Navigating the Employee Journey: From Onboarding to Success

In today's rapidly evolving business world, talent is a key differentiator that separates successful organizations from the less successful ones. The former group realizes this and ensures well-rounded employee journeys. It’s common to see the most impactful leaders pay close attention to optimizing employee experiences right from the moment a new hire walks through the office doors, to their integration into the company culture, their professional development, and their ongoing journey toward success. There’s ample evidence that documents the benefit of this attention.

  • A Qualtrics study confirms employees whose values match with their organizations have 27% higher engagement scores. They are also 23% more likely to stay in the company for at least three years.
  • A SHRM report reveals that while 94% of managers feel a positive workplace culture results in resilient employees, 97% agree that their actions directly impact employees. The key is ensuring a positive impact through timely and valuable communication.

On the other hand, ignoring the employee journeys has its fair share of costs. A recent Gallup study confirms that one in two employees actively seek a new different job because their career goals or experience do not align with where they are professionally. This boils down to inadequate employee journey mapping. 

Effective internal communication can help discover disconnects, bridge such gaps and ensure a smooth employee journey across various stages. But how can you navigate through this successfully as an internal communicator? The answer lies in taking a step-by-step approach across milestones and following specific best practices. In this blog, we explore the critical stages of the employee journey and dive deep into employee journey mapping, its challenges and solutions, and best practices to optimize it.

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A closer look at the employee journey & its stages

Employee journey includes the summation of an employee’s achievements, communications, experiences, and professional development. It begins at the moment of onboarding and ends at the exit time. However, between these two milestones, various stages chart an employee's journey within an organization. While we may imagine the stages progressing linearly, the reality can be different. The key phases of a typical employee journey include:

Onboarding phase

Onboarding typically involves completing multiple procedures, from filling in forms, getting acquainted with employee self-service platforms, understanding roles, and other formalities. Enabling a thorough process helps to

  • Set the stage for new employees to clearly understand what to expect.
  • Collect all the necessary information and complete regulatory formalities.
  • Highlight organizational culture and make people feel valued and welcomed.
  • Lay a robust ground for a smooth employee journey, with greater productivity and sustained motivation levels. 

Usually, onboarding is psychologically difficult for employees. As the one responsible, you can implement standard protocols to simplify. Some critical elements to include in the protocol include:

  • Providing basics to the employees, such as a laptop and an ID card, access to email banking accounts, and software tools. It may also include additional goodies like company-branded T-shirts, a sumptuous meal on the first day, and a list of resources to navigate the first few weeks at work.
  • Induction programs and mandatory training periods to clarify and explain role expectations
  • An office tour and introduction to the key team members  

Suggested Read: The Onboarding Checklist Every Company Needs

Development phase

Once an employee starts settling, it is time to help them develop their skill sets. This phase involves everything focused on enabling individuals to become more productive, perform expected daily operations, and understand company culture keenly.

Also, let us not forget that continuous learning improves employee satisfaction and engagement. Employees who learn something valuable feel motivated to perform better and engage better. So, this is also a suitable time to implement Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so that employees grow to become self-actualized human beings (now that their basic needs are taken care of). Here is what you can do for a successful development phase:

  • Ask employees how they feel about their new job by using satisfaction questionnaires, feedback regarding their managers, and opinion polls regarding training programs.
  • Introduce employees to ongoing learning and development opportunities at the organization. Colorful brochures and attractively designed newsletters can help send a message across effectively.
  • Ensure your training program includes workshops and mandatory mentorship programs. These help employees to feel nurtured and adopt an ascending career growth. You may also help implement a buddy system where existing employees mentor new inductees.
  • Implement a personalized professional growth plan for each employee. This can be a team effort between you, the internal communicator, a trained counselor (or a substitute if you do not have an in-house counselor), and the HR team.

Performance and growth phase

Any organization’s success depends on how well and proactively employees perform their duties. To get there, continuously monitoring employee performance and ensuring they grow professionally and personally are critical. This phase involves all such activities that contribute to this end.

As an internal communicator, you can identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that track and measure employee performance, engagement, and satisfaction. Based on your findings, you can design focused campaigns that encourage employees to perform their best and get a raise, promotion, or recognition.

Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Start by setting clear goals. Map results and give constructive feedback on improving performance.
  • Identify the connection between employee growth and overall organizational success. You can do this by tying employee performance data with organizational performance.
  • Use statistical and predictive analytics tools to identify high-performing employees to promote or upskill. Usually, your employee communication tool is an excellent place to pick up such employee-related data from one place. 

However, you must note that no matter how hard you try, eventually, some employees will move on – either voluntarily or due to organizational decisions. Others may have to switch roles. Hence, you also need to be prepared for both transitions and exits.

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Transition and exit phase

Based on employee performance and appraisal reports, decision-makers may shift people to distinct roles, promote them, or terminate their contracts. Sometimes, employees may also voluntarily resign. When such changes happen, communicating it humanely and professionally is essential.

Your job as an internal communicator is to balance existing and new employees and ensure a smooth transition toward promotions and exits.

  • When it comes to letting go of an employee, making the exit process as graceful as possible is essential. Employees feel offended when you brusquely ask for their ID cards or laptops. Instead, an employee communicator tool can help list things the employee must return before completing the exit process. This can be communicated politely and professionally with the help of an employee app.
  • Providing training kits and conducting separate induction programs for those who switch roles within the company simplify transitions.
  • Be available across digital and social channels to respond empathetically to any queries and concerns.

A positive exit and transition experience will help you create a lasting organizational brand image. 

Now that you understand the four stages of the employee journey let us look at the benefits of having an optimized one.

What are the benefits of an optimized employee journey?

Investing in a well-defined employee journey unfolds several benefits. These range from lower attrition rates, improved performance metrics, enhanced employee engagement, a positive company culture, and better productivity.

In addition, there are other advantages to having a solid employee journey protocol, which may not be visible at first sight. These include: 

Studies show that happy employees perform better and that a positive work environment also improves employee mental health. In essence, directly and indirectly, this positively impacts bottom-line figures.

Mapping the employee journey - why and how

Visualizing the journey of an employee from the time of hiring to the moment of exiting is called employee journey mapping. These journeys aren’t always linear and can be influenced by several factors which can be objectively analyzed.

Engaging in this process helps to:

  • Easily understand different employee personas and tailor communication and experiences.
  • Ascertain how skilled an employee is in different areas, what their job description could be and should be, and how best to allocate a budget to engage them fruitfully.
  • Retain high-performing employees and motivate them to perform better.
  • Identify areas for improvement and create better value for the organization.

Most organizations use quantitative and qualitative data to make crucial decisions at every stage of the employee journey. However, it is essential to use suitable datasets and data visualization tools for making better decisions.

Here are some helpful employee journey mapping tools: 

  • Qualtrics – Helps research and conduct surveys to understand what your employees genuinely want.
  • SurveyMonkey – Allows gathering employee feedback and opinions, conducting surveys, and researching and analyzing data.
  • Typeform – An engaging and conversation-oriented survey tool, it facilitates visually attractive analysis.
  • NetSuite – A cloud ERP that helps understand the employee journey and ties in with various other datasets.
  • Speakap – A robust employee communication app that acts as a single source of truth for employee journey-related information.  

While using employee journey mapping tools can simplify tasks, you may still encounter challenges.

Here are likely challenges in building employee journey strategies

  • According to a LinkedIn post by Glyn Luckett, Maru Group, prioritizing attributes that employees value in an organization the most can be difficult.
  • You may find it challenging to identify key performance indicators, navigate through unstructured and substantial amounts of employee data, or deal with outdated performance appraisal procedures.
  • You may also need help managing employee experience across multiple channels.
  • If you have frontline workers or desk workers, you may find it hard to balance similar levels of engagement and employee experience in-person, via email, and on different applications they may use. Find out:  How HNO Medic Keeps Its Frontline in the Loop 
  • Ensuring consistency in your messaging and tone everywhere may feel challenging.

Thankfully, every challenge also has a solution. 

Here is how to address these challenges

  • Understand what employees want by tapping into employee personas. You can generate these personas by using insights from your employee app.
  • Regularly cleanse your data to ensure erroneous or irrelevant information is removed.
  • See that your performance appraisal procedures are prompt and unbiased. They should be based on objective data and not on subjective measures.
  • Craft communication campaigns that consider all the official communication channels your employees use. This may include an employee communication app, emails, telephone, and in-person communication.
  • Pay attention to how you communicate and ensure language and tone are consistent across channels. It helps to create a style guide specific to your organization based on the kind of employees you recruit. You may define different copy styles for distinct groups of employees. For instance, clear guidelines and differences when communicating with C-level executives and frontline workers.
  • It is essential to be flexible when implementing employee journey strategies. People come from diverse backgrounds, and you must account for individual differences. Including a diversity and inclusivity policy can go a long way in ensuring everyone feels safe and accepted.

Read More: Why Should You Encourage DEI in the Workplace? 

Before we wrap up, let us look at a case study that better explains how focusing on employees’ experiences can reduce bottlenecks within employee journey strategies and help achieve organizational goals.

Case example: Shell

Shell is a large organization whose operations span across continents. The company's communication process had become fragmented. For instance, employee feedback forms were not filled in (a core aspect of the employee journey). For any employee data requirement, Shell’s staff took at least a week to gather information from different service stations. Taking actions like transforming the information into newsletters distributing required additional time. Such delays were derailing the company’s employee journey process. Shell needed a single communication solution for every hire across countries.

The company used Speakap to create a centralized hub where everyone could share their problems or queries. This enabled the dissemination of information quickly. Post the change, 84% of employees actively engage on the platform and complete their surveys and training without hesitation.

Simply put, Shell optimized its employee journey strategy by automating and choosing an AI-driven communication app. The key points to remember in their success story are: 

  • Use of automation
  • Standardization of employee journey
  • Maintaining a single source of truth (continuously updated data)
  • Engaging communication

Inspired? Here are some best practices to follow while optimizing the employee journey 

  • Use automation and technology - automating specific onboarding and employee development procedures can help you reduce manual tasks. This can save time and enable more effective employee journey strategy implementation.
  • Ensure a single source of data - Using a single employee communication app instead of multiple tools can help keep all the information in one place. Speakap, for instance, ensures all your data stays on a single platform and generates rich insights.
  • Hyperpersonalize every communication - There are always differences within a group due to individual attributes and quirks. Using data insights to create communication campaigns yields hyper-personalized communication.
  • Identify key performance indicators - Knowing what to measure to derive the right insights is essential. Hence, make a list of KPIs relevant to charting the employee journey.
  • Encourage employee feedback - Communication is a two-way process. Use surveys, feedback forms, and interviews to understand what employees want.
  • Keep your policy framework flexible - Your strategy must be malleable to changes and volatile organizational forces. Hence, keep your policy framework flexible and amend it as needed.

Implement a successful employee journey strategy 

An effective employee journey strategy boosts motivation, reduces attrition, and enhances employee growth while amplifying organizational productivity. It also creates a positive work environment by ensuring everyone feels safe and accepted.

It takes a comprehensive approach to employee experience from the onboarding milestone to the time they exit. This helps create a structured, conflict-free employee experience with ample room for two-way feedback, voicing opinions, and action-oriented communication. 

To optimize the employee journey, it is necessary to use technologies that assist you in data analysis, automation of repetitive processes, and ensure seamless communication between all entities.

Speakap is an employee communication tool that helps internal communicators and HR professionals ensure a centralized communication hub in the company. In addition, it allows automating and turbocharging different processes within the employee journey. Thanks to its advanced data analytical features and AI-enabled processes, you can also successfully gather and make sense of employee data to drive suitable campaigns.

Contact us today to learn how you can use our platform to optimize the employee journey at every stage, backed by rich insights and predictive analytics.


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