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Employee journey mapping: How to guide

Last updated

26 June 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

As the Great Resignation continues to inspire employees to leave their jobs, companies must learn how to retain their best employees and attract top talent. 

Discovering why your employees are jumping ship to other companies is key to creating a fresh, compelling experience for current and potential employees. 

Let’s learn how employee journey mapping can help your business. 

What is the employee experience journey?

An employee's experience with your company is their journey, starting before they even accept a position. 

It begins with scrolling through job opportunities on your website. The journey continues through the hiring and onboarding process and extends throughout their employment. 

The journey involves engagement, training, and development, finalizing at the exit interview.  

Mapping their journey can help you enhance their experiences, allowing you to eliminate any hurdles along the way. Issues an employer perceives as minor events may be significant to employees.  

Employees often begin their employment journey with excitement and expectations. HR and management must learn what makes employees happy to keep excitement high and provide more positive experiences. 

This can ensure a productive, long-term employee versus an employee who does not contribute or leaves shortly after hire. 

Employee experiences are like any long-term relationship: The employee tends to remember the best and worst experiences. 

Mapping the employee journey allows employers to expand on positive experiences and minimize negative ones.

What is an employee experience journey map?

Employee journey experience mapping tracks the key experiences during a worker’s entire employment.  

It allows leaders to pinpoint the areas of concern and optimize the positive experience for future hires. The ultimate goal is to attract top talent, motivate them to do their best work, and retain those employees for long-term employment.

An employee journey map works chronologically, starting with the hiring process and examining other vital steps along the way. 

Finessing each step on the map helps employers make changes to: 

  • Increase employee satisfaction

  • Improve job quality

  • Gain a competitive edge in attracting top talent

Employers can use the information from employee journey mapping to identify the most critical experiences for employees and allocate resources to enhance the experience.  

It can also clarify an organization's critical roles and responsibilities and emphasize the most important moments.

Benefits of employee experience journey mapping

Employee experience journey mapping can help a company attract top talent, boost productivity, and reduce attrition. But that’s not all. 

Understanding what matters most to employees and how their experiences impact their employment can deliver some essential benefits along the way:

Clarify job descriptions

Dissatisfaction and confusion can occur when managers ask employees to do tasks outside their job description.  

Imagine you hire a server for your restaurant and want them to clean the restrooms at the end of the shift. Not including that task in their job description could lead to annoyance when you ask them to do it.  

Effectively allocate resources

Once you determine the areas in the employee journey that need revision or restructuring, you can put time and money into improving them.  

Simple solutions like providing the right tools for the job can improve productivity and how your employee perceives their worth.

Improve employee engagement

An engaged employee is a productive employee. If you discover employees are disengaged with their supervisor or team, journey mapping can help you identify and remedy their experience.  

Team-building exercises or outings could help when employees lack a positive experience. You can also see how engaged employees are experiencing the workplace and replicate that. 

Here are ways to improve engagement:

Find and improve experiences

Everyone sees things differently, and mapping helps you uncover and improve experiences.

Cultivate equity and inclusion

Eliminate bias and inequities within the employee's journey by closing gaps and offering training and support.

Collaboration and teamwork 

Top employees thrive in an environment where their work is meaningful. 

Highlighting touchpoints where different teams can work together effectively can address pitfalls in teamwork and foster collaboration.

Support and recognition

Offering employees the right amount of support and recognition can bring out the best in them.  Journey maps can determine if your recognition programs optimize engagement and lead to greater productivity.  

Continuous improvement

An employee experience journey map will give you a perspective on iterative improvements based on employee feedback. This ensures your company can drive a culture of ongoing enhancement.

An employee experience journey map can determine areas to build upon and define your company's goals and values. It can help you reduce recruitment costs by attracting talented applicants that will thrive within your company's positive environment.

Stages of the employee journey

An employee's journey generally has four stages:

  1. Recruitment and hiring

  2. Onboarding

  3. Development

  4. Offboarding or exit

Each stage is important to the employee and employer, and mapping determines how to optimize these steps to everyone’s advantage.

Recruitment and hiring

You need to draw in top talent before your company can even make an offer.  

During the process, consider how long it takes from application to offer:

  • Is it taking too long?  

  • Are you getting the desired amount of qualified applicants? 

Once the process begins, the applicant should get to know your company and what they can expect when working there.  

The candidate should receive quality communication on:

  • The hiring stages

  • Their application status 

  • The job description

  • The expected salary

A qualified candidate should feel comfortable, informed, and valued.

Onboarding

Onboarding isn’t just filling out benefit information and getting a key card. It also includes getting up to speed with their new team, manager, systems, and processes.  

The employer needs to retain the new employee’s enthusiasm throughout the process.   

Development  

The development stage of the journey includes everything an employer can do to help the employee upskill, get promoted, or become a stronger team member. 

This is usually accomplished through performance appraisals, raises, and constructive feedback.  

During the development phase, employees expect to expand their skill sets, learn how to be promoted, or gain recognition for meeting their goals.

Offboarding

While every employee leaves a company at some point, your goal is to retain them as long as possible.  

Some leave for reasons like an out-of-area move or retirement, but if an employee leaves to join another company, find out why.  

Exit interviews are a great way to learn if there are areas you can improve upon.

Steps to create an employee journey map

1. Define the scope

Before you begin your employee journey map, define the scope of the map.  

Larger companies will have many positions, resulting in complex maps, so you may want to single out one department or position. Focus your efforts on areas with issues like lower productivity, higher turnover, or other areas of concern.  

Start simply and branch out until you get the information you need. Once you determine the scope of your employee journey map, you can move on to research.

2. Conduct research

You may already have some of the data you need to identify a problem area, such as turnover rates, productivity issues, or information from exit interviews.  

Interview employees in the area you’re mapping. Learn about their problems, expectations, and goals to create employee personas, segmenting employees by role, not demographics.

3. Establish the journey 

Once you’ve selected the role you’re mapping, determine the journey they take and the most important moments along the way.  

If you’re mapping different departments or roles, their journeys may look different.  

Include areas such as recruitment, benefits packages, compensation, and training.

4. Create the map  

Use employee research to craft your journey map, visualizing it from their perspective. Include information from current employee interviews alongside data on turnover, productivity, and exit interviews.  

Include the touchpoints for each stage and highlight the problem areas. Look for similarities and transitions that may point to a problem. Highlight points of frustration, stress, or dissatisfaction. 

Focus on things that worked well, too. Identify moments of delight, satisfaction, or success to replicate and reinforce those experiences. 

Try to be as detailed as possible to determine what to do at each stage of the journey.

5. Take action  

Your employee journey map can pinpoint a mismatch between employee and employer expectations and experiences:

  • If a pain point is the drawn-out hiring process, find and fix the bottleneck. 

  • If an employee feels disconnected from the team, encourage team building. 

  • If a department sees few promotions from within, determine causes and remedies.

6. Refine the journey  

Now you’ve created and implemented your journey map, revisit the process to measure the impact of the changes:  

  • Has employee turnover decreased?  

  • Has departmental productivity increased?  

If the results don't reflect your actions, you may need to expand the map to find other causes and solutions.  

Employee experience journey map template

You can create an employee experience journey map template, or you can invest in a digital tool that creates easy-to-use maps that are shareable with stakeholders. 

Most digital templates, like this one from Figma, allow for customized maps while offering insights and strategies to use. Making the map shareable allows insights from others who have different perspectives and solutions.

FAQs

How do you measure employee journey?

Employee journeys are somewhat different, but measuring them usually includes the following:

  1. Satisfaction levels indicate how employees feel about their job and workplace.  

  2. Employee net promoter score (eNPS) is a satisfaction and loyalty metric that indicates how many employees would recommend your organization to others as a workplace.

  3. Employee productivity indicates how adept and proficient an employee is at their job and may indicate roadblocks to productivity.

  4. Retention rates measure the number of people remaining in their jobs versus the number of employees who have left.

  5. Employee absenteeism or illnesses are often a key indicator of lack of engagement, dissatisfaction, or problems that may cause an employee to call in sick.

  6. Recognition frequency could indicate that employees aren’t meeting their goals or that management is not recognizing employee achievements.

  7. Internal referrals indicate that employees are happy at their jobs and want to share that job satisfaction with friends or family. 

What are examples of employee journey key moments?

  • A hiring process that is too lengthy or complex.

  • Equipment and training are unavailable for new hires.

  • Promotions are not occurring from a certain department.

  • Benefits packages are not comparable to those of other employers.

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