Four Steps to Improving Employee Experience

By Marilyn Weiss | Employee Experience

Nov 28
Employee Experience

At LINX WorkForce Innovations we’re focused on digging deep with employees to truly understand their experience. However, there are also some universal ways any organization can work to improve the employee experience, regardless of the unique challenges and opportunities that can be uncovered by delving deeper.

Here are four ways that Human Resources professionals can work with leaders to make positive change, in addition to truly listening to employee feedback. If you’re not in Human Resources but you lead teams of people, these four steps will benefit you and your employees as well.

Foster Growth Mindset

“Growth mindset” has become a widely used term. Why does it matter so much in the workplace? Because it applies to every employee, no matter their life stage or work stage. Employees with a growth mindset believe in their own ability to improve skills, thinking, and behavior. They also believe people and organizations can and do change. These are the people who are willing to challenge how things have always been done, and who won’t get disillusioned when progress takes a while.

              How to action:

  • Partner with leaders to create a culture that encourages and rewards growth mindsets. Encourage leaders to model this by picking a skill to focus on honing each year and asking employees to do the same. Importantly, failure is a key component – people with growth mindsets understand failure is part of learning and growing. So, leaders should be open about why they want to build a particular skill and any challenges they’re having in achieving it. Employees will be more likely to share their failures along the way, too.
  • Encourage employees to challenge the status quo and give them tangible ways to do it. People with a growth mindset believe the best ideas are always ahead of us, and we need to go out and find them. Establish ways for your leaders to cultivate this and for your employees to participate.

Enable Autonomy

Autonomous employees take more ownership for their work. Too often leaders think this means stepping away completely and letting the employee have complete control which, in reality, is uncomfortable for both the leader and the employee. Employees want to be trusted to make decisions and feel empowered to get the work done their way, while still having access to their leader for guidance along the way.

              How to action:

  • Encourage leaders to be clear on the end goal of a project and align with their employees on what success looks like. Then, enable autonomy by agreeing on when the leader will be involved along the way, allowing employees freedom on the rest. That’s autonomy at its best.
  • When leaders are involved along the way, work with them to ensure they’re guiding employees but leaving the ball in their court. They can ask the employee what obstacles they’re encountering and how they’ve tried to resolve them. They can ask how the employee would like them to be involved to help, if at all. Finally, they can ask the employee for feedback on how their role as coach is going from the employee’s perspective, and whether anything should change.

Cultivate Collaboration

Effective collaboration is one of the biggest predictors of whether an organization achieves success or failure -whether it innovates or falls behind the competition. And it’s a huge contributor to how employees feel about their work experience. Yet, most leaders and employees would agree that true collaboration can be difficult, requiring them to navigate across organizational silos, geographic boundaries, and more.

              How to action:

  • Start by modeling this behavior within the Human Resources function – others will take notice. While it can be tempting to recognize a single person for a job well done, take the time to understand exactly who contributed, and recognize multiple people or teams whenever possible. Also, be the first to admit when you don’t know something, identifying someone else who might instead. Collaboration isn’t about one person having all the answers, it’s about everyone contributing what they know.
  • Help teams practice effective collaboration by guiding them to ask questions and actively listen, and to share appreciative and differentiating feedback. This can feel uncomfortable and truly needs to be practiced over and over again to begin feeling natural in some cultures.

Achieve Results

Everything we’ve talked about so far will positively impact business results, so why is this a separate step in the process? Because the organization should play a critical role in guiding employees to achieve results, and to understand how their daily work contributes to the greater good. The organization creates the strategy and the plan needed to achieve it. Employees are motivated and engaged when they are included in the journey.

              How to action:

  • Ensure the organization clearly communicates its strategy, including how it will accomplish it over the long term (3-5 years) and the short term (the next 12 months).
  • Work with leaders to ensure every employee’s personal goals tie back to the organization’s goals, and that every employee understands how they contribute – directly or indirectly.
  • Encourage leaders to review their employees’ progress against goals regularly – we suggest monthly – then step out of the way and let employees get to work on their terms.

If these things were easy, every organization would be doing them well. Let’s face it – most aren’t. But we at LINX WorkForce Innovations believe it’s worth the extra effort to try, because the payoff for a positive employee experience is huge.

What would you add to this list for how to improve the employee experience? I look forward to your thoughts.

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About the Author

Marilyn has a passion for Workforce Wellness. As co-founder of LINX WorkForce Innovations, she is keen on discovering and amplifying the “Voices of Employees” who are the “Consumers of the Workplace,” so that the right WorkForce solutions can be co-created the first time. Previously, she co-founded SIVO Insights where she provides thought leadership and creative thinking for Fortune 500 companies by uncovering consumer insights and experiences. For every endeavor, she believes in the power of a strong company culture, based on authentic connections, innovative approaches and a growth mindset.