The past 16 years of my life were spent designing fantastic experiences for attractions worldwide, honing in on human behavior to produce something genuinely guest-centric. We would chart their visitation journey, make note of possible emotions, and how to influence those emotions and support their physical needs. When I decided to pivot and start working on employee experience with Patterson Consulting Group, people wondered how it would translate. Is she suggesting Ferris Wheels in company parking lots? Instagrammable foods in the employee café? It turns out employee experience design is much deeper than putting a ping pong table on it, and it all starts by mapping the employee journey.
When thinking about the path our future/current team members might take, it's important to remember that they are taking a continuous, daily trek. It seems obvious when you look at the timeline above, but what happens is that HR and leadership teams can sometimes break these steps down to simple tasks and to-do lists for themselves, completed and off their plates ASAP. But for every application, payroll form, insurance discussion, or promotion, the employee has seen that in the linear, the micro-steps in their time with the company. How connected and well-planned they find this path will create their impression of the employee experience and return on the employer brand.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be breaking down the milestones in the employee lifecycle for a deeper dive into what HR and leadership teams can do to fulfill their mission and strategic business goals. A word you'll see a lot--Emotion. It's critical to understand that work and looking for work is rife with stressors. Just because work is a pervasive, needed aspect of our daily lives doesn't mean we are immune to the ups and downs of any of it. You spend a third of your life working, whether in the office or a hybrid situation and assuming that people can leave their emotions out of their work is unreasonable. It's also not human-centric in a world that so heavily prizes guest experience.
We need to work with employee emotion, not against it. Take, for example, the uncertainty of your next paycheck, one of the most unsettling events a human will face. Now tie that to a demoralizing loss of identity people face between jobs. According to Dawn R. Norris at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, "many of the people in my study said it was the most important thing to them, even beyond financial problems" she said. And those who listed financial concerns as their top source of stress often cited a perceived loss of identity as a close second. So what can you do when hiring, knowing people might feel this way? We will get into that in the next article, but in the meantime, maybe stop ghosting their emails, even if you can't offer them anything.
Remember, you have an employee experience whether you intentionally design one. You want to be ahead of that perception, not behind it, doing intense cleanup for the issues that have arisen. You can be the change in the workplace, creating an environment where employees truly thrive.