7 Steps to creating a successful Employee Journey Map

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It is said that most people spend one-third of their life at work! It must make you wonder if it was well-spent?

Whether the employee tracks it or not, organizations are employee-centric and focus on engaging with their employees (or potential ones). How the employee perceives the organization has a direct impact on productivity, retention and goodwill.

Rephrasing a famous quote, “Work isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments”. The positive moments are motivators for an employee to continue their association with an organization. These moments may not be big but they are ‘moments that matter’.   

How do you measure these positive moments for employees to either keep them going or create new ones?

This is done by an extremely effective process called employee journey mapping.

What is an Employee Journey Map?

The employee journey map charts out the entire tenure of an employee in the organization. The employee journey is also called the employee lifecycle. 

From the day the candidate applies for a job, through their employment and till the day the employee decides to separate, there are many touch points between them and the organization. 

Some events that matter to employees are:

  • Their interviews 
  • Their first day at work
  • Their first interaction with their team
  • Their first one-on-one with their manager
  • Their first performance review
  • Their first appraisal
  • The first team/organizational event
  • Their professional milestones (promotions, awards, appreciation)
  • Training activities
  • Acknowledgment of their personal milestones (birthdays, anniversaries etc.)
  • Support during challenging times
  • Exit interviews

Each one of these touchpoints offers an experience to the candidate.

The employee journey map is created when these experiences are recorded and measured. 

Remember that the journey maps will be different for employees in different job roles. For example, a developer’s journey will be different from a technical support rep’s path.

Why do you need an Employee Journey Map? 

An employee journey map is a wonderful way to measure the effectiveness of your employee engagement and management practices. 

The purpose of journey mapping is beneficial to the organization but it also serves as a reminder to the employee to cherish the positive experiences they have had. This could be helpful in an employee’s challenging times in the company. 

As for the organization, here are the top benefits of creating one:

  • It makes employee satisfaction tangible and leads to employee retention. Journey mapping involves gathering feedback at each touchpoint to understand how comfortable and satisfied the employee is. Ensuring employee satisfaction leads to employees staying back longer in the organization. Many companies conduct an annual Employee Satisfaction (E-Sat) survey, while some others choose to collect feedback after every significant touchpoint. Employee one-on-ones are also used to gauge employee satisfaction.
  • It reflects the company culture and increased word-of-mouth publicity for the brand. Satisfied employees act as brand ambassadors for the organization. Happy employees also reflect a positive work culture that correlates with high productivity. It was stated in one study by Harvard Business Review that 81% of employees who have been a part of employee engagement performed better at work. 
  • It helps the organization identify its areas of improvement. Feedback metrics, obtained through a rating scale of feeling satisfied, are used to understand what is working and what is not. Management can take steps to fix gaps in processes and improve them for efficiency and to create positive employee experiences.

All these aspects also have financial gains (high productivity) and reduced losses (lower employee churning). A strategy map helps employees to feel engaged because it allows for consistent engagement with a focus to create a comfortable workspace.

7 Stages of Employee Journey Mapping

Regardless of the business or the role, every employee goes through some common touchpoints/stages in their tenure.

Let us look at some ‘moments that matter’ at each of these stages:

#1 Recruitment

This is the first time the candidate comes in contact with the organization. The first impression of the organization is from the Job Description (JD) or job posting, along with the company’s description.

The way information about the company is articulated reflects the brand’s story, its stability and culture. Some company profiles come across as driven and conventional while others are perceived as creative and fun.

A thorough and interesting JD can attract a candidate to apply for the role. The job posting must also specify the next steps to apply for the role. Few organizations also publish the interview stages for the candidate’s reference, after the candidate applies for a role.  

In case a candidate’s profile doesn’t meet the set criteria, this point will mark the end of the relationship. Therefore, this touchpoint must be engaging. A rejection message (whether manual or automated) can be phrased to be considerate and empathetic. This will encourage candidates to reapply for any future opportunities. 

If a candidate meets the criteria, they are scheduled for interviews. Here there are many touch points – including pre-employment tests, various interviews, offer letters, negotiation and finally the appointment letter. 

For consistent as well as cordial communication, and timely responses are considered as ‘Moments that matter’ for an employee. 

Tools that can be used

  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an automated system to collect candidate information, screen resumes and schedule interviews. E.g.: RecruiterFlow, BreezyHR   
  • Video interviewing software allows interviewers to schedule multiple interviews across locations. E.g.: Vidcruiter, HirePro
  • Talent Acquisition Software (TAS) is used to automate and streamline end-to-end recruitment including attracting candidates, screening, and onboarding. E.g.: Zoho Recruit, Workday
  • Post-offer engagement solutions ensure higher engagement of offered candidates, throughout the notice period with constant nudges via emails, calls, texts and in-person interactions, leveraging an AI chatbot, a specialized nudge-engine, in-built ticket management system; this enhances the candidate experience immensely, significantly improving the chances of them joining the company. E.g.: Hyreo 

#2 Onboarding

When a candidate is selected for a job role, they experience an in-depth interaction with the organization. All organizations put in a lot of effort during the first few weeks of employee onboarding to provide a great experience. A Gallup study found out that employees who have a good onboarding experience are 2.6 times more satisfied with their job. 

The first day of work is possibly the most memorable moment for the employee. Feeling welcome and getting clarity about the company. Some logistical tasks such as paperwork, workspace set up and other resources being available on time are also moments that matter. In case of delays in arranging these, the delay must be communicated and the employee should be given some meaningful tasks while they are on the bench. 

Training and skill development are also perceived by many employees as positive experiences. 

The first conversation with the reporting manager also matters a lot for an employee. The comfort that is set in this conversation ensures high engagement, retention and productivity.

Tools that can be used:

  • Onboarding software is used for onboarding new hires, assigning tasks and tracking their progress. E.g.: Bambee, Rippling
  • Some TAS also have an embedded onboarding system.

#3 Engagement

Employee engagement has become a part of most organizations. Apart from the managers, some teams are appointed to touch base with the employees at regular intervals to check their satisfaction and well-being. 

Many companies have an open-door policy and encourage employees to voice their opinions. Creating transparent, safe and trustworthy communication channels is a positive experience for employees. 

Employee engagement can happen through:

  • One-on-one meetings with Managers and HR
  • Performance reviews
  • Team and company events
  • Get-togethers and lunches
  • Training sessions and activities
  • Festive celebrations 
  • Employee surveys

Consistent employee engagement helps the management understand the pulse of employee satisfaction, fix gaps and improve processes.

Tools that can be used:

  • Employee engagement software helps track employee performance and satisfaction. It also helps record employee feedback through surveys. E.g.: Culture Amp, 15Five
  • Internal events and surveys are also common tools used by organizations. 

#4 Development

Training & development is not only a great way to improve the skills and productivity of employees but also to engage with employees regularly. 

Like Sir Richard Branson quotes, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

Training during onboarding is very streamlined and important for a new employee to ease into the job role. For employees who look forward to growth opportunities, training is the moment that matters

Two other factors that contribute to employee development are performance reviews and constructive feedback. Managers can choose to have formal or informal meetings to help the employee improve their performance and prepare for the next level. 

Individual coaching and mentoring are also a part of employee development. 

Growth opportunities are not limited to promotions or raise. Challenging projects, work that brings visibility to the employee, or internal transfers are also considered as growth by many employees.

Tools that can be used:

  • Learning Management Systems are used to create training programs, track attendance and assess the progress of an employee. E.g., Moodle, iSpring Learn
  • An Internal Knowledge Base offers a large database of learning topics for employees. E.g.: Help Scout, Guru
  • Video Training Tools is a long-term, cost-effective tool to simplify learning through videos for employees. E.g.: Camtasia, DemoCreator

#5 Rewards and recognition

Acknowledging an employee’s effort, performance and contribution to the organization are very important. This is commonly done through rewards and recognition. Companies have also developed innovative ways to recognize an employee, which can be financial gains or visibility. Here are some of them:

  • Raises, perks, or bonuses
  • Awards
  • Gifts, goodies, or vouchers
  • Personalized appreciation messages
  • Time-off or sponsored vacations

Tools that can be used:

  • Employee recognition software is used to identify employee productivity based on set benchmarks, allows peer recognition, and has a list of reward selections. E.g.: Bonusly, Nectar

#6 Retention

Employee retention is a huge task for HR and management. Employee dissatisfaction can be due to many reasons – some of which may be beyond the organization’s control. However, some reasons can be addressed by the company viz.:

  • Compensation or salary revisions
  • Growth opportunities
  • Flexible working modes
  • Work-life balance
  • Coaching and mentoring

These need not be offered immediately.

However, the management must keep its word. 

Employee retention is a huge task for the organization, especially when it concerns leadership and highly skilled employees. All organizations try very hard to avoid the loss of expertise and revenue losses incurred by the exit of an employee.

Tools that can be used:

  • Employee retention software offers a wide range of benefits from employee well-being to celebrating milestones. Some tools also provide a comprehensive HR audit and monitoring of compliance with policies. E.g.: Motivosity, Caroo

#7 Separation or offboarding

Despite all the comfort and opportunity provided by the organization, an employee separation is an inevitable event. This can happen due to natural reasons like retirement or leave due to personal challenges or ill health. But when it comes to termination or resignation, it is very important for the separation to be handled well. 

Although it may seem like the last interaction between the employee and the organization, it is a moment that matters. Employees, who have a good offboarding experience, are more likely to promote the company as well as come back in the future (if the company has a rehire policy).

Here are some steps to provide a good offboarding experience:

  • Acknowledge the employee’s contribution  
  • In case of termination, acknowledge their association with their organization
  • Ask them for feedback to improve your processes
  • Don’t keep them hanging for information, experience letter or final settlement
  • Encourage knowledge transfer and experience sharing
  • Create transparency about the exit with other team members (in case of termination) to avoid gossip or misinformation  

Tools that can be used:

  • An Employee Separation Management System allows the smooth offboarding of an employee with streamlined documentation, surveys, and transition and return of company property.  E.g.: FlowHCM, EmployWise 

Let us now look at the steps to create an employee journey map.

How to create an Employee Journey Map?

If you have understood the points mentioned so far, the steps to create a journey map will be very simple.

#1 Start with the ‘why’

If you know your ‘why’, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ fall in place. Is the purpose of creating employee journeys to reduce employee turnover or improve your brand image?

Research your employee needs, goals, gaps and issues to identify gaps across processes and hierarchy. With this data in place, create an employee journey strategy.

#2 Build employee personas or profiles

Next is to focus on the ‘who’. Identifying individual employees’ personalities, needs, goals, motivators, and sore spots will help create a ‘persona’.

Ensure that you collect information that will be helpful in improving employee satisfaction instead of gathering data that goes down a black hole. 

#3 Identify touchpoints

Divide the organizations into segments and identify touchpoints for each of them. Although the journey map will be similar for employees within a segment, it will still be different for each employee.

Also, identify where, when, and for whom employee engagement needs to be higher.  

#4 Take appropriate action

If gathering regular feedback at every touchpoint is a standard task in the mapping process, fix gaps and make process improvements. Some examples are removing redundant steps in onboarding or increasing the frequency of one-on-one meetings. 

Wrap Up

Implementing these steps into your existing processes will be simple if you have streamlined processes and you review them regularly.

Employee mapping needs a lot of consistent effort and employee engagement. This can be simplified by automation and several user-friendly tools.

Once you have a certain system in place, you can be on auto-pilot. With experience, you will find the entire activity quite effortless.

After all, employees are a company’s greatest asset – an integral part of the company’s mission and your competitive advantage. Invest in them to get multifold payoffs!

FAQs on Employee Journey Map

Do you need to create separate journey maps for different people?

Yes. Employees in different job roles will have different journey maps. For example, someone working in sales will have a different journey as compared to a software developer. Also, every individual’s journey map will be different since each one has their own goals, skills, motivators and areas of improvement.

How detailed does an employee persona need to be?

Every person has a story to tell and to know them may take a lifetime. You can use many questions to understand the person’s interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes, to break the ice and build rapport. However, the data that matters the most is the one that impacts the person’s professional life. This can be obtained by formal interviewing or informal conversations.

What is the biggest need for employee journey mapping?

Employee journey mapping is the most useful to provide the best employee experience and thus impacts employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. 

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