It's impossible to overstate the role that employee experience (EX) plays in productivity, workplace culture, and overall business success. Happy, engaged employees perform better, stay in the organization longer, and are more likely to recommend your company to other talents in your industry.

Employee journey mapping allows you to assess employee experience throughout an employee's tenure: identifying pain points and developing a plan for improvement. Learn how to glean valuable insights throughout the employee journey mapping process and use your knowledge to boost employee engagement and enhance the entire employee experience.

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What is the employee journey?

The employee journey, also known as the employee lifecycle, comprises the employee's entire relationship with the company, from the initial application at a career fair to the moment the employee leaves the organization.

Whether the employee spent decades or only months at the company, the typical employee journey includes the following stages:

  • Recruiting: The hiring process includes all the steps from resume screening to job interviews and signing a work contract.
  • Onboarding: The onboarding process introduces employees to the organization's values, culture, vision, and structure.
  • Engaging: This phase covers an employee's integration into their new team, connecting with their direct manager, and setting initial goals.
  • Development: During the development phase, an employee settles into a work routine, has their first performance review, and performs future performance planning.
  • Progress: The employee's upward progress within the organization includes promotions, professional career development, and assuming additional responsibilities. Some employees never reach this stage but pass directly from development to offboarding.
  • Offboarding: The employee's resignation, dismissal, or retirement.

The employee's entire journey includes major events like the first job interview, important moments in career advancement, performance reviews, and more. Employee experiences during those key moments often determine the employee's level of engagement, job satisfaction, and loyalty to the organization.

What is employee journey mapping?

Most business strategists and entrepreneurs know the term "customer journey mapping," which describes the stages from initial interest to becoming a loyal customer for an archetypal customer persona. Although the customer journey varies, the typical customer journey map includes motivation, search, evaluation, conversion, and loyalty.

Just as a customer's journey map can offer valuable insights for improving customer satisfaction, an employee journey map can benefit both the employee and the company. Employee journey mapping helps HR teams and company managers improve the employee experience by identifying the strong and weak points throughout the typical employee's lifecycle. A great way to identify these strengths and challenges in the employee experience journey is to check in on your team with employee experience survey questions.

For example, if company data points out that many employees run into difficulties during their first weeks in the company, HR can create a work plan that focuses on new employees and helps them achieve a smoother onboarding experience.

On a practical level, the employee journey map is a table that gives leaders and managers a bird's-eye view of the core stages a typical employee goes through, points out moments that matter, and highlights the expectations and difficulties of each step in the journey.

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Why employee journey mapping is so important

In a large organization, an individual employee's experience may fall through the cracks simply because managers and team leaders are too busy or unaware of the potential problems that may crop up during key moments in the employee's career. For instance, a direct manager might not realize that a specific new team member needs a little extra support at the start of their employee journey.

Employee journey mapping helps circumvent these difficulties by increasing awareness of what each employee needs throughout their journey within the organization.

Learn more about what matters to your team by implementing an invaluable employee feedback system.

The many benefits of employee engagement make it a pillar of business success. Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and more loyal to the company. Employee journey maps help keep employees engaged by zeroing in on steps that require attention, like onboarding or transitioning to a new department.

Additionally, an employee journey map can:

  • Help managers visualize employee experience by presenting the employee journey in a clear, easily viewable format.
  • Highlight pain points like an inattentive onboarding process or inefficient performance management.
  • Save your organization time and money by improving communication, productivity, and employee retention.

The 5 steps for creating efficient employee journey maps

So how do you create an accurate and helpful employee journey map? Let's look into the stages in the employee experience journey mapping process.

1. Gathering data

Start with statistics that you already have, like turnover rates, the average length of employee tenure in your company, or the most common reasons for resignation that employees share in their exit interviews.

Clue in to topline insights on the state of the employee experience to learn how companies and leaders can shape this new landscape.

Next, study your employees' opinions on their work goals, needs, expectations, and challenges. The best and most efficient way to gather this information is through employee surveys. A streamlined, people-oriented platform like Officevibe can help you run quick custom surveys to evaluate EX in your company.

2. Creating employee personas

Employee personas are fictional but believable archetypes of employees in your organization. This concept derives from the user experience (UX): just as you have "John Smith, 42, lives in California, tech-savvy and loyal to brands he trusts," you can have "Mary Moore, 30, started at Accounts 6 months ago, excited to work with us."

Employee personas may include:

  • Adam, 24, fresh out of college. Entry-level data analyst with motivation to boot but minimal experience. Thrives with ongoing learning and constant communication.
  • Steve, 38, IT support. Married with young children. A highly efficient, results-driven employee who prioritizes flexibility and independence.
  • Victoria, 50, CMO. A senior manager who recently joined the organization as head of the marketing team. Organized, communicative, and focused on problem-solving.

3. Identifying moments that matter for each persona

Understandably, Adam, Steve, and Victoria each have different goals, expectations, and potential obstacles within the company, which will influence their journey mapping.

Adam may require additional training and will work hard toward a promotion. His level of engagement may drop, and he may start looking at job postings if his advancement within the company is slower than he expects.

Steve will appreciate flexible hours that allow him to spend more time with his children. An adaptable work schedule and generous health insurance coverage for the whole family will cement his loyalty to the company.

Victoria is a go-getter who values the freedom to make bold decisions. She thrives on recognition and will work even harder if the organization applauds her efforts during performance reviews.

4. Creating an employee experience journey map

Once you have created the personas, you can proceed to the employee mapping process, leaning on your statistics and experience within the organization. Focus on crucial moments like onboarding, performance reviews, progressing to new positions, or the exit interview. For example:

  • Adam has a positive onboarding experience and shows a lot of promise. However, a year later, he accepts a job offer with a different company, citing a lack of opportunities for professional advancement as his main reason for quitting.
  • Steve leaves the company after five years when he moves to a different state. His exit takes place on friendly terms and he remains an enthusiastic advocate for the company.
  • Victoria considers resigning when some of the senior management criticizes her strategies. Acknowledging her accomplishments during a company-wide meeting helps avoid the loss of a valuable employee.

Make your team members' day by sending them a heartfelt employee recognition message!

5. Taking action

Look at each employee journey map and try to come up with solutions to improve EX at each crucial point. For example, more open communication during Adam's first performance review could have helped align expectations and a career development program may have boosted his job satisfaction.

Ask yourself:

  • What can we do to give promising candidates the support they need during online and offline recruitment?
  • How can we improve performance management to foster transparency, accountability, and healthy team culture?
  • How can we ensure that our offboarding process helps us stay on friendly terms with exiting employees?

How to measure employee experience

To improve EX during moments that matter, you need quantitative data. While employee experience is highly complex and personal, focusing on the following core KPIs can help you assess how happy employees are in your company and what you can do to improve employee satisfaction.

  1. Employee satisfaction index (ESI). This metric measures overall employee happiness and fulfillment at work.
  2. Employee net promoter score (eNPS). ENPS helps you find out how many of your team members would recommend your organization as a workplace to a friend or colleague.
  3. Employee turnover rate, both across the organization and in different departments. Low employee engagement strongly correlates with high turnover rates.
  4. Worker absenteeism. Absenteeism ties in with employee wellness and engagement. Happy and engaged employees are less likely to miss work days.
  5. Successful hires. This stat helps assess the hiring process and onboarding procedures in your company. A high number of workers who leave the organization after a short time may mean that your company needs to pay more attention to integrating new employees.
  6. Internal promotion rate. Employees who have sufficient growth opportunities within the organization are less likely to start looking at job listings.

Employee satisfaction is key to the long-term success of your company. Learn how you can measure employee satisfaction to improve it on your team.

Strategies for enhancing employee experience in your company

You've gathered your data and mapped out your typical employee journeys. Now what? Employee journey mapping is only a means of improving employee experience during the entire time an employee spends with your company. Depending on the strengths and weaknesses you have learned from internal data, you may consider the following strategies to make your organization a better workplace.

  • Invest in your employees' onboarding experience. Onboarding is a crucial step that can make or break the employee journey. New team members may need extra attention and help long beyond their second or third day at work.
  • Support ongoing learning. Always encourage your teams to adopt new methods, practices, or software that boost efficiency and growth.
  • Promote employee recognition. Employees who get timely, meaningful recognition at work are happier, more engaged, and likelier to go the extra mile for the company.
  • Identify what matters to employees at each stage of their ongoing journey in your company. Is it payroll and benefits policies, flexible schedules, or professional growth? Knowing what makes your workers tick will help you keep them happier and more productive. Send your people an employee satisfaction survey to gauge how they're feeling.
  • Foster connections. Encourage employees to join company social networks, participate in team events, and promote a workplace culture that makes everyone feel welcome.

It's crucial to actively promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. Try these five activities with your team to get the conversation going.

How Officevibe helps improve the employee experience

Officevibe is an engaging, streamlined, easy-to-use platform that helps companies measure employee experience and engagement through pulse surveys and feedback tools. We help you access business-critical information that makes it easier to answer questions like:

  • Do your employees have a positive relationship with their direct manager?
  • Does your organization have healthy inter-team relationships and company culture?
  • Do your team members feel that their work is meaningful, motivating, and exciting?
  • Do employees feel that your organization recognizes and celebrates their accomplishments?
  • Do your employees have access to critical health and wellness resources?
  • How well do your employees understand your organization's values and vision?
  • Do your team members feel generally happy and satisfied with their work?
  • How many of your employees would tell a colleague, "You should apply for a position with our company"?

Regular surveys can help you build a more accurate employee experience journey map and improve EX. Making meaningful changes based on employee feedback fosters a more productive employment lifecycle, improves employee retention, and sets your business up for success.

Once your team has completed their surveys, it's important to review your employee survey results and take appropriate action from there. Give your employees a safe space to offer feedback and suggestions and start improving your overall employee experience.

Equip HR and managers with tools to engage, recognize, and drive performance.