How to create a people-ops function that puts employee experience first

How to create a people-ops function that puts employee experience first

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The way we perceive work culture has shifted a lot in the past few years. Previously, almost every workplace had an offline operation. But today, hybrid and remote work are all the rage.

Similarly, many organisations would concentrate on profits or customer experience to drive their workforce. But these days, priorities have shifted, and organisations are now focusing on employee experience.

Having an employee-experience driven workplace has many transactional benefits too. To begin with, you see better employee retention, higher productivity levels (leading to higher profits), and a happier workforce.

To paint a stronger picture, creating a better employee experience results in a 22% profit boost. And People Ops (People Operations) is a powerful tool that can make that metric come alive. So, let’s look at how you can create a People Ops function that puts employee experience first.

Why prioritise employee experience?

Some of the world’s most well-known brands (like Yelp, IBM, Noom, Cloudfare, and more) prioritise employee experience through People Operations. The fact such well-established companies prioritise this function is evidence that it has its benefits.

Here are just some of the top benefits good People Ops brings:

  1. You develop a robust and people-first company culture.
  2. Employees are far more engaged, and productivity levels see a boost.
  3. Your employee retention improves. (According to Gallup, you can increase retention rates by 59% by keeping employees engaged.)
  4. The company’s social image gets enriched.
  5. It engages all the departments in your organisation simultaneously.
  6. You gain employee trust by addressing their pain points.

Although People Ops may not complete all functions of an HR department, they go above and beyond to create an enriching experience for the employees. And at the end of the day, both employees and organisations benefit from it. In conclusion, having People Ops at your company is a total win-win.

Improve the hiring and onboarding process

Your employees’ recruitment journey begins when they first discover your company exists. It can take some time between this and when they start to fill out an application to apply for a job at your organisation. Getting connected to a recruiter, going through interviews, etc., are all steps that fall later down the line.

[Design Direction: Can we have an employee roadmap here to show just how far back can we trace it to? Here’s a close reference to a roadmap that’d look like — https://premast.com/product/roadmap-infographic/ and these are the stops that we can put.

  1. Get acquainted with the company name.
  2. Know of job openings.
  3. Apply for a job.
  4. Get a call from the recruiter.
  5. Schedule an interview.
  6. Get hired.

This can be expanded to add a few more details if the space allows. If that’s a possibility, feel free to ping me on Asana and I’ll be happy to expand it with more fields.

Roadmap of the hiring process: Employee's perspective

This means your employees’ experience begins even before joining your organisation. Keeping this in mind, People Ops should work to improve the hiring and onboarding process. If a candidate wants to be considered for a role, there’s no need for them to jump through the hoops of 5 interview rounds, ten phone calls, and 50 follow-up emails.

Here are a few things that they can do to make the process easy for everyone involved:

  1. Make the application process straightforward from the get-go. Explain the process, and keep interview rounds to a minimum (between 2-3 at most). When writing a job description, always attach salary information (so that everyone is on the same page), and give exact job details (make sure to absolutely avoid words like ‘unicorn’, ‘rockstar’, and ‘ninja’). Most importantly, let them know your decision, whether it is good or bad (trust us, not receiving a response is worse than a negative response).

  2. Try to incorporate technology because it can be beneficial during employee onboarding, where multiple departments have to speak with the new hires to explain the process. Knowing the proper schedule reduces the chances of miscommunications. Apps like Asana and Slack are popular communication tools.

  3. Speaking of technology, make sure that everyone is up-to-date with the tools and resources used in your organisation. Sending an email between the contract signing and their start date to inform them of the necessary tools used in your organisation can allow the new hires to familiarise themselves with it.

  4. Being a new hire is tough. We’ve all been through it to know just how awkward the first few weeks at a new organisation can be. So, to alleviate such anxieties, assign an onboarding buddy or a mentor who can show them the ropes.

Prioritise good internal communication

Many organisations have siloed departments that have little to no interaction with members of other departments. Sure, every organisation requires some amount of confidentiality, but keeping every department so distinctly separate can result in a lot of miscommunication and missteps.

Say, for example, you’re working on a marketing campaign. To complete the said campaign, you can’t have the design team, the writing team, the business development team, the social media team, the accounts, and all the other departments doing their own thing. It’ll cause many delays, create unnecessary confusion, and reduce efficiency. Plus, if you don’t prioritise internal communication, it may result in a bad look for your organisation.

In order to remove blockers from efficient communication flow, noisy email traffic from low value tasks related to business administration, finance, HR or IT should be minimised, for example by implementing process automation tools or using modern employee platforms like Zelt.

Teams interacting with each other

On the flip side, if all the departments mentioned above work together, the ideas keep flowing, the efficiency improves, the conflicts reduce, everyone is on the same page, and you end up delivering a masterpiece. So, our advice would always be to promote internal communication.

Assist with personal and career development

As per LinkedIn’s survey, most people (93%) said that they’d stay longer at an organisation if the organisation invested in employee development. Here are a few ways through which you can create employee development opportunities:

  1. Invest in training, up-skilling, and re-skilling.
  2. Use performance reviews to provide individual feedback. To put the wheels in motion, tell your employees about actionable things they can do to improve their work.
  3. Show employees that their hard work is appreciated. A few good words can go a long way.
  4. Most importantly, have a genuine interest in their career development.

You might be worried about spending a lot of money on training employees, only to have them leave for another company. We cannot deny this might happen. However, if you make it clear there are further opportunities for learning and development in your organisation, you’ll increase your chances of retaining your team members. What you’ll get is happier, more knowledgeable, and capable employees, dedicated to helping you drive your business forward.

Offer the right benefits

We recognise that every firm is built differently, has a different company culture, and has different types of budget allocations for employee perks and benefits. Keeping that in mind, here are a few ideas that both small and big firms can use to improve job satisfaction:

  1. Offer discount vouchers or codes.
  2. Try to offer various options for current benefits (gym memberships, gift cards, working arrangements, etc.)
  3. Ask employees about the benefits they’d like to see.

We also recommend prioritising employees’ health and well-being, as this is crucial to employee happiness, especially these days.

Prioritise team building

There are reasons why HR leaders and People Ops teams place team-building exercises on such a pedestal. These include:

  1. It promotes the essence of company culture (cliché but true).
  2. It boosts friendships amongst team members.
  3. Employees get to interact with peers (which elevates employee experience).
  4. You get to know each other’s talents.
  5. Most importantly, it drives up productivity, which benefits everyone.

Collect feedback regularly

[Design Direction: Since we’ve spoken about both giving and receiving feedback in this article, let’s do a visual to showcase the proper etiquette to give and receive feedback. A plain background with the visual divided in two sides. One side says ‘How to give feedback’ and the other says ‘How to receive feedback?’

For the former side, here are the four points that I’d like to include:

  1. Address the purpose of giving feedback.
  2. Make it about the work, not the person.
  3. Be gentle, and show actionable ways to improve.
  4. Allow questions.

The latter can have these four points:

  1. Be open minded.
  2. Ask for details and examples.
  3. Don’t get defensive.
  4. Don’t blame the person giving the feedback.]

Table showing how to give and receive feedback

We sing the praises of feedback because it is only through feedback that you know where you stand, what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are.

Take feedback away, and you’re an organisation that is always sitting on the precipice, never moving forward or opening any doors. So, feedback may be hard to hear, but it is needed.

Surveys are a great way to gather feedback. This can include exit surveys, onboarding surveys, pulse surveys, and engagement surveys.

Master the art of employee experience

People Ops is the only department that can truly master the art of employee engagement. This is not easy to achieve, but, if done right, it can have a significant impact on the business.

A crucial way for maintaining good employee engagement results is to look after and measure employee growth. A career progression framework can help your organisation support and encourage internal mobility within the company.

See how Progression can help you create a simple and effective framework that shows your team you genuinely care about their professional and personal growth.


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