Why co-creation is the key to a winning employee experience
Est. Read Time: 2 min.
The term “employee experience” is kind of a misnomer, isn’t it? It implies something singular—a walled-off experience that each individual employee goes through on their own. In actuality, the employee experience is much bigger than that. The average employee will interact with countless people and departments over the course of their lifecycle at your company, and each of those interactions feeds into their overall experience. But we don’t tend to think of it that way.
Today, many HR departments try to boil the employee experience down to a series of boxes on a checklist, especially when it comes to onboarding. Ticking off each box is viewed as something that just has to be done, with no one really stopping to think about why it has to be done—or whether it could be done better.
This creates an experience akin to a conveyor belt, with each employee being taken through the motions before being dropped off the other end and expected to get to work. HR turns its attention to planning and executing employee experience programs, its work conducted separately from the people it will ultimately impact.
It’s all very insular: not how successful work is done. To create a more human employee experience, HR needs to put people above processes, and focus on co-creation over copy-and-paste. Every individual employee’s experience should be both personalized and seamlessly integrated into the whole.
Here’s how to make that happen.
Build bridges between departments
While HR might have ownership of the employee experience, it’s far from the only department that needs to be involved.
Take onboarding. HR can benefit from establishing strong cross-functional connections before the new hire’s first day to ensure there are no snags once they arrive. This might involve working with security to get the employee’s ID badge created, and connecting with IT to get their computer fully set up. After all, no one wants to spend their first day dealing with a lack of access to a company’s internal networks (in the case of a delayed user account)—or to the building itself (in the case of a delayed ID card). This doesn’t lend itself to a positive experience, and it can severely damage a person’s confidence in their new employer at a critical stage.
By building cross-departmental connections early, HR can streamline the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle. If a person needs tuition reimbursement, for example, HR can work in tandem with finance to get it approved and processed at lightning speed.
Silos breed friction, so smart HR departments build bridges, not walls. In doing so, they also encourage other departments to contribute to the employee experience conversation, forging new pathways for improvement and change.
Partner with employees
It’s not just other departments that need to be involved in conversations that will impact employees’ lives. Employees need a place at the table, too.
Employees are your best resource for insights into the day-to-day experience of working at your company. The employee experience isn’t an abstract concept to them—they live it every day.
Tenured staff can help you determine the success of various projects and initiatives, giving you a view from the ground. New hires, meanwhile, bring a totally fresh perspective. They may shine a light on processes that have been broken for years, with others simply too used to them to notice. Hearing from both parties is critical, as is re-connecting with them on a regular basis.
Employee surveys and sentiment analysis tools make it easy for companies to do this at scale. By getting a quick view of how people are feeling, HR can avoid becoming closed off and distant—and start creating more meaningful change.