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(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Neocase, a provider of cloud solutions for HR transformation. For 20 years, Neocase has been offering solutions to improve the employee experience. They recently announced a new Employee Journey solution that provides a customizable complete onboarding to offboarding experience. Enjoy the article!)
One of the things I believe people are craving right now is consistency. For example, when I go to my favorite restaurant, I want a meal that’s as good as the last time I was there. From a consumer perspective, organizations link consistency to their brand and customers connect a company’s brand to the experience they receive.
The same thing applies to employees. Organizations have an employment brand that sends the message, “This is what the employee experience will be like if you work here.” Based on that messaging, candidates apply and get hired. They expect an employee experience that’s consistent with what they were told during the interview.
Journey Mapping Creates a Consistent Employee Experience
So how can organizations make sure they deliver a consistent employee experience? The answer begins with journey mapping. A journey map is a visual overview of how an employee interacts with the organization. Examples of journey maps might include:
- The onboarding experience including preboarding, orientation, and onboarding.
- Business process automation (BPA) tools such as the process for employee leave of absence paperwork.
- The performance management process including the manager’s role, employee’s role, and HR’s role.
- The offboarding experience, including final paychecks, COBRA administration, and rehire considerations.
These are examples of processes we want to be consistent and fair. Organizations use journey maps to ensure that steps aren’t forgotten. Because inconsistency can often lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. For instance, when one employee receives a box of new hire welcome swag, but another employee doesn’t. Or when a manager calls an employee while they’re out on leave, but another manager forgets to make a call.
Now, some people might say, “Oh, those differences are small.” Or “The oversight wasn’t intentional.” And you’re right – in both situations. But it’s not realistic to think that employees won’t notice or be concerned. If the company missed out on the little things, employees would wonder if there were big things they forget too? What else did the company accidentally forget to tell me?
These inconsistencies can hurt trust. It can impact employee engagement. And if another opportunity comes along where the employee feels they will get a more consistent experience, well…maybe the employee will take it.
That’s why journey mapping can be a valuable tool in creating a consistent employee experience. It allows the organization to intentionally map out – design and document – what should be done. All stakeholders from executives to managers to HR to employees can see their role in the process. And everyone buys into their responsibility in the process.
One point to note: Creating a journey map doesn’t mean that the process will always be exactly the same every single time. Because sometimes unique circumstances do exist. But those unique situations get handled for what they are – exceptions to the rule.
Getting Started with Journey Mapping
It isn’t difficult to get started with journey mapping. Our friends at Neocase have put together an online journey mapping template and instruction guide to get you started. The Excel file is downloadable and very intuitive.
I could see putting the template in a shared drive so all stakeholders had access to it. Then everyone could do an initial brain dump with no judgements. Make the goal to just get everything on the template. I liked the online format because it allows stakeholders who are working remotely or in a different time zone to contribute. Then depending on what the document looks like, put together a structured process for reaching consensus and refining the comments.
No denying it could be messy at moments, but journey mapping allows the organization to get everyone on the same page when it comes to executing important strategies – like the employee experience – in a consistent way.
I don’t have to tell anyone that we’ve been seeing voluntary quits at all-time highs. And even if the recruiting market does slow down, the search for the best talent will not. Organizations define themselves by the quality of their employees. They are the people who build a company’s product and deliver a company’s service.
Delivering an exceptional employee experience is necessary for employee retention. And the key to exceptionalism is giving employees consistency.
P.S. If you want to learn more about journey mapping, specifically how to use a journey map to improve employee performance, I hope you’ll listen to this webinar on “Using Journey Maps to Improve Employee Performance”. It’s a great conversation about the benefits and practical uses for journey maps.28