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Improving the employee experience

Candidate experience should be broadened to include the entire employment lifecycle
Employers don’t necessarily hold all the cards, and candidates will bow out of the selection process if they aren’t happy with their treatment. Shutterstock

By Brian Kreissl

I have discussed the issue of candidate experience several times over the years. The idea is organizations should review, audit and improve upon the end-to-end experience for candidates when they apply for a job as part of their overall employer branding strategy.

This is extremely important because employers don’t want to disengage or turn job applicants off. They also want to avoid having them tell everyone about their negative experiences applying for a job with the organization and having that message go viral.

In many ways, this focuses on communications with candidates and ensuring they are kept in the loop. But candidate experience is about much more than that and includes the process of applying for a job online, the company’s website, the prescreening and interview experience, interview rooms and the built environment, background and reference checks, offer packages and onboarding.

Recruitment is essentially broken in many organizations these days, and many organizations are starting to be aware of how poorly they treat candidates throughout the recruitment process. We now realize employers don’t necessarily hold all the cards, and candidates will bow out of the selection process if they aren’t happy with their treatment.

In many ways, this is a function of the tighter job market these days and the fact many candidates are starting to realize they aren’t completely powerless in their negotiations with prospective employers. Certain LinkedIn commentators like Liz Ryan, Brigette Hyacinth and Oleg Vishnepolsky are probably driving some of this change, although I would argue a few of Ryan’s recommendations to jobseekers seem a little unrealistic at times.

Examining the employment value proposition

Nevertheless, I believe the increased focus on candidate experience is resulting in employers looking more holistically at their overall employment value proposition. As a result, the concept of candidate experience can be broadened to include the overall employee experience throughout the employment lifecycle.

This is similar in a way to how some commentators make a distinction between employer branding and talent branding. Employer branding, they argue, is externally-facing and focuses on candidates, while talent branding focuses on the experience of existing and internal employees and how the organization is perceived as an employer.

What is employee experience?

In many ways, an organization’s talent brand relates to the experience of employees. According to this article published by Deloitte Insights, employers should focus holistically on employee experience rather than narrowly concentrating on organizational culture or employee engagement.

The article, entitled “The employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond,” by Josh Bersin, Art Mazor, Jason Flynn and Veronica Melian, points out that employers are beginning to care more about the overall employee experience.

Bersin and his colleagues argue improving employee experience can be supported by employee journey maps and design thinking. They point out that 80 per cent of executives surveyed rated employee experience as important or very important, but only 22 per cent thought their organizations were doing an excellent job of creating a differentiated employee experience.

The article also identified several ways to improve employee experience, including the following:

  • Improving work/life balance
  • Aligning organizational and individual goals
  • Creating programs for a multigenerational workforce
  • Considering diversity when designing work
  • Building a strong and differentiated employer brand
  • Focusing on social responsibility and community engagement
  • Providing meaningful work
  • Building trust and supportive leadership
  • Cultivating a positive work environment
  • Offering growth opportunities to employees
  • Developing a holistic recruitment to retirement employee experience

Thank you to my readers

Thank you to everyone who has read and followed my blog/column over the past eight years. I appreciate your comments not only here on the Canadian HR Reporter website, but also on social media and elsewhere.

It truly has been an interesting and engaging experience for me, and I have learned a lot about the practice of HR since I started blogging.

As many of you are aware, Canadian HR Reporter has now been acquired by HAB Press, a division of Key Media. Because I am remaining with Thomson Reuters as product development manager, the future of this blog is unclear.

Nevertheless, I do want to continue blogging on HR issues and trends either here or elsewhere. I definitely will be doing some blogging on our print blog at https://store.thomsonreuters.ca/blog/, so you can probably find me there. (Note that there is no content there as of today.)

I also wish my colleagues at Canadian HR Reporter and our Media Group all the best as they transition to the next phase in their careers.

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, HAB Press. All rights reserved.

Brian Kreissl

Brian Kreissl is the product development manager for Thomson Reuters Legal Canada's human resources, OH&S, payroll and records retention products and solutions.
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