13th April 2018
Mark Murdoch, Customer Experience Manager at Anabas, discusses the employee journey and how this can benefit your business, your employees and your customers.
Richard Branson once said, “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” And this has never been truer. As an employer, it is your responsibility to create great experiences for employees as well as customers. Known as employee journey mapping – get this right and the rest will most definitely follow.
Contrary to popular belief, training is not just about teaching, guiding and shaping your workforce; it’s also about planning for the success of your business and great retention will reap huge rewards for your reputation.
Training should be a journey, it should be ongoing and it should develop based on the individuals in your organisation, your customer’s needs, changes in the industry and legislation. It’s vital to also remember however, that delivery wise, no one size fits all. Online training has its place, as does learning in the classroom environment but not all training has to be this formal. Learning on the job, shadowing, being mentored and practical skills sessions are all relevant too. The secret is to have a structure – and I would suggest there are four key stages – but to remain adaptable to the situation and circumstances.
Stage One – Recruitment
Recruitment is all about hiring for attitude and training for skill. This is where the employee journey begins. Businesses can benefit from recruiting individuals who show drive, ambition, motivation and a desire to learn. It’s normal to search for the perfect candidate with the perfect experience but it’s also important to find someone who will fit into your culture, who can become an ambassador, who wants to work for your business and who will push themselves to meet and exceed expectations.
Interviews are as important for you as they are for the candidate. Regardless of whether you hire an individual, it’s in your best interest to ensure their experience is as positive as possible. Your reputation is invaluable and being seen as a destination employer will benefit you hugely.
It is also worth considering that whilst a candidate may seemingly look great on paper and tick all the boxes, remember to always ask yourself, would they fit in the team? Would they work in your organisation and do they really understand what the role entails? A practical way to gain real insight and to help make a final decision is by providing a ‘Day in the Life’ trial shift.
Stage two – induction
A formal induction should form part of every organisations HR process. This is a vital stage in the employee journey and sets the foundation for the road ahead. Good induction training ensures new starters can settle quickly and should cover off the basics such as shift patterns, holidays, sickness and any other company policies they need to know about. Induction is the time to communicate the mission, vision, values and aims of your business to set out expectations and to define clear expectations. Practically speaking, this is when your new starter is given the correct tools to do the job they have been hired for and also the knowledge on how to maintain and care for them. Basic training requirements should be mapped out at this stage and necessary skills should always be taught by subject matter experts. It’s no use using an FM manager to teach about the practicalities of cleaning techniques, the showing and sharing of skills is a more efficient and effective way to train. Once any additional needs have been identified, ongoing training can then be planned.
The first few weeks, or bedding in period, is also the best time to create a ‘Development Journal’ which can cover an initial period – I would recommend the first three months. Not only is this self empowering for the employee, it will also help to reinforce their decision to work for your business because it demonstrates opportunity and provides the perfect start to their employee journey.
Stage three – Ongoing Development
Monthly progress meetings with a line manager should feed into annual appraisals. A ‘Personal Development Plan’ will also benefit both the business and employee.
It is also not always necessary to wait until milestones have been reached to discuss progression. Try not to hold staff back with a rigid training and development calendar. All too often, an overly formal approach to training can stifle individuals. Consider a more organic way to develop your staff. Allow mentors and line managers to nurture and encourage them to push themselves daily. Why not offer bite size chunks of training, increased responsibility and allow them to shadow others in a different role or at a higher level to experience firsthand what is expected.
Your employees are your ambassadors, treat them well, provide them with opportunity, recongise and reward hard work and in turn you will be rewarded. Remember that retention is a powerful message for all staff and candidates. As Richard Branson has also been known to say, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Stage 4 Departure
The final stage brings us to departure. Employee journeys will always end at some point and so be sure to use the exit interview as an opportunity to really understand why the individual is leaving the business. This is your chance to leave a final and lasting positive impression. However, there will of course be times when the terms may not be entirely favourable and so this should be used as an opportunity to identify if there are any recurring themes with previous leavers. If so, ask yourself if you can take some learning points away that will enable you to pre-emt, anticipate and eliminate any more departures for the same reasons?
So now you see that mapping the employee journey is more than just ticking boxes; it’s about creating a happy and fulfilled workforce who will remain your ambassadors from start to finish. The smiles on reception will be genuine; you won’t have to worry about customers overhearing hushed and negative conversations. Positivity is infectious and never underestimate the influence your employees can have on your customers.