Team Life

Ideaport Riga blog about day-to-day life in a human centered IT company

Employee Experience, or how to make so that your employees don’t leave

Many companies lament how hard to it is to find good employees, and that it is even harder to keep them. Employers use a range of tactics, invent unconventional recruitment strategies - like launching viral campaigns in social media, setting up stylish interior designs in the office, buying the trendiest gadgets and furniture, hosting posh parties. Still, people leave.

Let’s sort it out together: why does it happen?

Employee Experience

Research shows that the most important factor affecting employee satisfaction is “workplace atmosphere”. This “atmosphere” is nothing but a person’s observations, feelings and thoughts regarding their workplace environment. Simply put, it’s the employee’s impressions at the company or Employee Experience.

These impressions consist of many parts: the culture of the organization, the technologies it uses, the established business processes, the workplace setup, the colleagues and many other aspects of workplace experience. All these components must contribute towards your employees actualising to their full potential. That includes finding work-life balance, that includes feeling physically and spiritually well.

As a result, the more satisfied and fulfilled your employee becomes, the more productive and involved they become within your company, which in turn makes the company more successful as a whole.

MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research proves that companies that prioritise Employee Experience demonstrate improved key indicators:

  • 2x higher client satisfaction
  • 2x higher innovation
  • 25% higher profits

This makes sense: if we treat our employees right, they treat our clients right. This, in turn, leads to business growth and higher profits. In the end, everyone wins.

One thing is left to understand: what does it mean to treat employees right? Try treating them like your clients! Ask them what you can do for their full satisfaction and take their feedback into account. This will give you the opportunity to build a company atmosphere that makes employees feel good. A company where employees want to prove themselves, not where they have to. A company, where everyone is striving for common success.

What to look for

Here are several areas of Employee Experience worth reviewing:

  • The commonly known exit interview — the final conversation with a departing colleague. This is an excellent opportunity to find out why the person is leaving and what exactly does not satisfy them about the company. Perhaps you were thinking that you’ve got it all under control and everyone was happy, but it may not have been so, and for quite a while.
  • Initiatives and opportunities for suggestions and feedback. It’s worthwhile to measure this aspect at every stage of an employee’s interaction with the company – recruitment, hiring, induction, work, upskilling, departure.
  • Business processes. How are your business processes set up? Are your employees swamped in bureaucracy, lowering morale and productivity?
  • Contemporary workplace setup, meeting all employees’ needs. This isn’t necessarily about procuring designer tables, though this might be one of your employees’ criteria for a comfortable workspace. Pay attention to lighting, whether it should be updated or changed conceptually. Good coffee and snacks in the kitchen create a feeling that you are valued and cared for. Perhaps, it is time to update the software, hardware, and other tools. What about bringing pets to the office? Flexible work schedule? Children’s room for employee’s kids?
  • People. There is nothing more important than people working at your company. Your company, essentially, is people. Consider whether your company is still keeping around people who create toxic environments around themselves. How smooth is your process for selecting new people? Are you creating good conditions for informal interactions between co-workers? 

Our experience

Now, let’s go through the same questions, using our company as an example. Perhaps our experience hasn’t always been successful, but overall, we have managed to sustain a positive workplace atmosphere. At Idea Port Riga, we always monitor and look for opportunities to make our employee’s lives more comfortable. We recognize that a company’s perception is built up of the tiniest of interactions.

For example, our employees came up with a suggestion to install a new coffee machine. However, as it turned out, the old one had its own admirers who were convinced that no other machine can ever brew better coffee. In the end, we considered the suggestions of all employees and now have two coffee machines in our kitchen. Those who love to make coffee in the old machine feel that their opinion is valued. The rest have satisfied their need for a new machine with a greater selection of drinks, and feel cared for. 

Another example. Children’s room. Everyone understands that people have families, not just careers. Sometimes you have nowhere to leave your child. We made a children’s room and offered our employees to bring kids to work in such cases. This was a happy moment for both the parents who can continue to self-actualise, as well as the kids who are happy to visit parents’ workplace, as this part of their lives is typically a mystery to them. Moreover, employees started bringing their own toys to make the room even more comfortable for their children.

Bureaucracy. About this was brought up already in our previous articles (there and there). We purposefully build business processes to be as simple and clear as possible. For example, our employees report their hours in a few clicks, without spending 5 minutes on it.

Work environment improvement initiatives. In our internal social network, each employee can create an initiative, find 5 like-minded colleagues and realise the initiative on our company’s budget. Last year we bought VR, this year – scooters for a faster, more mobile and fun commute in the city.

Feedback. We use – a platform for rewards and compliments among employees. There, every employee is awarded 50 crystals to use for saying “thank you” to his or her colleagues. The crystals one receives can be used to purchase services and prizes from our company. Besides the usual corporate attributes like backpacks and umbrellas, we also offer to buy feedback from the management and a paid lunch with our CEO.

People. We select our team members very carefully. Besides their professional qualities, we evaluate their ability to vibe with the rest of the team. Currently we have noticed some issues with employee induction and are working on improving this process.

We sincerely hope that our experience helps you create a more comfortable work atmosphere for your people. It’s important to remember to continuously monitor the work environment from an Employee Experience perspective, what makes sense to consider and improve. The fight for the most talented high-potential employees continues every day: they are the key to every company’s future success!

Mind sharing your experience?


Work That Excites Human Centered Employee Experience

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Photo of Katerina Alfimova - System Analyst