According to Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist, “You must invest in becoming an experience-led business, which means optimizing every customer touch point. As you study all phases of a customer’s journey with your brand, you’ll be able to isolate where you aren’t meeting expectations or where you are outright alienating prospects and customers. By addressing these shortcomings, you can ensure better experiences that empower your prospects and customers to interact with and purchase from your company as they desire.”

A large health system client engaged InfoWorks to document and evaluate their current and ideal state employee experience in order to activate their Employee Value Proposition and prioritize their Human Resources Strategy. InfoWorks developed employee personas and journey maps highlighting key touchpoints in the employee experience and describing the unique needs and pain points of specific employee cohorts – nurses, directors, executives and individual contributors.

What is an employee persona?
An employee persona is a semi-fictional representation of a group of employees with similar traits, experiences and behaviors. They’re based on internal organizational data and insights into the individuals that make up the workforce, and they are brought to life by building a narrative around them.

What is an employee journey map?
An employee journey map is a visual representation of the major experiences the employees have with the organization. It helps to tell the story of the employee’s experience with your brand from first to last engagement, which hopefully becomes a long-term relationship.

Journey Mapping Process
The first step in documenting the employment journeys was to assemble internal data. Our client organization was rich with internal primary data sources, such as feedback from focus groups, enterprise-wide engagement surveys and onboarding and exit interviews capturing direct feedback from leadership, nurses and colleagues. InfoWorks researched and analyzed these internal data sources, along with comments of current and former colleagues from sites such as Glassdoor, to identify themes in the experience of the employee cohorts. This primary source data also provided numerous direct quotes to undergird the themes we discovered and give life to the employee personas.

The second step was to categorize the issues/experiences that surfaced in the data into chronological stages in the employee life cycle. We assigned the following four stages to all employee journeys:

Stage 1 – Talent Acquisition: Everything from application to first day on the job
Stage 2 – Onboarding: First 90 days, including orientation and training
Stage 3 – Ongoing Experience: “Moments that matter” in employment tenure. This may include a promotion, performance reviews, time away from work due to the birth of a child, continuing education, a raise, etc.
Stage 4 – Exit Transition: Resignation, termination or retirement

Once we had standardized categories for the stages of the employee journey, we mapped positive and negative inflection points along the employee life cycle stages for each employee cohort. We then identified themes that surfaced consistently in the personas and journey maps.

As the client organization was interested in emulating best in class practices outside the healthcare space, we benchmarked the organization’s performance on these inflection points against organizations across various industries that are noted for providing an exceptional experience to employees and customers. We utilized maturity models for each of the major themes identified to assess the level of change needed to achieve industry benchmarks relative to their current level of performance. We also identified specific improvement opportunities and presented recommendations to realize an ideal employee experience.

What We Learned
In the beginning, we were concerned about condensing the experiences of tens of thousands of employees down to three or four personas and journey maps. But what we found was that while certain cohorts of employees may have different priorities (for example, entry-level employees may care most about salary and the amount of PTO days, while directors may care most about development and advancement opportunities available), the elements that comprise a positive employee experience were the same for all employees:

• A streamlined recruiting process with good communication
• Systems access on day one
• Thorough onboarding and training
• Standardized access to development and advancement opportunities
• A total rewards package that includes flexibility, enough PTO, generous leave benefits and fair compensation

Placing oneself in the shoes of another and following their path through a process will inevitably result in powerful insights to center an organization around its employees or customers. Exposing where an organization is falling short on critical elements of the employee experience makes for a challenging message to deliver. A key component of organizational readiness to benefit from this type of project is a willingness to look at flaws and act on them.

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