How to design your employee journey map
Quality of experience is arguably the most important factor when rating a workplace. When employees are treated well and feel positive about their overall experience, everyone involved stands to benefit. The employees themselves experience fulfillment and productivity, the managers are satisfied with their performance, and the business as a whole reaps the benefits of positive morale.
Creating an employee journey, where employees consider their experiences to be of a high quality, is not something that happens by chance. Each step of the employee experience needs to be anticipated, considered and carefully mapped so that it can be encountered and enjoyed in a way that maximises its potential.
From the moment the employee scrolls through your job advertisement and clicks ‘apply’, every milestone of their experience needs to be fashioned in a way that understands their needs, challenges and potential pain points – all with the intention of making their journey at the company a pleasant and enriching one.
Treat the employee journey like you would the customer journey
In order to keep customers satisfied, analysing every element of their experience with your company under a microscope has become widespread. As part of the evolving company strategy, each interaction that a customer has with the company’s brand is scrutinised, tweaked, tested, iterated and then reiterated.
While taking customer experience seriously has become a mainstream way of doing business, an employee’s journey, on the other hand, has been given less attention by business owners. For many business owners, the salaries and bonuses they pay to their employees is the extent of their investment in employee experience.
But failing to monitor and work on the quality of employee experience not only has a detrimental impact on employee morale, but can also negatively impact the quality of customer experience.
If a business owner or manager wants to run their company in a forward thinking and contemporary manner, they need to come to the understanding that it is just as important to map the journey of an employee as a customer.
Customers might be buying your product or services, but your employees are buying into your culture
Regardless of the specific role they hold in your business, each employee plays an important role in the day-to-day operation of your company and its ability to sell to your customers. If your employees don’t buy into your company culture, it will have a trickle-down effect on your bottom line.
So, putting a focus on employee experience shouldn’t be viewed as an ‘extra’ or a ‘nice to have’ – it is an essential part of running an outstanding business.
Categorising your people
Now that we’re all on the same page about the importance of employee experience, let’s take a closer look into what employee journey mapping actually looks like.
Mapping out your employee experience is a multi-dimensional exercise and doesn’t work when a one-size-fits-all approach is taken. Instead, employees should be segmented, the same way customer personas are built out.
For instance, a sales associate will encounter very different experiences and challenges to what a payroll officer will face throughout their tenure at your organisation. So, a different map needs to be formulated for the different categories that exist within your business.
Once you’ve identified the different personas and categories that exist within your company, the persona-specific journey map you develop is far more likely to be both realistic and useful.
The employee experience framework
Across all categories and personas, an employee’s experience at a company will typically consist of four stages. When building an employee journey map, understanding these four stages and how they differ between employees should form the basis and framework for what you’re trying to achieve.
The four stages of this framework are:
Onboarding includes everything from the wording of the job advertisement and the medium used to conduct an interview, to the remuneration package negotiation and the employee’s orientation at the company premises.
You don’t get a second chance at a first impression – and the onboarding stage of the employee experience is your only chance to solidify the quality of that first impression. The first two weeks at a new company greatly impacts the employee and how long they will stay there.
The initial process of motivating the employee to perform their job is the second phase of the employee experience framework. Making the employee feel appreciated and important, and inspiring them to feel a sense of loyalty and devotion to the organisation is what this stage is all about.
Achieving this takes time, and the experiences the employee has and the messages they are given during these formative stages will strongly influence the way they identify with the organisation for the long term.
3) Maintaining engagement
Starting a fire is one thing, but keeping the fire going is a whole different beast. Maintaining engagement is an ongoing part of an employee’s journey and requires constant innovation due to the dynamic nature of most workplaces and roles. This stage is also where you should be considering promotion and career opportunities for each type of employee.
Employee turnover is part of running a business, and in the event that an employee decides to move on from your company, their off-boarding process is the culmination of their entire journey and must therefore be treated with care.
Read: Mastering the off-boarding process through effective handovers
Using these four stages as the framework for your employee journey mapping will ensure that the process is end-to-end, consistent and considers the entire picture.
A timely example: Mapping for a global health crisis
After considering the various factors relating to an employee’s experience in the stages outlined above, an organisation’s employee journey maps are likely to be diverse and extensive.
Here is an example of how an HR manager might approach preparing an employee experience map for certain team members in a specific (and rather timely) scenario – a global health crisis journey map for a sales associate.
Read: Reprioritising HR in light of COVID-19
Mapping the employee journey through a global health crisis essentially means pre-empting the way the crisis will impact the life of this sales associate. It means placing yourself in the shoes of the employee and trying to find the pain points that they are likely to experience.
The first step is to take a deep dive into their role and try to understand the things that they require in order to do their job.
For a sales associate, those things might include:
- Access to a lead pool
- Internet access
- Quiet spaces to hold phone calls
When a global health crisis hits, each of those things might come under threat. The lead pool might dry up, the employee’s internet quality at home might be poor, and they may not have any quiet places outside of the office to hold a sales phone call.
Anticipating the journey means finding solutions to all of these problems in advance, so if and when such a situation arises, all you need to do is pull the trigger on your well thought-out plan.
- You’ve already held discussions with your sales team to learn about the other capabilities they have and how they can be put to use during a time when leads are scarce
- You’ve researched portable internet connection options that can be easily accessed and configured for employees who don’t have reliable internet connections
- The company has several pairs of noise cancelling headphones that make sales calls in noisy environments more manageable
Of course, each company’s map for each category of employee will (and should) look different. The idea is for the HR manager to look ahead and prepare the workplace so as to keep its employees content and nurtured every step of the way.
Developing the map with the relevant teams
Employee experience mapping needs to be done collaboratively if it is to serve its purpose. Take the onboarding process for example. In order to create a multi-dimensional map that considers all factors, the HR manager needs to liaise with almost all of the other teams within the organisation. To create a pleasant application experience that addresses all potential pain points, both the marketing and the tech teams need to be spoken with. To ensure the interview process is well managed and mapped out properly, the recruitment and interview team need to be consulted.
Journey mapping is all about breaking down barriers and being prepared to do whatever it takes to see the process through to the end. By taking an open-minded approach and collaborating with anyone who can enhance the experience of the employee, you’re well on your way to mapping out your current and future employees’ journeys effectively.
Use employee insights
Imagining the future and every potential challenge, set back or pain point can certainly be effective for HR managers, but if you’re not the person directly experiencing these scenarios, using this as your sole method of creating a journey map will be limiting.
That’s where gathering feedback from your employees becomes useful. Continuing with the above example, if you offer your sales team the opportunity to share their feedback and insights on how they’re handling the current pandemic, the chances are that you’ll learn a fortune about the needs of your current and future employees.
Employee journey mapping is different to personal development
Employees’ career development is a topic that their specific team leader needs to work on with them, and not something that can be mapped out or prepared for in advance. Plans can be made and timelines can be discussed, but working on the career and personal development journey of an employee is a far more sensitive and targeted process that needs to be treated with its own unique approach.
Journey mapping is in some ways opposite to personal development. It’s about showing your employees that you care about their overall experience at your organisation by shaping their journeys, so they experience little hindrance when trying to achieve their goals.
If employee experience mapping is to be effective, it needs to be done in a way that anticipates employees’ every milestone (small or big), but still leaves room for them to write their own stories within that framework.
Employee journey mapping is one part of the larger employee experience puzzle. Wondering what the full picture looks like? Check out Your Ultimate Guide to a Killer Employee Experience!