Oh, Those Magic Moments: Leverage the Key Experiences in an Employee’s Life for Greater Engagement

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

Think back to some powerful moments in your life. Sure, your wedding day or the birth of a child come to mind.

But chances are, some really powerful moments that mattered are lying right underneath the surface — like when a teacher said they were proud of you, or someone just sat with you when you were going through a rough patch. Or when they announced the second season of Stranger Things.

Let’s call these magic moments.

The truth is, every employee has a ton of everyday moments that could become magic moments if only that little something extra were added in at the right time. Experiences are built on moments that matter — the big ones and the everyday ones.

To recognize and act on these moments before it’s too late, we need to think about the employee journey as more than the “lifecycle” as you constantly hear it referred to. We instead need to think about it as a series of everyday moments that are just waiting to become — magic moments.

“Magic? That Seems Like a Stretch.”

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We get it. Talking about magical moments may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking. But when it comes to the employee experience, you simply can’t undersell the value of these small but critical interactions. There’s real money behind what we’re talking about. Josh Bersin, long-time HR tech analyst, says these seemingly mundane or merely pragmatic exchanges can be make-or-break moments for your employees:

“Whether it’s something simple like fixing a paycheck discrepancy or an issue related to a complex program such as paternity leave, these moments that matter are opportunities to delight employees,”Bersin says. “When organizations succeed, employees become raving fans. When they fail, employees complain or post comments on social media.”

Accenture argues that companies who nail the employee experience outperform their peers on the S&P 500 by 122%. Deloitte has even created an algorithm to “quantify the human experience.”

So, yes, this magic business is, in fact, good business.

Making Big Moments Magical

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So, if we look at the employee journey as a series of moments from which to make a little magic, what should you be looking for?

As a first step, look at the larger events in an employee’s journey. The O’Reilly LMS library says these moments blur the boundaries between personal and work life:

“Moments that Matter are specific moments in the life of an employee that have clear significance. They include things such as your first day on the job, buying your first house, having a child, and getting promoted.

Imagine having a child. Not only are you excited, stressed, and full of questions, but you’re worried about taking parental leave — figuring out your organization’s policy, telling your boss, getting the timing right, filling out the right forms, and managing the transition with coworkers.

What if, instead of having this kind of uncertainty, your employees had absolute clarity about the process to support them as they moved forward on their journey? What if they felt confident, valued, and fully supported as they embarked on the adventure of parenthood — including all the administrative stuff that goes along with it?

This is the kind of experience employees write home about. It’s one of several crucial moments in an employee’s life when providing the right support goes a very long way toward creating a positive impression of your organization. What’s another big-deal moment? The first day on a new job, of course. But these kinds of moments aren’t the only ones that matter.

Making Little Moments Magical

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What about what we may think of as  “less important” events? For these, timing is the key to turning them from the mundane into the magical, with the potential for  boosting employee engagement. It’s almost like you need an aerial view of the entire employee journey, so you can swoop in and be there for your employees when it counts.

Take, for example, the onboarding process. While it occurs during a big moment in someone’s life, it’s really made up of a series of crucial, smaller moments that occur one after the other — steps like accessing the new-hire portal, finding the right form, submitting a ticket to IT  — all the little twists and turns that often get overlooked.

We say these are “crucial” moments because the first days in the life of your new hires are crucial. Research shows that companies face up to 20% of turnover within the first 45 days of employment. So, yes, first impressions matter — and first experiences are crucial. One poor experience, even a small one, can take five great experiences to counteract.

In an article for HBR, HR consultant and expert author Ron Carucci highlights a very small-seeming moment that happens to all of us — and shows just how important it can be to an employee’s feeling of belonging:

“There’s almost always a litany of cryptic acronyms that company’s use for key processes or roles — decoding them can be one of the most distressing challenges for new hires. The more a new hire has to awkwardly ask, ‘Sorry, I’m new…what does SSRP stand for?’ the more they feel like an outsider.”

Making these small moments not only painless, but magical, will go a long way in making the entire employee experience a positive one.

Add a Personal Touch to Onboarding

While there’s no magic bullet (ha, get it?) for helping employees feel more engaged, purposeful, and happy at their work, we think making them feel just a little more welcome on their first days can go a long way.

A personal touch at just the right time is now possible with Enboarder.

It’s, well, magic.