Hack the Experience

 

At ALI’s recent Strategic Internal Communications Conference in San Francisco, we tackled one of the greatest challenges facing companies today – how to create an outstanding experience from the very first moment employees connect with your company.

Here were our challenges:

#1: The Job Hunt

How can we communicate our unique employee experience in a way that attracts and funnels the right candidates to our organization?

#2: The First 90 Days

What role can we play in ensuring that an employee’s first 90 days on the job are organized and inspiring?

#3: The Path Forward

How can we help employees begin thinking about their career path from day one?

#4: Connect the Dots

How can we communicate our unique employee experience in a way that attracts and funnels the right candidates to our organization?

 

We rolled up our sleeves, grabbed our markers and flip charts, and hacked into what it takes to inspire, motivate and engage employees, no matter the company size or industry.

Here are some of the brilliant ideas our hackers came up with!

The best people to recruit new talent into your organization are your current people

KEY FINDINGS

CHALLENGES

#1: The Job Hunt

How can we communicate our unique employee experience in a way that attracts and funnels the right candidates to our organization?

BRILLIANT INK SAYS:

  • An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) describes the mix of characteristics, benefits, opportunities and ways of working at your company, and aligns with your corporate brand.
  • To be truly effective, an EVP must accurately reflect who you are as an organization and be reinforced in every aspect of the employee experience.
  • Improperly setting expectations or poor screening processes can cause great candidates to leave or under-qualified candidates to be hired.

OUR HACKERS SAID:

  • The best people to recruit new talent into your organization are your current people – so let’s focus on tapping into employees as ambassadors.
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if the corporate narrative and EVP came from the bottom, up – rather than the usual top-down from corporate?
  • We’ll begin by asking employees to share their story on social media, describing what it’s like to work at the company, why they came and why the stay, and any relevant stories or experiences. Then we’ll challenge them to see how far their story can spread on social media.
  • Since we’re challenging our people to make their story take off on social media, we’ll call the program, “Mission to Mars.”

#2: The First 90 Days

What role can we play in ensuring that an employee’s first 90 days on the job are organized and inspiring?

BRILLIANT INK SAYS:

  • Brilliant Ink’s Employee Experience Survey found that an employee’s experience on the first day of work is strongly related to engagement with the company – negative experiences lead to lower engagement, while positive experiences lead to higher engagement.
  • Orientation should go far beyond paperwork – instead, use the opportunity to help new employees feel good about their decision to join your company. Make sure the content is inspiring and includes information that is role/function-specific. Both have been linked to higher levels of engagement far down the road.
  • Remember that onboarding extends far beyond Day 1 and orientation. But, if we’re going to expect managers to support a structured onboarding, we must provide them with the tools they need to be successful!

OUR HACKERS SAID:

  • To ensure new employees truly understand and embrace their new company and role, on-boarding must be an ongoing process with a steady stream of communications.
  • Before Day 1, new employees will receive a “goodie box” filled with all sorts of company information and branded swag, along with an iPad pre-loaded with everything they need for a successful onboarding.
  • During their first week on the job, they will be matched with a mentor, and their mentor will reach out to them – not the other way around!
  • Their iPad will deliver updates and checklists at key periods reminding them of activities to be completed and surveys to gauge progress and effectiveness. Ongoing events at the 30-day and 60-day mark will continue to support their transition, including training, lunch-and-learns, and career growth discussions with their mentors.
  • After one full year on the job, they’ll become junior mentors for new employees – ensuring the cycle goes on!

#3: The Path Forward

How can we help employees begin thinking about their career path from Day 1?

BRILLIANT INK SAYS:

  • Brilliant Ink’s Employee Experience Survey found that 2/3 of employees aren’t discussing their career path with their managers during the critical first 90 days of employment, and 40% aren’t even talking about it during annual performance reviews.
  • Managers must regularly ask employees where they see themselves headed. The annual performance review is a great time to evaluate career goals, but career planning should really be a year-round activity.
  • Seeing a future career path and discussing it at each point in the employee lifecycle is associated with much higher levels of employee engagement.

OUR HACKERS SAID:

  • Employees – especially new employees – can get easily overwhelmed by the various career paths and opportunities within an organization.
  • That’s why we’ll deliver a digital careers experience – an interactive portal that highlights job roles, titles and individual success stories. The portal will share the various paths that employees can take to get from point A to point B, and spotlight employees who have taken a non-traditional route to their current role.
  • The beauty of the careers portal is that it can provide high-level AND deeper dive information – for example, if an employee is interested in learning a new skill, they may also access information about a tuition reimbursement benefit. Or if they want to learn the inside-scoop about a particular role, they could watch a “Day in the Life” video profile.
  • But not EVERYTHING will live on the portal – there will also be departmental lunch-and-learns to hear from real employees who have taken interesting paths, resources for managers to help their people build career paths, and a recognition program based on unique job paths!

#4: Connect the Dots

How can communications help connect the dots between employees’ daily work and the bigger
picture – mission, vision, company purpose, business strategy, etc.?

BRILLIANT INK SAYS:

  • Senior leadership plays a key role in motivating employees and helping them feel inspired about the vision and work of the company. In fact, Brilliant Ink’s Employee Experience Survey found a direct correlation between employee engagement and believable, relevant and inspiring communications from leaders.
  • Employees who say that their manager has helped them see how their work connects to the company’s mission, vision, values and business strategy report higher engagement levels than those that do not. Storytelling can be particularly powerful in this regard.
  • Strategically aligned recognition programs have the power to help employees see the connection between their individual contributionand the company’s mission, vision and values.”

OUR HACKERS SAID:

  • The best way to help your people see themselves in the company strategy is to bring it to life through dynamic, interactive media.
  • We’ll create a virtual tour that enables people to see leaders and front-line workers doing work that directly drives the company strategy, and explaining their personal motivations at work.
  • Then, we’ll invite ALL employees to submit their own “Why I come to work” videos, and celebrate those stories across the organization. Celebrations can be as simple as department-wide watching parties or a companywide day off when a predetermined number of videos are submitted.
  • Another idea will take employees into an online simulator where they can walk through different at-work scenarios and make decisions that relate to the company’s strategic plan. This “choose-your- own-adventure”-style program will allow employees to explore how different actions lead to different outcomes, and ultimately see how their work connects to the company mission.

Want more information? Visit Aligning HR & Internal Communications to Boost the Employee Experience

Original material by Ann Melinger, CEO, Brilliant Ink.

 

 

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