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The 21st Century Employee Experience

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My grandad worked for The Bank of Scotland until he succumbed to stress and a fatal heart attack at the premature age of 50. My dad started at the The Bank of Scotland aged 16 and worked there until statutory retirement kicked in and he was kicked out at 60.

Whilst I was just starting secondary school, my dad gave me a very stern piece of advice; think beyond The Bank of Scotland. In fact, think anywhere beyond The Bank of Scotland. (I’m pleased to say, this was one of the few times I did actually listen to him).

Now in my 50’s myself, I look around and see how much the workplace has changed during the last thirty years or so. But this pales into insignificance when I think how much the employee experience has changed in just the last ten.

The career path and experience of the modern employee bears almost no resemblance to any of the generations I’ve mentioned, including my own. Almost every single aspect of how a candidate embarks on the journey to become a valued employee has changed beyond all recognition.

It’s important to point out that this change has largely been positive. Candidates, employees and employers seem to working far better and far more synergistically than ever before and a truly virtuous circle appears to have developed.

Here’s how it seems to flow:

Awareness - Through a company’s website, social media and online news articles, potential candidates can become tuned into what an employer stands for, what its vision and values are, what achievements it has made and what type of employee it is looking for to fulfil its purpose.

Alignment - If these facts and facets chime with the candidate looking for work, then they have an opportunity to explore potential employment in greater depth and try to find out more about the culture of the company in question. Talking to people who already work there would be a common starting point. Are they brand detractors or brand ambassadors?

Application - The dance begins. Does the employer like the candidate? Does the candidate like the employer? Today’s candidates are far more choosy about who they wish to work for. A good employer will note down a candidate’s ambitions and store them for potential future career progression.

Recruitment - The candidate gets an offer and happily accepts. The hiring process varies enormously from company to company, but employers who treat candidates with respect and openness are the ones who consistently attract and then retain the best talent.

Immersion – Nowadays I’m told this is called Onboarding, but that makes me think of waterboarding, so I’m going to stick with immersion. It’s how a company introduces its policies, its ambitions and its expectations in terms of individual performance and delivery. Carried out properly, immersion makes a huge difference to a new recruit’s confidence levels and they hit the ground running.

Development - An employee learns about professional expectations and career progression options that are open to them. Training both on and offline is common in most organisations and HR should take time to explain what is mandatory and what is likely to be seen as self determination within a particular career path.

Reviews - Feedback, advice and the provision of a constant sounding board are all massively important for employees. People want to know how they are faring, what they should stop doing and what they should start doing more of. Regular benchmarking can be informal, but a formal review at least once a year is essential to make employees understand and appreciate that their contribution is important to the ongoing functionality and success of the business.

Recognition - Reward is a motivating factor across all of humanity.  Employees who have tangible proof that they’ve done a great job and the clarity that it hasn’t gone unnoticed will always feel more valued and likely to stay within an organisation. Recognition cannot be underestimated when it comes to engagement and a sense of belonging within the wider business. It also helps create the brand ambassadors I spoke of under ’Alignment.’

These eight points are in no way exhaustive, but they do give an accurate snapshot of a 21st Century employee experience.  At iMultiply we are acutely aware of our responsibility to bring best practice to the search industry and we always strive to find better way of matching appropriate candidates with appropriate employers. 

David Reid, Marketing Director