Which Comes First: Candidate Experience or Employee Experience? The E-Factor Plan
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This post is the fourth in our E-Factor series, where we explore hot topics in Employee Experience. To read more about the E-Factor, click here.
Candidate Experience (CX) has been a hot topic in HR and Talent Acquisition for almost a decade now. There's an entire conference and awards show, called the CandEs, for the organizations that deliver the top candidate experiences on the planet. You might be one of those companies that offers a world-class candidate experience, and good for you if you are!
CX was a manufactured concept, though. It was made up by consultants to make you feel awful about how you were treating those poor, poor candidates. A decade ago you wouldn’t find any mention of 'candidate experience'. Because of this, consultants could sell you services and offer great advice like, "treat candidates like you treat your customers" and "candidates should have a bill of rights".
Don't take this wrong, I'm not anti-candidate. I'm pro-employee!
Of course, you should treat candidates with respect and give them feedback. Otherwise your employment brand will suffer and you won't be able to attract the talent you need to grow and prosper. But, I think most of us treated candidates pretty well. They applied. We told them we liked them, or we weren't interested. Both sides went about their day just fine.
Now, we are made to believe we need to send every candidate a handwritten note and an apology and send cookies if we don't send them a four-page document of feedback after interviewing within thirteen seconds of them leaving the building!
I think great CX actually comes from great Employee Experiences (EX).
Do you get awards for how you treat your employees? Maybe a "Best Places to Work" designation? It's not really an award. Almost any company can get a 'best places' designation if they have enough money and time to put into the process. It's more of a game than an award.
Our reality is if we provide an exceptional place to work where our employees feel like they have all the tools they need to succeed, we are actually beginning to build the best candidate experience on the planet. Great EX becomes part of your culture. A culture that values exceptional employee experience will be one that provides an exceptional candidate experience as a natural outcome.
When HR and TA leaders ask me about candidate experience I usually start by focusing on how they are treating their employees. The worst possible candidate experience is when the candidate is lied to! Hey, come work for us, we're awesome! Here's a fruit basket for interviewing! Here's a thank you note to your spouse for allowing us to take you away for an hour! Congrats, you're hired! Yay!
Then they show up on day 1 and your work environment is toxic, their manager sucks, and they don't have any of the tools they need to get the job done. Say hello to my little friend we call Turnover!
So what comes first, EX or CX? I have super high expectations of my team, so I don't tell them it's one or the other! I tell them it's both! I'm sure many of you are like me. The problem I'm finding in so many organizations is that because we are desperate for talent, CX is getting priority over EX. This just can't happen.
Your E-Factor, the measure of your employee experience, has to be an organizational priority, not just an HR priority - just as candidate experience has been for a while now. I'll tell you, EX is harder than CX! So, check back here for more resources, ideas, and ways to increase your E-Factor!
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About Tim Sackett
I’m a 20 year HR/Recruiting Talent Pro with a Master’s in HR and SPHR certification, currently residing in Lansing, MI. Currently the President at HRU Technical Resources – a $40M IT and Engineering contract staffing firm and RPO. Prior to joining HRU, I was the Director of Employment at Sparrow Health System, Regional HR and Staffing Director with Applebee’s Intl., Retail Health Recruiting Manager and Regional HR Mgr. with ShopKo Stores and Pamida respectively. I’ve split my career half between recruiting and half between HR generalist roles – also split half between the HR vendor community and Corporate America – So, I think I get it from both sides of the desk.