A Guide to a Better Employee Experience
The Importance of Developing a Culture of Well-being
While walking around your office you may have overheard the phrase, “People are your company’s most valuable assets.” Maybe you’ve heard that employees are the ones who determine how successful a business can become. To little surprise, these statements are true!
According to Deloitte Market Research, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a clear and distinct workplace culture is key to business success.
The employees you hire are the people who will be reaching out to new customers, working to close sales with clients, and manning the front lines when those customers have questions or concerns. Equipping your company with quality employees to represent your business is crucial in providing a positive experience for your customers.
So, how do you know that you’re hiring people who will be a good fit for your organization? How do you ensure that the employees you hire are performing in a way that’s providing value to them and for your business? The answer lies in creating a culture of employee well-being in the workplace. As you build a stronger work culture, you will draw in better-suited employees who will both provide value to your business and act in-line with your company’s goals.
In this blog, we’ll help you gain a deeper understanding of what culture is, what it means to build a culture around well-being, and discuss the steps that are necessary for cultivating a strong and measurable positive employee experience.
What is Culture?
Before we dig too deep on how to build up a culture, first, it’s important to discuss what culture is – particularly a culture focused on employee well-being. A culture, essentially, consists of unwritten rules about what it means to be an employee at your company. These are the true, core values of the business. It can explain how things are done in your office. They are traits of an organization that are silently adopted by employees and are generally not taught in training exercises nor described in employee handbooks.
In terms of creating a better employee experience, a culture built to support well-being is more than just implementing a well-being program. It’s more than having exercise equipment, an open floor-plain, ping pong, and big windows to let in natural light.
While those things are nice and are generally great amenities for your employees, a culture around well-being is more than just a well-being program.
A Culture Built Around Well-being is Founded on 4 Major Considerations:
- Environmental influences: (comfort, air quality, temperature, light)
- Psychological influences: (learning, autonomy, purpose, rest, stress)
- Social influences: (relationships, management, community)
- Physical influences: (exercise, nutrition, illness, lifestyle)
A company who can truly understand and try to accommodate for each of these areas of well-being will be able to create a deeper relationship with their employees beyond putting money in their pockets (which is still an important part of the equation).
When an employee feels as though their employer genuinely cares about their well-being, they are more willing to be engaged and productive on company time.
Championing better work and working lives (CIPD) defines a well-being culture as “creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organization.” A culture should be at the foundation of your employee experience initiatives.
Why Create a Well-being Culture?
In a paper written by Iveta Gabčanová, research shows that the growth of employee satisfaction is reflected by increases in productivity, improvement in products, and quality of service. The research also demonstrates that employees have great effect on whether a business experiences success or failure.
A great business plan and a killer product or service can take you many places, but having the right employees acting as the face of the organization can make or break your business. So, how do you ensure that your employees can give you the results that you want?
Many believe that the fundamental outcome from well-being initiatives is simply to make their employees happy. Technically, they would be correct in thinking that way; however, happy employees are only one part of the big picture when creating a positive employee experience in the workplace.
You don’t just want happy employees; you want employees who are engaged in their work, who are consistently and willingly productive on company time, and who can provide your business a return on your investment. Successfully creating a shift in culture to provide a better employee experience results in a positive change in employees’ happiness and engagement.
Even more than that, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation reports employees who are more engaged in their work show astonishing changes including: a 37% decrease in absenteeism, 25% lower turnover rates in high-turnover companies and 65% lower turnover rates in low-turnover companies, upwards of 20% higher customer metrics, a 21% increase in productivity, and even a 22% raise in profitability.
It may seem intuitive and you may be thinking you’re already doing your best for your employees, so it may come as a surprise to hear employees are increasingly less satisfied and less engaged with their work. Gallup suggests only 32% of employees in the United States feel engaged with their work.
If it’s so well known that caring about employee well-being offers great results, then why are so many people still disengaged? Are organizations really trying to do right by their employees?
The answer is that many businesses aren’t truly understanding the needs of their employees. In many cases, there is a disconnect in the way management and employees view their workplace. In order to resolve these barriers, a cultural shift may be necessary to understand the needs of the company and its employees.
Greater success for the whole organization is achieved when everyone feels valued, and when everyone is working together towards a common goal.
4 Steps To Building a Well-being Culture
A cultural shift in the workplace is not easy and it certainly does not happen overnight, but it is not impossible. Changing your culture to be more attentive to the needs of the employees is a collaborative effort from everyone in the organization; from C-suite executives, to Human Resources, to the employees on the front lines – everyone must be involved.
The first step in creating a good culture is to evaluate the organization’s purpose. Think about the vision for the company, your mission, your strategies, and your goals. Knowing the direction for your business enables you to set the foundation of creating a strong culture. Consider how your business’ purpose is translated day-to-day in the office. Do your employees willingly hold the same values and goals as your company? If not, it may be time for a cultural shift.
Through employee well-being, you can create a culture that aligns employees with the purpose of your organization to unify everyone under common goals.
Examine current culture of the company in detail. Consider the behavior of your employees. Think about the expected availability of the employees, are they expected to be available 24/7/365? Do employees feel comfortable or able to take vacation time? How do employees react to management? Do they feel micromanaged? Do they feel their wages are competitive within the industry?
You must ask yourself how your employees would answer these kinds of questions. Once a company recognizes their shortcomings and their strengths in terms of culture, it can make more strategic efforts to change the way the organization operates.
Setup many different ways to listen and hear from your employees. Conduct surveys, focus groups, and discussions with employees across the company to hear, firsthand, and truly understand how they feel about the current culture of the business.
Furthermore, ask your employees, and setup different ways that they can give feedback to help you understand what types of changes they want to see. It’s important to include your employees in the creation and the implementation of the culture.
For a shift in culture to be effective, the changes made need to be generally accepted among everyone in the organization. You need to think of a cultural shift more as a permanent change in how work is conducted and less as an initiative to work on throughout the upcoming quarter.
After gathering information from your employees, it’s time to determine what types of changes need to happen. Collaborate with your organization to understand what you can do to help improve your employees’ well-being so they may feel more engaged with their work while in the office. Remember, employees who feel more engaged with their organization experience dramatic improvements in a variety of metrics. Improved engagement from employees also directly impacts your customers.
If employees feel more engaged, they are more productive, and they are generally happier while they’re at work, they will carry that energy with them during their interactions with your customers enabling for more positive experiences for everyone involved. You need to ensure you’re communicating back to them what your hearing and making shifts in policies or benefits to show you’re evolving and making decisions based-on their feedback and needs.
Employees need to know that what they’re saying matters, and that action will be taken based on the insight they share. They directly influence the directions brands take, because no one knows better than the employees on the front-lines of operation.
Finally, continue to strengthen your culture. Cultures are not built in a day and they certainly won’t last if they are not maintained or continually evolved for the long-term. It’s essential to always work to strengthen your company’s culture and provide the best employee experience possible.
Regularly meet with your employees to keep a continued understanding of what’s working and what’s not and use that information. Persistent nurture to the culture and attention to the well-being of your employees will only strengthen the relationship between your employees and your organization.
A Well-being Culture Builds a Strong Employee Community
Employees are the ones who can make or break a company. They’re the front lines of business operations. More times than not, they determine whether an organization experiences success or failure. In order to make sure your employees are not only happy, but are engaged, productive, and providing value to your business, it’s crucial to let your employees know you genuinely care about them. Create a culture rooted in caring about their well-being.
By strengthening your company’s employee well-being, you will be able to create a culture that aligns employees with the purpose of your organization. And after all, greater success for the whole organization is achieved when everyone feels valued, and is working towards a common goal.
When employees feel they are truly being cared for, their desire to be engaged and work hard rises. Make it a mission to make your company more than just a job for your employees, create a strong community of people who are working together toward a common goal.