Build An Employee Journey Map With Survey Data
By Gena Cox, PhD - July 10, 2019
Employee journey mapping is an employee experience design element, derived from customer journey mapping and user journey mapping (also called user experience or UX mapping). Marketers use customer journey mapping to depict the stages customers go through from first contact with a company, through purchase and beyond. Even when companies have great products and services, customers will not buy if they don’t feel respected in the process, the process is difficult, or they are left with a negative overall impression of the company. Tech developers use user journey mapping to infuse user hopes and desires into design and to understand if the thing they are creating will match users’ desired experience. Technology gets adopted only if users believe it is solving a problem or providing new value in a painless way. Marketers and tech developers depend on this customer/user perspective to help them get the overall experience right.
This same approach, when applied to the employee experience, can help organizations ensure that each touchpoint with employees (and candidates for employment), leaves employees feeling like their perspective was at the center of the experience. If you want a positive employee experience, design employee-centric empathy into your talent and HR processes and use employee journey mapping to help you do it.
Just as customers or end users are at the center of customer journey and UX mapping, workers take center stage in employee journey mapping. Examples of the impact of employee journey mapping abound. One organization redesigned its entire talent acquisition process to put the candidate in the middle. As a result, the way they interact with people who work, or seek to work, at their company has changed. When dealing with candidates, they now consider not just that they want a job, but that they are emotionally vulnerable. A bad candidate experience can create bad feelings, causing an unsuccessful candidate to stop buying the company’s products and services—or share their negative experience with others via social media.
One way to understand how the current candidate experience needs to be enhanced is to use employee journey mapping. Another company completely changed their performance evaluation process from one designed around rigid performance factors to one that allows for flexibility in what gets measured, how often it gets measured, and how the employee can use the system to support career growth, rather than just a performance scorecard. What these examples have in common is that the organization studied the employee journey in the company and used that data to power the design of employee journey models to enhance employees’ sense of purpose and connectedness with their employers.
Using Data To Design An Employee Journey Map
The main idea behind journey mapping is to view the experience through the eyes of those who will be, or are experiencing the journey. Employee journey mapping requires two-way communication between the designers of the experience and employees. This can be facilitated through employee surveys that measure employee experience and suggest ways the experience can be improved.
Employee journey mapping is particularly useful in today’s rapidly changing business environment. As organizations and employees experience constant change, leaders and managers are challenged to provide the best employee experience. In previous articles we have examined the moments that matter for both employees and organizations, and the overlap between them. The impact of these changes is reciprocal—external forces impact the organization and employees and the response of organizations and employees influence the external forces. This highly dynamic environment calls for constant communication with employees to ensure they are experiencing an engaging employee experience.
The external forces driving organizational change impact the employee experience, as the organization makes demands on the workforce. At the same time, the things most important to employees in their relationship with the organization and their daily work experience are also changing. To be successful in designing a positive employee experience, leaders and managers need to understand both the organization’s and the employees’ journey simultaneously and how the two are impacting each other. (Tweet this!)
An employee journey mapping template can be helpful for navigating these constant changes, providing a framework for the desired employee experience and organizational culture. The template envisions the most positive conditions and outcomes for each phase of the employee journey; employee feedback illustrates the true current state of the experience (”as-is”) and suggests how to achieve the desired (“to-be”) state.
Employee journey maps are directions to a positive employee experience. Download our free guide, The Employee Experience Playbook, to help plot your course to engagement.
Leaders, Managers, & Employees Each Face Unique Challenges
Not only do the organization and its employees have this reciprocal influence on each other, each major employee group in the organization (leaders, managers, and employees) impact each other as each changes behavior to meet the demands of the changing organization.
Leaders are charged with steering the organization through a constantly changing business landscape and positioning it for success. Although leaders face a variety of challenges, most of those requiring change agility are related to competition, which is being driven by a variety of factors:
- Technological “arms race” with competitors
- Market demand for innovation
- Demand for getting new products to market faster
- Demographic changes in the market and workforce
These competitive demands are collectively driving changes in the way work gets done, and have a big impact on the employee experience inside the organization.
Leaders have responsibility for seeing the future and positioning the business for success. Leaders press the pace of change on managers, who must successfully lead their teams, while dealing with the flux inside the organization. However, managers often have less information about the basis for those strategies and can feel as if the ground they stand on is like standing on marbles—constantly shifting, sometimes in unpredictable ways. Managers can feel overwhelmed, inadequate and unprepared to answer employees’ questions.
At the same time, the relationship between managers and employees is changing. Employees no longer look just to managers to get answers; with today’s rapid pace of communication, they can often know about things that are happening before the manager does. This democratization of information has altered the relationship between managers and employees.
In addition, managers are being called on to manage in a different way. The traditional approach of managers telling employees what to do and employees marching off to execute those “orders” does not work in a highly dynamic environment. Worse, these traditional approaches hinder the flow of ideas and innovation. Rapid change requires new ways of working. For example, these days, teams rapidly form to deliver on specific projects, then dissolve once the project is complete. Employees are also being asked to be self-directed; new hires may not be guided to the resources or relationships they need to develop for success. They may need to figure those things out themselves. These kinds of work environments are becoming more common and the manager’s role is changing dramatically in response.
While leaders are trying to predict what changes will come next and managers are trying to help their teams keep up with changes, it falls on employees to incorporate those changes in their daily work. The need to “think outside the box” has become the new normal.
The demands on employees from leaders and management are changing the employee experience as well:
- Employees are working with a wider range of people, as teams are formed to work on new projects.
- Distributed workforces have changed the nature of employee interaction.
- Employees are having to learn new skills at a faster pace.
- Managers are not necessarily giving directional guidance in the way they once did; job duties are less scripted, leaving it up to employees to manage their own work flow.
These demands on employees need to be balanced by giving employees expanded space to express their ideas and opinions and to have a say in building the daily experience they desire at work.
With the internal flux going on in many organizations as a result of rapid change, it is impossible for any of the three groups to understand the experience of the others without open communication. Without an ongoing dialogue, members of each group may develop tunnel vision—focusing only on what is required of them in their role, without considering how or why other groups are being impacted by the changes. It falls to HR and talent management leaders to understand these dynamics, understand the journey of all groups who are dealing with the changes, and figure out how to provide the most effective workforce for an organization dealing with constant change. Employee journey mapping across the employee lifecycle can provide the insights to help define the new talent processes.
How An Employee Journey Map Can Help Manage Constant Change
Journey mapping is a tool, not a prescription—but it can be useful for organizations dealing with rapid change. In thinking through and designing the experience from the employee point of view, talent leaders can pinpoint the ideal experience for every phase of the employee journey.
Many of these employee journey touchpoints will align with the moments that matter in the employee and organizational life cycles. By surveying at these critical points, talent leaders can derive many insights, including:
- If the employee journey map they have defined aligns with employees’ hopes and expectations.
- How the ideal employee journey compares with the actual employee journey as revealed by survey data.
- Employee prescriptions for aligning the current experience to what they desire.
To benefit an organization dealing with constant change, employee journey mapping must be flexible; it is not a one-and-done proposition. (Tweet this!) For mapping to be successful, HR has to be able to regularly observe and understand the employee experience, get insights about employee experience, figure out what to do to enhance employee experience, and be prepared to make constant adjustments. This important work relies on ongoing conversations with all employee groups, always tied back to the strategic goals of the organization.
These continuous multi-way conversations are one prescription to help organizations successfully deal with change-driven complexity. Leaders, managers, and employees are all subject to both external and internal forces driving change; data analysis of employee feedback makes explicit how those forces are affecting the experience of employees in the organization. Continuous communication from leaders and feedback from employee surveys provide touchstones along the way in this complex journey, and will provide the insights leaders need, clues about the actions managers should take, and the sense of purpose and partnership that employees desire.
Could you use directions to get to greater engagement?
At Perceptyx, we never lose sight of the fact that engagement is the product of a good employee experience. With custom surveys paired to our platform, we can help you uncover the insights you need to navigate the shortest path to engagement. Contact us to see how thoughtful people analytics can help you engineer a positive journey for your employees.