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EX (Employee Experience) – is this getting the focus it deserves? - Article by Kirsty Forsyth

EX (Employee Experience) – is this getting the focus it deserves?

2017 seemed to have a firm focus on the external environment, with the snap election, Brexit, significant levels of uncertainty and the internal focus seemed to be largely driven by new regulations such as the Gender Pay Gap Reporting and GDPR. Overlay this with the Apprenticeship levy, removal of tribunal fees, key decisions on worker status, already lean HR departments had enough on their plate! But, with the “War on Talent” intensifying and companies needing to increasingly stay ahead of their competitors, the focus needs to be on employees.

I have a real interest in this area and have read much on EX – Employee Experience. Following my own research on all the HR forums and articles on LinkedIn, HR Director and Forbes, the majority of businesses are now competing on a more or less a level playing field when it comes to CX (Customer Experience) and so it is no longer enough to make this the primary corporate strategy of an organisation. Businesses are having to look elsewhere to stay ahead of their competition. Indeed, the two are by definition linked, as by focusing on improving your employee experience, your customer experience will naturally improve.

With so much still uncertain in the external environment surely managing and influencing the internal environment of an organisation would be a beneficial move. And by this being focused on EX you will encompass all aspects.

So what is EX?

EX is an accumulation of everything an employee experiences through all levels of interactions with an organisation. This includes the employee lifecycle in its entirety from that first communication as a potential recruit all the way through to that final goodbye as the employee exits.

As a recruiter I have exposure to the first level of EX that potential employees experience and the reality on the ground is that a lot of organisations are falling at the first hurdle. No longer can they hide behind their employer branding and with the boom of social media. Organisations now have an uncontrolled voice that exposes the reality of the internal environment through platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

The world of recruitment is becoming consumerised and job seekers across the board are in fact ‘shopping’ for a new job based on brands and their digitalised reviews. If the reviews do not match the requirements and views of the job seeker they simply won’t “buy” the product and the potential talent is lost, before the organisation has the chance to interact with the applicant.

Over the last 18 months I have seen an increase in candidates withdrawing their applications following a ‘bad impression’ which can include; lack of speed, mainly around feedback on initial application and/or interview feedback, lack of clarity around the job role and responsibilities and a generalised chaos around the recruitment process. Quite rightly this is the first impression a candidate gets of an organisation and if it is a bad one they will either be snapped up by the competition or will simply disregard any opportunity with said organisation now or in the future.

For me, there does need to be a focus on taking things back to basics. The branding and digital presence are vital, but what creates a negative impression with candidates is the basics of how they are dealt with through the process. Companies that recognise this and focus on excelling in this area are the ones that get the “best” in the market – and this applies at all levels.

So ensure your process has a strong timeframe and this adhered to. People are given comprehensive information about the role and the business – warts and all. See feedback as an important part of the process. And stick to what you have said you will do, too many businesses still try and get some savings at the last minute by reducing the salary offer – this is incredibly counter-productive, and completely against what EX tried to achieve.

I am predicting that EX will increase in importance throughout 2018 and beyond.

 

Kirsty Forsyth HR Recruitment Consultant – South

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