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Surveys & Engagement

9 tried & tested ways to improve the employee experience & help people thrive

Leapsome Team
9 tried & tested ways to improve the employee experience & help people thrive
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To navigate the changing world of work, growth-oriented companies are trying to think more holistically about their people and widen their focus to improve the entire employee experience (EX). Many organizations make the mistake of only focusing on one of two specific metrics when measuring the success of their employee initiatives. 

Instead, they should emphasize the whole EX, which encompasses all of the influences, circumstances, and interactions that shape someone’s perception of work over the course of their entire tenure. Why? Among other benefits, employee experience is a useful predictor of turnover: Team members that have a bad EX are 4.9 times more likely to leave their organization within six months.* 

Understanding the employee experience requires leadership and human resources teams to think about and grasp the complicated and often interconnected factors that impact their people. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits that a solid employee experience can bring to your organization and provide you with nine proven strategies you can implement to help team members flourish in your workplace.

*World Economic Forum, 2023

Why improve the employee experience?

People are indispensable to company growth, and if they have a positive experience, this can be integral to business success. At the same time, workers today are looking for more meaningful professional opportunities, and forward-thinking organizations need to adapt. Job seekers increasingly prioritize positions that align with their personal values and goals — in fact, 56% of workers won’t even consider a job that doesn’t. In addition, many favor companies that want to empower employees and make a positive impact on the business landscape. 

These various factors lead to 47% of HR leaders reporting that they are making EX a top priority for 2023. 

Let’s look at some of the additional benefits that are motivating organizations to enhance the employee experience:

  • Improved recruitment and talent attraction — When Gallup asked a series of professionals what they were seeking in their next role, 63% said they were looking for greater work-life balance and better personal well-being, 59% were searching for an increase in compensation, and 57% wanted more autonomy. Our own recent employee survey on pull factors in the workplace backs this up, with top answers being work-life balance (66%), a culture that encourages feedback, goal-setting, and learning (52%), compensation and benefits (48%), and flexibility (48%). By addressing all of these concerns with a more comprehensive employee experience strategy, organizations will be better positioned to attract the talent they need to meet their business goals.
  • Higher retention rates — According to Epoch’s 2022 State of Employee Experience Report, 41.8% of respondents said retention was the most important reason to invest in EX. And it’s paying off: Our 2023 report showed that when the C-Suite sees value in people enablement software, retention rates are higher. That should come as no surprise because when existing team members are thriving in their roles, have clear career development paths, and are growing professionally within the company, they’re more likely to stay.
  • Increased motivation and productivity — In a work environment where people have the flexibility, autonomy, confidence, and tools they need to do their best work, they feel a greater sense of motivation, and their productivity levels naturally increase. That’s why organizations with successful EX initiatives report being 1.8 times more productive than those without.
  • Boost in revenue There’s a strong financial case to be made for investing in the employee experience. In their 2022 article for the Harvard Business Review, four analysts uncovered that companies that improve their EX metrics saw a 50% increase in revenue.
An infographic that illustrates the benefits of improving the employee experience.
Enhancing the employee experience can yield powerful business benefits and help your organization become a great place to work

9 initiatives to improve the employee experience at your company

It’s impossible for one initiative to solve all of your EX issues, as each one affects different aspects of the employee lifecycle. Consider your pain points, and start with the initiative that’s most in line with your current people enablement strategy.

1. Collect feedback & be sure to act on it

Team members don’t only want to be heard — they also want to know that their input matters to leadership. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the reality for a significant percentage of businesses. According to Gallup, 18% of employees are actively disengaged. Our recent study served even more worrying numbers, with 63% of participants reporting they are somewhat (58%) or completely (5%) disengaged — results that surprised our HR respondents. Interestingly, respondents to Gallup’s survey said a lack of feeling cared about and like their opinions mattered were two key factors that contributed to their disengagement with work. This just goes to show that organizations that want to improve their EX should start by gathering employee feedback. 

Following reports that many professionals experience survey fatigue, some employers are pulling back on their efforts to collect data. However, in reality, it’s often leadership’s failure to act on survey results that contributes to low survey completion rates. 

Organizations that want to ensure the feedback they receive encompasses diverse perspectives and viewpoints should:

  • Conduct surveys that include a combination of closed and open-ended questions to get a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Encourage managers to ask for feedback during 1:1 meetings with direct reports and pass what they learn along to leadership and people teams.
  • Create a channel for anonymous feedback where employees can air their concerns without awkwardness or fear of reprisal.
  • Explain how they plan to take action on results and share their strategy with the company.
Key benefit

Employees have first-hand, on-the-ground experience with the issues that affect them the most, so they’re in the best position to solve the problems impacting their day-to-day work. This also gives them a greater sense of ownership over and connection with their role, leading to deeper engagement. 

A screenshot of Leapsome's Q&A board feature within the Instant Feedback module.
Leapsome’s Instant Feedback module includes a Q&A board function, which lets employees ask questions anonymously and get answers from leadership

2. Use holistic, dedicated EX tools

Recent Salesforce research revealed that enterprise-level companies use an average of 1,000 different applications, and only 29% of them are interconnected. That lack of integration takes a toll on employees as they carry out their day-to-day tasks and needlessly adds to their workload. Thankfully, EX, people enablement, and employee engagement software solutions like Leapsome exist to help businesses simplify their workflows.

How does a platform like Leapsome cater to the entire employee experience? It comprises seven integrated modules that are designed to solve problems at every stage of the employee lifecycle:

  • Reviews, which allows you to automate staff evaluations and track how performance scores change over time.
  • Goals, which makes it simpler to set and track individual, team, and company goals and keep everyone aligned.
  • Surveys, which enables you to run anonymous surveys and break down data in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Learning, for creating personalized learning paths and training courses.
  • Compensation, which allows you to make more unbiased, data-driven compensation and promotion decisions.
  • Instant Feedback, for requesting and receiving input based on core values and relevant skills.
  • Meetings, which allows you to structure meeting agendas with templates, take notes, and keep track of action items.

Leapsome encompasses five core products that you can mix and match according to your needs — as well as two always-included modules for Instant Feedback and Meetings

Key benefit

A well-designed EX software solution acts as a centralized digital space where employees can prompt and exchange feedback, resulting in more honest and transparent communication between team members and leadership. Moreover, a unified, all-in-one platform like Leapsome means you’re equipped with the essential features you need to develop, implement, and assess your employee experience initiatives. 

“At Truffls, it’s important to us that we create a great employee experience. We want to ensure our employees feel heard and know that we, as their employer, are listening to and responding to their needs. I was hearing from both employees and our managers that the overall topic of development needed to be addressed. [With Leapsome], we now have a powerful tool that helps our employees get the feedback they need to help them reach their full potential. It’s been extremely well-received by all employees, and I can now demonstrably measure the increase in employee engagement as a result of our improved processes through monthly pulse surveys.”

— Jeron Bitto, Head of People and Organization at
Truffls
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3. Create a collaborative company culture

A photo of three professionals working together in a casual office environment.

It’s possible to create a collaborative culture, even in a remote work environment

The increase in remote work presents many challenges — and one of the biggest is isolation. In contrast with in-office work, remote work can actually increase feelings of loneliness by 67%. While employees may prefer the freedom to work from home, remote work arrangements can also make it more difficult for them to connect with their coworkers and work together effectively. 

One powerful method to combat that is by making collaboration a central part of your company culture. You can achieve this by:

  • Modeling collaboration for employees — Leaders that set a good example by cooperating and working on joint projects with people across the company can encourage others to follow suit.
  • Utilizing cascading goals — Ensuring that team and individual goals feed into broader company objectives fosters a collaborative spirit and helps move the needle forward on key projects and targets.
  • Creating dedicated channels for interaction — Offer remote team members dedicated Slack or Microsoft Teams channels where they can connect, build rapport, and share “water cooler” moments with their colleagues.
Key benefit

A collaborative work environment helps cultivate a sense of belonging and makes employees feel like they’re working together toward common objectives. It also encourages knowledge sharing and innovation, which are crucial for organizations that want to remain competitive in their industries.

4. Enrich & personalize learning & development opportunities

Even if your organization offers plenty of training opportunities, it’s possible that team members aren’t satisfied with how they’re delivered. In fact, SHRM’s 2022 Workplace Learning and Development Trends Report found that while 76% of employees would stay at a company that offered continuous training, 33% said they had a hard time staying motivated with training, 25% admitted they quickly forgot the training material, and 24% agreed the training they received wasn’t relevant to their role. 

If that’s the case for your organization, here’s how you can improve your current L&D offerings:

  • Source resources externally when necessary — This may be a good option if you don’t have time to create your own materials or want team members to benefit from fresh perspectives and different approaches to problem-solving.
  • Design learning paths that are relevant to skill sets — Use your organization’s competency frameworks to create interactive courses based on the skills that employees need to move to the next position or excel in their current role.
  • Monitor training progress — Check completion rates and set up weekly 1:1 check-ins to address the issues staff members may have encountered on their current learning paths.
  • Give people time to practice their new skills — Without the opportunity to review and reinforce newly acquired knowledge and skills, employees are likely to forget what they’ve learned, rendering your training efforts ineffective.
Key benefit

More personalized training opportunities can help boost retention rates and attract top talent. They also allow team members to build their professional skills, which they’ll continue to enjoy even if they move on from your organization.

A screenshot of an interface from Leapsome’s Learning module.
Leapsome’s Learning module helps you simplify the process of creating personalized training courses
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Leapsome’s Learning module makes it easier to deliver customized, interactive training courses that are relevant to employees’ roles.

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5. Develop a transparent compensation & promotion framework

“The problem [with compensation] is that organizations tell employees, ‘We’ve done a pay equity analysis and audit, and we didn’t find any issues.’ Or, ‘We did an audit, and we made some changes,’ and yet your paycheck doesn’t increase. Then, employees are forced to ask: Do they know my circumstances? Did they actually research what people make in my zip code? Did they consult with us to find out what people are paying in rent when conducting their analysis? Did we actually get to see that analysis? No, they never get to see that information. At the end of the day, people typically end up feeling disempowered, and it can really lower engagement.”

— Ashley T. Brundage, CEO and President of
Empowering Differences, on the challenges organizations face when addressing pay equity

In our 2023 State of People Enablement Report, we asked people to share what made them feel engaged at work. Tellingly, 53% of respondents cited transparent compensation and promotion as one major factor, suggesting that it’s not only how much people make that impacts EX — it also matters how organizations communicate pay decisions.

To build a better, more equitable system for compensation and promotion, you should:

  • Design a compensation philosophy that outlines criteria for pay raises, promotions, and monetary incentives to prevent unconscious bias from affecting pay practices.
  • Create a compensation plan with clear salary bands or ranges connected to roles, levels, and tenure. This prevents leadership and managers from making arbitrary decisions around pay.

  • Share compensation data with everyone at your company to build employee trust and learn from their feedback.
Key benefit

Honesty and openness surrounding pay and benefits fosters more confidence and engagement among team members. It also gives people the opportunity to offer their feedback, which is critical to improving your compensation management processes for the future.

A screenshot of an interface from Leapsome’s Compensation module.
Leapsome’s Compensation module allows organizations to centralize compensation information and make more data-informed pay decisions

6. Revamp your onboarding process

Onboarding is more central to staff satisfaction than many employers realize. Poor onboarding can negatively impact employee engagement over time. Indeed, a Glint analysis showed new hires that had subpar onboarding experiences were eight times more likely to become disengaged with work. That’s troubling when you learn that 57% of employees say their onboarding only consisted of a one-day orientation and paperwork. 

Onboarding isn’t only about preparing team members for their professional responsibilities — it’s also intended to build trust between leaders, coworkers, and recent joiners and show how your company lives and embodies its core values.

Instead of relying on ad hoc training methods during onboarding, human resources teams and managers should:

  • Structure and tailor onboarding to different kinds of employees. Create resources and training plans for remote workers, managers, and new hires that may require accommodations and extra support.
  • Create a 30-60-90-day plan. This will act as a roadmap for both new team members and managers as they navigate the initial days of training and development.
  • Assign a mentor or buddy for every recent joiner. They can make teammate introductions, answer questions, address concerns, and follow up regularly to make sure the new hire onboarding process goes smoothly overall.
Key benefit

A structured onboarding process reduces overwhelm for new hires, prevents burnout, and helps increase engagement during those critical first months of the employee lifecycle.

7. Rethink your approach to rewards & recognition 

A photo of three colleagues talking and collaborating in a brightly lit workspace.

A solid
recognition and rewards program is key to enhancing the employee experience

Recognition — or a lack thereof — is a major driver of employee unhappiness. According to a 2021 McKinsey study, feeling undervalued is one of the top two reasons professionals leave their jobs. On the other hand, 37% of employees say they’re motivated to do better work when they receive personal recognition. Considering this, we can see how a company that regularly celebrates successes can have a significant positive impact on the employee experience.

If you’re looking to update your process for recognizing and rewarding achievements within your workplace, use the acronym AIR as a helpful framework:

  • Action — Get specific about the task or ongoing behavior you or other team members have observed.
  • Impact — This explores why the action was so meaningful, which is edifying for the person you’re celebrating, as well as their teammates. That’s because they can better understand how their actions contributed to broader team or company success.
  • Reward — What incentive makes sense and is proportional to the impact of the achievement? For instance, completing a complex, long-term project that brought significant benefits to the whole company may deserve a merit increase or bonus.
Key benefit

Ongoing rewards and recognition empower employees to do their best work and encourage them to be a motivating force for others. It also helps them feel valued, which can lead to higher retention rates.

8. Implement flexible work arrangements

Despite the challenges that remote work and job flexibility present, employees highly value versatile work arrangements. In fact, 42% of companies that forced their workers to return to the office post-pandemic have experienced higher turnover rates, according to a recent Unispace report.

It’s not that people necessarily mind going to the office — they simply want the power to choose when and where they work. As a result, companies that want to embrace more flexibility can be creative with the options they offer. Some possibilities include: 

  • Flextime, where employees can start and end their workdays within certain agreed-upon hour parameters.
  • Compressed workweeks, where team members have the opportunity to work four-day workweeks rather than five.
  • Annualized hours, where employees have an obligation to work a certain number of hours over the course of the year but the flexibility to decide when they work those hours. 
Key benefit

Flexible work empowers employees to design their workdays in a way that accommodates both their professional and personal responsibilities and lifestyle. Most people are more likely to stay in a job that gives them a greater ability to choose how they work.

9. Organize employee resource groups (ERGs)

ERGs are internal communities that organizations create to support employees with similar identities and interests. Typically part of a broader DEI strategy, companies often adopt them to satisfy staff needs for more inclusion and connection. 

However, when organizations fail to create clear objectives for ERGs, they often miss the mark. Recent McKinsey research found that 66% of ERG members rate their ERG as effective for community-building, while 20% said their ERG was ineffective for connecting with leadership, which is a key function of resource groups.

If you want to create ERGs for your company, be sure to:

  • Ensure members have meaningful connections with leadership so they can secure the funding and resources they need to meet their goals.
  • Confirm company leadership is aligned on their strategic value so they can offer support when needed.
  • Track attendance and participation so you can identify which groups need guidance, assistance, and extra backing.
Key benefit

ERGs can promote inclusion and belonging for everyone, but particularly for employees that belong to underrepresented groups who may feel they can’t bring their whole selves to work. These provide a safe space for team members to connect with colleagues that identify similarly, which is essential for creating a more psychologically safe workplace.

Improve EX across the employee life cycle

An infographic illustrating Leapsome’s interconnected modules.

Leapsome’s flexible modules help adapt processes and initiatives as the needs of employees evolve

The concept of employee experience helps companies think about the bigger picture when considering what it really means to create a great workplace. It’s not simply about generating more engagement or offering more performance incentives. Rather, it’s about considering how you can maintain a positive environment and impact on your people throughout the employee lifecycle.

The reality is that the employee experience is holistic in nature, so you need a well-rounded, integrated platform like Leapsome to manage your EX initiatives. With interconnected modules for running surveys, gathering instant feedback, and leading structured meetings, our software can help you identify team members’ needs and make sure your people feel heard. Then, you can use our performance review, goal setting, and compensation management modules to implement initiatives efficiently and strategically. 

With Leapsome as your trusted partner, you can better enrich the employee experience, enabling your organization to navigate change with confidence.

🪴 Nurture employees and thrive in a changeable environment

Leapsome has the flexibility and simplicity you need to create an employee experience that motivates and retains people for the long haul.

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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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