the team, you can put together a pilot program and a department that wants to implement it. Use the feedback from that department to build a larger company-wide program.
Step 7: Test
Continue to build on the initial program by testing new ideas and getting feedback. When you start to implement ideas one at a time you can see which ideas are creating a better employee experience. Make sure to communicate with everyone along the way to let them know what changes are being made and why.
Step 8: Succeed
And that’s it. Those are the steps. Now you can bask in the glow of your successful employee journey and all the steps you have taken to improve your employee engagement and profit.
So when you think about how things in your business are going, don’t go for the safe route. Challenge yourself and put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Find out more about their journeys and you will go a long way in retaining them and avoiding the shock of discovering that things might not be going as well as you think.