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Surveys & Engagement

The employee journey map: A guide to creating great EX for a multigenerational workforce

Leapsome Team
The employee journey map: A guide to creating great EX for a multigenerational workforce
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The world of work has never been more exciting — and unpredictable — than it is now. Not only have remote and hybrid setups become the new normal, but the workforce has changed, with five generations coming together to collaborate daily. As critical as diverse perspectives are to business success, this intergenerational convergence has introduced complications; only 6% of organizational leaders feel ready to manage multiple generations. (1)  

Thankfully, frameworks like the employee experience (EX) journey map can help businesses through this transition. Overall, companies that design a great EX report lower stress and burnout, and their team members are 1.4 times more likely to find purpose in their roles. (2) 

But how does mapping the EX journey work? Employee journey maps help chart and visualize the end-to-end experience of working at a company from the perspectives of its team members. The primary purpose of these maps is to highlight the employee’s point of view and uncover inefficiencies and areas for improvement. They can also provide an overview of the internal processes, as well as the roles that recruiters, hiring managers, human resources leaders, and team leads play in shaping the experience.

We’ve created a downloadable employee journey map template that HR and people leaders can use as a starting point for their own journey maps. This article also provides a step-by-step process for making the most of this free resource.

  1. Deloitte, 2021
  2. McLean & Co., 2023

Our free employee journey map template

Our customizable template is a great place to start if you’ve never explored employee experience journey mapping. It allows you to document your company’s processes across key EX touchpoints (from recruiting and onboarding to offboarding). Then, use the notes and next steps section to start brainstorming and drafting how you’ll make improvements.

Check out the employee journey map example below to see how this can look for your organization.

A screenshot of Leapsome's employee journey map template.
Get more visibility over your employee experience journey with our employee journey mapping template
🤔 Get inside employees’ heads

Use our template to gather team member insights at every stage and understand how their needs change throughout their tenure.

👉 Download the template

What is the employee journey?

A photo of three employees working together on a project.
Employee journey maps help visualize the team member lifecycle, document sources of friction, and make improvements

The employee journey encompasses all the milestones, events, interactions, and impressions an individual experiences throughout their tenure with an organization. Some people leaders refer to the EX journey as key touchpoints, or “moments that matter.” Still, this perspective might be somewhat limiting, as it overlooks the fact that a positive EX journey is also about building a strong, trusting relationship between employees and organizations. 

Essentially, every moment counts, influencing how team members feel about your organization — from pre- to post-employment.

“If you’re familiar with customer journey mapping, then you may know more about employee journey mapping (EJM) than you realize. Employee journey mapping uses the same concepts and best practices of customer journey mapping to help you understand your employee experience better, provide the resources, tools, and support employees need, and align employees’ daily actions and accountabilities with the customer experience.”

Jeannie Walters, Customer Experience Speaker and CEO of Experience Investigators

Why map out the employee journey?

Mapping out the employee journey means creating a visual blueprint to identify current areas for improvement and customize for different roles. What’s more, it allows you to stay in touch with changing professional priorities and career paths, which no longer look like they once did. 

“Traditional career paths, where employees rise up the ranks and retire at the peak of their career, are going away,” write HR experts and analysts Emily Rose McRae, Peter Aykens, Kaelyn Lowmaster, and Jonah Shepp in their collaborative article for HBR

“Some employees don’t retire at all or do so after a career shift or break, including performing different or less lucrative work. For example, Pew research found that 19% of Americans aged 65 and older worked in 2023, which is nearly twice as many as 35 years ago. More employees are stepping out of the workforce mid-career, shifting across industries or embracing contingent work and other nontraditional employment models at some point in their careers.”

When you consider how quickly the professional landscape is changing, mapping out the employee experience journey should stand out as a worthwhile investment of time and effort that can contribute to significant cultural and operational outcomes, such as:

  • Smoother, more thorough onboarding processes — Only 43% of employees say their onboarding included more than paperwork and a one-day orientation. Implementing an EX journey map to create a more in-depth onboarding experience can set your company apart and help your new hires feel more welcome from day one.
  • Relevant career development opportunities — An effective employee journey map considers your team members’ unique professional and personal career goals. This allows you to offer better training opportunities, which, according to 83% of HR professionals, impacts employees’ decision to stay with a company.
  • Improved productivity — An EX journey map can help you overcome productivity gaps with better technology, resources, processes, and communication. In doing so, you could become up to 1.8 times more productive than organizations that don’t prioritize the employee experience.
  • Greater recruitment success — A journey map can help you better understand what candidates are looking for throughout their tenure. That way, you can tailor your messaging to better resonate with job seekers’ highest priority goals.

7 steps for creating your employee journey map

Whether you utilize our customizable employee experience journey mapping template or create your own, outlining the employee journey lets you easily spot where your EX efforts fall short; then, you can make an initial action plan within the same document. 

Let’s look at our recommended step-by-step process for strategizing, researching, documenting, and improving the employee experience within your organization.

1. Get clear about your goals for mapping the employee journey

A screenshot showing how team goals look in Leapsome Goals.
Leapsome Goals is AI-powered, which means you can start creating strategic goals quickly with a prompt and two clicks

The key question that HR and people professionals need to ask themselves at this stage is, “What do we want to know about the employee journey and why?” This ensures journey mapping is a more meaningful, strategic endeavor that helps you align with your overall company goals.

If this is your first time creating a journey map, your initial goal may be to identify current paint points, gaps, and challenges so you can better support your team over the next 12 months. 

If you’ve mapped your company’s employee journey before and implemented improvements, a more specific goal might be to address communication issues and improve the feedback and review processes across all touchpoints.

2. Conduct employee research

A screenshot of Leapsome’s anonymous suggestion box.
Leapsome Instant Feedback means employees can feel at ease when leaving anonymous suggestions 

To get to the core of issues, you must first dig deeper into previous survey data, manager feedback, performance scores, and EX metrics like retention, turnover, and engagement. 

You should also talk to department heads, managers, team leads, and other employees for fresh, updated insights. In your research, be sure to understand how team members describe their current journey and ideal experience; this way, you can identify existing pain points and structure a better path. 

Here are a few questions you can ask employees:

  • What expectations did you have at each stage of your professional journey?
  • Have we succeeded or failed in living up to those expectations?
  • What were your biggest frustrations during the onboarding, training, and engagement stages?
  • What competencies were you hoping to develop at every stage?
  • How did you feel about communicating with your manager and leadership team at each stage of the process?

Providing anonymous employee feedback channels is crucial if you want valuable, candid input. You can help team members feel safe sharing their thoughts with methods such as:

  • Anonymous surveys — Using a platform like Leapsome means your surveys will be anonymous by default.
  • Suggestion boxes or forums — These allow employees to confidentially share their input and ask questions without prompting. That’s why Leapsome offers an anonymous suggestion box and Q&A board where team members can ask questions and get answers from leadership.
  • Focus groups — Organize an in-office or virtual meeting with team members, ask meaningful questions about their current experience, and use their answers to create an anonymous report. If possible, arrange this with a third-party research company to ensure confidentiality.
🔎 Make sure you have a tentative action plan to share with employees when asking them for feedback. This will help you overcome any survey fatigue due to previous inaction while encouraging your team to provide more and better feedback. 

3. Determine the scope & roles your journey map will cover

Use the gathered data to hone in on the most urgent issues. 

For instance, you may notice positive reports during the recruitment and onboarding stages as you review your research. However, you might uncover that teams typically show decreased engagement around the development stage. That could mean it’s time to update your career progression framework or make it a more central part of your organization’s professional growth processes. 

🧩 Discover what pieces are missing from your EX strategy

Use our free, editable template to record employee data, map the employee experience journey, and make your organization an even better workplace.

👉
Download the template

4. Craft your EX journey map

Now, you’ll draw on the previous three steps and combine your goals, scope, and research to update processes and construct your ideal employee experience journey. To do this, you can use our template, which covers these core areas:

  • Touchpoints — where employees come into contact with managers, leaders, and other stakeholders
  • Processes — the ideal steps managers and employees should take at each touchpoint to give team members the best experience
  • Metrics and monitoring — so you can record your current EX data and quickly identify areas of weakness
  • Notes — where you can document feedback from employees and stakeholders
  • Next steps — where you’ll outline solutions

Of course, every organization has specific goals, internal structure, and culture. That’s why we’ve made our entire template editable and customizable, with ready-to-use content you can use for inspiration. For example, if your company is 100% remote, you may need more processes during onboarding that promote belonging, recognition, and team integration.

🔎 Use our template to link to a fully fleshed-out process and next steps for each stage!

5. Consult your journey map to identify improvement opportunities

Use the notes section in our template to capture what you’ve learned from team member research and outline your current iteration of the employee journey. In particular, note the initial expectations and eventual frustrations team members mentioned in their feedback and prioritize specific roles or issues that should be addressed. 

In the next steps section, summarize what actions you plan to take based on the most critical concerns. Perhaps several employees mention feeling stifled in their professional development; you could then introduce a formal learning and training budget as a next step to improve on this.

6. Share your plan & implement initiatives

Once you’ve finalized your action plan for improving the employee experience, communicate your strategy with leaders and team members so you can secure additional feedback on your proposed ideas and support for your initiatives moving forward. To be as transparent as possible:

  • Explain your motivation for mapping the employee journey — Reiterate why you decided to map the employee journey and improve EX from the outset. For example, your organization may have gone through a recent restructuring, and you might have noticed that engagement has been declining.
  • Describe your approach — Share how you mapped the staff journey based on your current EX processes and employee research.
  • Discuss the why behind your proposed strategy — Provide the rationale behind your action plan and link it to current business goals and objectives.
  • Break your strategy into steps — Be sure to offer timelines and share who will lead each initiative.
  • Follow up — After presenting your plan, contact leadership and stakeholders to address questions and concerns.

7. Refine & iterate on your journey maps over time

Like customers, the needs of your employees can change and fluctuate — often in response to industry and economic changes. That’s why you should review and update your EX journey map every six months to a year and follow the same process each time. You can even utilize an employee experience platform to support you with this.

Remember: No matter how favorable your employee experience metrics are, there’s always more to learn and understand! 

🔎 Employee experience platforms like Leapsome can help you streamline how you gather team member data, set the right EX goals, and implement strategies for better communication, reduced stress, and more employee autonomy.

Measuring the employee journey

Reviewing your employee experience metrics regularly helps you detect and mitigate issues early before they become major challenges. Doing so also means you can illustrate your progress to upper management and the executive team over time, demonstrating the value of your EX programs. Here are a few key indicators you should consistently refer to:

  • Retention and turnover rates — Low retention rates may signal that team members aren’t having a positive employee experience. However, you need to compare them against employee tenures to discern when the most turnover typically happens. For instance, you may notice that team members tend to quit after their first eighteen months, which could suggest they’re dissatisfied with a lack of training, development, and career opportunities. 
  • Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) — The eNPS is a valuable metric because it allows you to quickly assess engagement. It only requires employees to answer one question: “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend us as a place to work for your family and friends?” Your final score can range from -100 to 100, and most companies have a score between 10 and 30. While it’s not a great standalone metric because it presents you with limited data, it’s a great starting point that can help you determine when it’s time to investigate the employee experience further. 
  • Survey results — Take note of your highest and lowest scores on previous engagement and culture surveys and read answers to open-ended questions thoroughly. If you use Leapsome’s Surveys module, you can quickly determine which factors you need to target to drive more positive outcomes. Our sentiment analysis function also uses AI to interpret open-ended answers so you can quickly scan them before exploring further.
A screenshot of Leapsome’s Surveys module.
Leapsome Surveys shows you what’s influencing your lowest survey scores so you know where to focus your attention
  • Performance scores — A great employee experience often corresponds with enhanced motivation, higher engagement, and, as a result, satisfactory performance. High performance scores also speak to the effectiveness of managers and stakeholders during the onboarding, training, and development stages.

How Leapsome supports employee journey mapping

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Competency Framework Matrix.
Leapsome’s Competency Framework feature allows you to outline the skills that are needed at every level and set clear expectations

As the workforce's demographic makeup changes and career paths evolve, EX journey maps can help you be more strategic about the insights you gather and improve the employee experience more efficiently. If your organization is genuinely committed to putting its people first, you need team member input to create a more personalized work experience for your team members.

Still, what do you do if you lack the time, personnel, or tech to gather the requisite insights? How do you overcome resistance from leadership without the right data and tools?

Leapsome allows you to automate the operational and analytical side of the journey mapping so you can focus on finding more innovative solutions to complex EX challenges. With Leapsome Surveys and Reviews, you can track engagement and pulse scores, retention rates, your eNPS, and employee performance scores with charts and visualizations to show how those metrics have changed over time. Then, use Goals to design EX initiatives that align with current business objectives. 

With Leapsome, you’ll gain actionable insights and drive targeted improvements across every stage of the employee experience.

👣 More positive impressions and connections every step of the way

Use Leapsome’s AI-powered survey summaries to actively listen, gain insights, and implement changes based on employee feedback to make the entire work experience more meaningful.

👉
Book a demo

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Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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