Looking at your employee experience should be an ongoing practice. For example, as the CEO of Curriculum Associates, an education publishing company, Rob Waldron wanted to stay in touch with his staff as his team rapidly started to grow.
"I invite every employee to participate anonymously in my annual review," said Waldron. "We report the results to the entire company. This open review process has helped shed light into what makes employees happy, but we also find their pain points."
Waldron also implemented an Early Career Professionals Task Force, where employees of all ages and from various departments determined development opportunities for each demographic. These task force members then proposed pilot programs aimed at giving young professionals the direction they need to grow.
The company approved many new programs, including half-day professional shadowing, social networking events during the summer sales meeting, and peer mentorships. Through this task force, Waldron realized educating and mentoring young professionals would significantly improve the employee experience.
To create a top-notch employee experience that both engages and retains employees, here's what some of America's fastest growing companies are doing:
1. Giving them a voice.
Employees need to be heard, plain and simple. Otherwise, they're going to feel isolated, misunderstood, and disrespected.
As the CEO of DecisionWise, a management consulting firm specializing in assessment feedback and development, Tracy Maylett wanted to do more than just give employees a method of speaking up. He wanted them to feel encouraged to do so.
To begin, Maylett wanted to look inward to see how how their employee experience was perceived. The company conducted a survey and found that employees wanted a better way to improve recognition.
In response, the company created an internal webpage called, 'Own Your Voice.' Employees use this to nominate their peers and earn recognition for exceptional work. They can also add to the anonymous suggestion box on the webpage, which makes them feel more comfortable speaking up.
This gives employees autonomy over their own experience, but also it shows their leaders trust and respect them.
As a result of employees' feedback, DecisionWise made positive changes to their workplace. And when employees see they can inspire change, they're more likely to share honest feedback.
2. Knowing what unites the team.
The employee experience involves more than just a comfortable workspace. Your staff also wants to feel connected to those around them.
Determine how you want to build a strong rapport and unite your employees within your culture. When you can do this, your employees will be happier and more engaged in the day to day.
As the director of corporate communications for marketing company Digital Media Solutions, Kimberlee Bradshaw Archibald identified one thing most of their employees have in common. Because many of their team members are life-long athletes, their culture is strongly tied to competition.
"Competition is part of our DNA," she said. "In fact, each year, we host a Beach Olympics team-building event in Clearwater, Florida and have field days throughout the year."
What's more, they use what unites their culture in their branding.
"Our website and branding reflects sports and competition," Archibald continued. "We even have pictures of our founders climbing mountains and winning races on our website."
Employees at Digital Media Solutions see an extension of their values in the culture and the company's branding. This creates a strong connection between employees and the company's identity. And when your staff feels aligned, they're more engaged and satisfied.
3. Aligning employees with values.
Whatever industry your company operates in, if your employees are passionate about it and if their personal beliefs support the organization's mission and values, you're well positioned to deliver an awesome employee experience.
Unsurprisingly, Welltok, a health enterprise SaaS company, values wellness immensely. Chief People Officer Chaz Hinkle noticed that while everyone on the team is motivated by helping others, they also needed to feel motivated to help themselves.
So, they started a wellness program by leveraging their own health and well-being platform. Now, 80 percent of employees are participating in it.
"They actively engage in programs like Unplug and Chug to drink more water and Get Some Sunlight to recharge," Hinkle said. "Most activities are aligned with an incentive, such as a gift card or point toward a volunteer day, which makes the program rewarding and engaging for employees."
They also use their program to share stories about why they're committed to their health and educate employees on company goals and milestones. Employees get to follow their passions both in their personal lives and in their work experience.