8 good workforce experiences your HR team can use

In the talent wars, the best recruitment tool is making your business one that everybody wants to work for. See 8 ways leading businesses are making themselves desirable employers using good workforce experiences.

Good workforce experiences don’t just come from employers spending money. It’s not all about pay and perks – although obviously they help. Employees are increasingly looking for something more fulfilling and personal to make the third or more of their lives they spend at work meaningful to them.

Potential recruits can find out all about companies and target the ones they particularly aspire to join. Improved retention of key people will be a factor too – nobody wants to stay at a place where they’ve had a soul-destroying experience.

Get some inspiration from the best to see how you can step up a gear in your workforce.

  1. Recognize the importance of workforce experiences
    At Airbnb, experience is so central to creating the right culture and attitude it is reflected in job titles. Mark Levy is the company’s Global Head of Employee Experience. From modelling the conference rooms at its HQ to creating an alumni network to help people stay in touch once they have moved on, he has re-imagined the workforce experience to generate something more personal and effective.
  2. Create a great employment brand
    Businesses understand the value of brand as far as customers are concerned, but they haven’t always been as switched on when it comes to employees. Peter Navin, CMO of People at San Francisco-based DocuSign, is a firm believer in branding for employees. He says: “You have to build a great brand story to get people interested in your company.” Navin has identified what elements he thinks are essential to creating a great workforce brand. “Great leadership, solid communications, the most competitive products in the marketplace, and your ability to enable philanthropic, social responsibility type activities,” he explains. Working somewhere with a good employment brand has value on a CV and with friends.
  3. Build an environment for success
    Using technology allowed the Shutterstock HR team to automate some of their administrative processes, freeing up time to focus their attention on career development. Chief People Officer Peter Phelan has put a system in place that allows all employees across the company to know what they are working toward and how they fit into the scheme of things. It allows employees to make the first suggestion as to what they should be working on in the year – and this is then tweaked and fine-tuned to match company goals. 
  4. Encourage learning and development
    Skyscanner wants to give its employees “the best possible conditions” for them to succeed. There are hundreds of employee-led courses that anyone across the business can attend – plus external courses and conferences. This keeps employees’ knowledge up to date and provides positive input as they feel their knowledge is growing, both in terms of developing skills and helping others learn. 
  5. Communicate well as an organization
    Communication is a two-way street. Not only do you have to make sure your employees know and understand your goals and values; you also have to be able to listen. When Evan Wittenberg became SVP People at enterprise content management platform company Box, he found concerns that open jobs were being filled by external applicants rather than internal promotions. After listening, he was able to set up systems and targets that encouraged internal promotions. He found this had a positive impact on the culture – creating a sense of progress and and inspiring employees to achieve promotions like their colleagues. 
  6. Remember the human factors
    Simply Business an online insurance company is rated No 1 in theTimes Best 100 companies to work for. Chief Executive Jason Stockwood told the Sunday Times that: “You can’t force people who hate their environment to do a good job. Customers only come first if our employees are happy and doing a good job.” He mostly works in London so invites groups of contact staff to dinner when he is Northampton where part of the business is based.
  7. Don’t forget to add some perks
    It’s easier for some companies to offer perks than others, but it’s possible for everyone. Expedia is ranked No 1 on Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2016 – and perks like travel as well as free breakfast once a month are among the benefits frequently mentioned by employees. But even free tea and coffee can make a difference to how valued staff feel.
  8. Have fun
    Stephens Scown LLP, a law firm voted number 12 in the Sunday Times Best 100 companies to work, for is cited for encouraging its employees to have fun. After taking part in singing workshops at an awayday, staff set up two choirs – the Rolling Scowns in Devon and the Scown Roses in Cornwall. The firm allocates £45 for each employee to put towards social events, from canoeing to cocktail-making and pizza nights, and it also funds monthly Friday drinks.

See what some of the most inspirational HR leaders think about improving the workforce experience and more in The People Science Edition.

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