If I were to ask you which is more important to a successful business, the employee or the client, what would you answer? It's a tough call and either choice could be right depending on your circumstance. However, I would argue the employee is more important to ensuring a company is successful because great employees attract and keep great clients. So then why aren’t we investing more in our employees, and more importantly, how do we attract and keep great employees? The answer lies in mapping the employee journey.
To understand the employee journey and the imprint your firm is making, we will look at five key steps along the path of an employee.
- It all begins with awareness or the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. The key word being perception. How do candidates perceive you? Perception of a potential candidate can come from many sources:
- Knowing an employee
- Speaking to your clients or vendors
- Articles and information disseminated by your firm
- Research on the internet
- Your website and social media pages
All of these are related to your brand. Brand awareness is equally important for HR to comprehend. A simple way to start to understand your brand is to ask exemplary employees: What did you know about our company before you interviewed and what made you choose us? This question can give you insight into your brand and what to do more of to ensure you know employee perception and the source of that info.
- The interview phase is another area that creates an impression. Not only for those you hire, but those you don’t. There are resources like Glassdoor that provide potential candidates insight on what the interview process is like and what it’s like to work at the firm. Do you know what is being said about your firm? The interview phase should give a candidate a sense of what it would be like to work for the firm and what will be expected. Recruiting and interviews are also a great time to build your network. You never know where the best candidate or client might come from. Even if you decide this person is not the candidate for this position, think about these things:
- Could they fit another current or future position?
- Do you know another position outside of your company?
- Is this a person that could be great for networking?
- Did you leave a positive impression while telling them they didn’t get the position?
- The on-boarding phase can say a lot about a company. Firms that don’t have a formal process may find employees quickly leaving. Employees want their own manager to take charge, not HR. Firms should still be focused on recruiting an employee even after hiring. Additionally, on-boarding isn’t completed within the first week or even month of hire. Here are some things to think about when developing your on-boarding program:
- Do you have a checklist for your onboarding?
- Does the new hire have a place to sit and a computer to work on?
- Is the hiring manager there on the employee’s first day?
- Who are the mentors to train this new hire?
- Who is responsible for reviewing company policy items, i.e. Timesheets, Expenses, Social Media, 401k, Healthcare, etc.
- Do you have 3, 6 and 9-month goals and expectations outlined?
- If local, who takes them on a tour and welcomes them?
- The retention phase is the most vital stage for both the employee and the company. The relationship between an employee and employer will have its ups and downs, but continuous feedback and formal reviews will ensure everyone is on the same page. The needs of both the employee and employer must be balanced. Establishing goals, offering feedback and discussing a career path provide multiple benefits to the organization:
- Decreases turnover
- Increases employee loyalty
- Increases employee referral
- Differentiates the firm from competition
- Creates a more engaged company culture
- The exit phase is not a phase that many companies plan for, but firms should have a process in place for when an employee leaves. Just like onboarding, your firm should have a checklist. How will you transition clients, projects and job duties? Capturing institutional knowledge and minimizing single points of failure can be critical to the success of the firm. Lastly, remember that an exiting employee could become a client, vendor, or maybe even return to your firm, so be sure to keep the line of communication open.
The entire employee journey with your firm should be as positive as possible. Each of the five key phases is significant to ensuring your firm is perceived well by employees. Creating a good impression of your firm is essential to attract and retain the best employees. Check out our webinar to learn more about how your firm can increase its HR effectiveness by properly marketing itself.