Everybody wins when you improve your employee experience. Workers are happier, more engaged, and more productive while employers benefit from better performance and talent retention.

But when you look at the vast landscape of everything from compensation and benefits to culture and leadership, it’s easy to feel directionless (or plain old lost). With so many areas where you could focus your energy and resources, how can you figure out where to start?

That’s where your employee experience roadmap comes in. 

What is an employee experience roadmap?

Before you can understand what the roadmap is, you first need to understand what the employee experience is. Your employee experience is your workforce’s perception of your company as a whole—it encompasses every single interaction they have with your organization. 

As you’d probably guess, a good employee experience is good news for both employees and employers. According to a Gartner study, a positive employee experience has a direct and positive impact on retention, engagement, and performance. 

So what about your roadmap? It’s what charts your path to a better employee experience. It’s a detailed plan that highlights the different touchpoints of your employee journey as well as the steps you’ll take to improve it. Getting this down in writing has a number of advantages:

  • Clearly define any problems before identifying solutions
  • Stay focused on the efforts that will be the most meaningful
  • Set clear goals and metrics to monitor your progress
  • Align all leaders with a single understanding of the employee experience

Much like you’d build a product roadmap or a customer journey map, your employee experience map is your bird’s-eye view of where you currently are with your employee experience—as well as where you intend to go and exactly how you’ll get there. 

How to build an employee experience roadmap: 6 steps for people leaders

Improving your employee experience isn’t an HR-only activity—and the same goes for creating the actual roadmap. This process should involve people leaders from across the organization to get a thorough understanding of the overall experience, employee feedback, and which steps are most pertinent.

When you’ve assembled your crew and are ready to get started, here are the steps to build your most impactful employee experience roadmap. 

1. Pinpoint your pitstops

When you think of “employee experience,” it’s tempting to think only about your active employees.

However, the employee experience spans their entire journey—from recruiting all the way to career development (or even exiting your organization). Plot out each of those stages as the outline of your employee experience roadmap. For example:

  • Talent attraction
  • Talent recruitment
  • Employee onboarding
  • Employee development
  • Employee exit

Doing so helps you think holistically about the employee experience and not focus solely on one piece of the journey. After all, an onboarding experience that’s drastically different from the recruitment experience will breed skepticism (not to mention give employees whiplash). 

2. Understand your starting point

You need a baseline before you can jump in and improve your employee experience. This step is all about getting a real understanding of where you’re starting from.

It’s tempting to use assumptions or anecdotal evidence here, but dig deep to build solid comprehension of your current experience. This could include:

  • Facilitating conversations with people leaders across the organization
  • Combing through data and sources like turnover rates and exit interview responses
  • Conducting thorough employee surveys
  • Using AI like Erudit to get real-time workforce insights on employee sentiment metrics

This will reveal parts of the employee experience that are going well, as well as areas where you need to step up your game. For example, employees might be thrilled with their level of autonomy but feel saddled by unreasonable workloads. 

3. Define (and prioritize) your goals

The employee experience is broad and all-encompassing—and it’s way too much to improve in one swing. That’s why you need to focus on the most pertinent and impactful areas first.

Doing so is challenging, particularly when every aspect of the employee experience feels so consequential. There’s no specific formula to follow to prioritize your goals, but use the information you collected above to guide you. 

Are there certain focus areas that are bubbling to the surface? For example, maybe lack of career development was something you heard from leaders, in exit interviews, in surveys, and through your AI insights. That’s a pertinent issue to prioritize.

When you know the areas you need to zone in on, create employee experience goals to serve as your target. Keep in mind that a goal is different from a task—and you don’t want to confuse the two. Here’s an example:

  • Goal: “Improve our employee satisfaction scores by 15% by the end of Q2.”
  • Task: “Launch a monthly lunch-and-learn series to support employee development.”

See the difference? A task is something you need to do, but a goal is a defined finish line you need to reach. You might find it helpful to use the SMART goal framework here. It ensures your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—which is all important information to have as you monitor your progress.  

4. Figure out your action plan 

When you know what you want to achieve (and in what order), it’s time to determine how you’re going to do it. What steps will you take to reach that goal?

For example, perhaps autonomy was one of your focus areas and you set a goal of improving your autonomy score by 10% by the end of the year. What can you do to make that happen? Maybe you’ll:

  • Introduce a more flexible work policy
  • Create a knowledge base or use an AI chatbot for employees to have self-serve access to information
  • Provide training to managers on how to empower employees and avoid micromanaging

Your employees can play a role in this part of the process by offering feedback and insights about what specific changes they’d like to see happen. You can also collect insights from your HRIS (like Lattice or Factorial) to understand your employee experience and sentiment. 

Erudit can help too. Not only will Erudit give you the data you need to determine which employee needs aren’t being met, but it will also assist you in developing action plans to improve. Erudit’s generative AI will even suggest steps to take that will make the most meaningful difference. 

5. Communicate with employees

You might think that anything you do to improve the employee experience will be welcomed with open arms by your workers, but the truth is that change is intimidating for employees—even when it’s positive.

That’s why you can’t just roll out new employee experience initiatives without communicating about them first. Clearly explain to employees what’s happening, why it’s happening, when it’s happening, what steps will be taken, and how they’re expected to be involved.

Doing so is helpful for a few reasons: It helps them feel less overwhelmed, it engages them in the changes that are taking place, and it demonstrates that you value their insights (and are making adjustments accordingly). That alone is powerful when you consider that 45% of employees don’t believe their feedback leads to meaningful change within their organization. 

6. Monitor your progress

Your employee experience won’t shift overnight. How will you keep an eye on how you’re progressing toward your goals?

Again, this shouldn’t be based on anecdotes or a gut feel. You can use a variety of efforts—surveys, focus groups, leadership conversations, and Erudit—to get a solid understanding of how you’re progressing.

If you use the SMART goal framework, your employee experience goals will have specific metrics attached to them that you can monitor. You should also keep an eye on overall employee experience metrics like engagement, burnout, and turnover (which are all measured in Erudit's main dashboard). 

Improve your employee experience (without getting lost)

When it comes to your employee experience, it’s easy to have false confidence that you’re making the right changes—not to mention get distracted by the latest trend or perk. But to really make a meaningful difference, you need to have a proper pulse on your workforce and then create a plan to address those needs. 

That’s why your employee experience roadmap is so crucial. It will help you understand all of the elements of your employee experience, how you stack up, and perhaps most importantly, how to get exactly where you want to go.

Want more actionable ideas for improving employee experience? Read "The employer’s guide to impactful employee experience initiatives."

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