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Employee Journey Mapping: Creating a Route to Success

Kristen Ruttgaizer

January 21, 2021 · 6 min read

Employee journey mapping provides businesses with a visual timeline of the entire employee experience, from interview to eventual exit. When used correctly, it can provide insights into employee retention, employee engagement, and employee pain points. With today’s rapidly changing workplace, employee journey mapping is more useful than ever.

What is an employee journey?

The employee journey provides a framework for thinking about the moments, big and small, that make up an employee’s experience during their entire tenure at your workplace. It informs how an employee perceives the company overall and their role within it based on their lived experiences within the company.

By understanding an employee’s journey, employers receive insights into both pain points and places to celebrate along that journey. Gaining a deeper, holistic understanding of an employee’s journey helps organizations create a better overall employee experience for current and future employees.

What is employee journey mapping?

Employee journey mapping is the creation of visual timelines of the entire employee experience for each type of employee within your organization. It involves the gathering of information and feedback about what should go into your company’s journey maps based on the specifics of your company, including company processes and employee types.

An employee journey map applies the same principles as a customer journey map; it takes the perspective of employees and emphasizes the moments that matter most to them. Most employee maps start with when people consider applying for a position and end with when they leave the company. In the middle, it also depicts all the key touchpoints during an individual’s employment while underscoring employee needs and pain points.

While the finer points of each employee’s journey are going to be different, the overarching touchpoints of similar employees’ journey maps — interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training, ongoing learning, promotions, onboarding, etc. — are roughly the same.

However, since there are often different types of employees within a company, you will need to build different types of employee journey maps.

What are the benefits of employee journey mapping?

Devoting the same care and attention to the employee journey as you give the customer journey boosts employee experience and engagement. Improved employee experience and engagement have ripple effects across the whole organization:

  • According to a research study conducted by Jacob Morgan, companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t
  • Organizations that score in the top 25% on employee engagement report that they see nearly three times the return on assets as those in the bottom quarter
  • Gallup found that highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share

Despite all of these benefits, the same Gallup study above found that an alarming 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. This means that an incredible number of companies are losing profits when they don’t put the effort into improving employee experience.

Creating and implementing employee journey maps is one major step that companies can take to better understand and thus improve their employees’ experience. As a result, retention rates are higher, and customers get better service.

How to create an employee journey map

So how do you become one of those companies that rank high in both employee experiences and profits? Just apply the principles of customer experience design — such as journey mapping — to employees. These are the tactics your marketing team uses to optimize the customer experience and they can be applied to the employee experience as well.

1. Create employee personas

Create employee personas, just as you would for customers. A baby boomer who’s been at the organization for decades and plans to retire soon will have a very different map compared to a millennial, or a recent graduate starting their professional career. A C-suite employee is going to have a few different touchpoints from an entry-level position, and an IT employee will have different touch points than someone in marketing. Journey maps should also exist for employees who will resign or be terminated.

2. Perform research on moments that matter

Nobody can provide you better insights into employee journeys than your current employees. Interview a few employees from each of your employee personas and ask about major developmental milestones along their journey.

Here are some key questions to ask about each stage of the employee journey:

  • What was the employee trying to do?
  • How was the employee feeling?
  • What were the barriers?
  • What were the supports (digital or human)?
  • How could the experience be improved?

Make sure that you also examine any documentation you’ve already collected in which employee feedback about key moments was shared. These may include onboarding process surveys, employee engagement surveys, exit interviews, and more.

As you conduct these interviews, begin plotting key interactions and moments that matter. Note where employees are getting what they want and need, where they aren’t, and how digital tools can improve the experience.

3. Begin creating your employee maps

Eventually, your employee journey maps should include every stage of the employee lifecycle for each persona, and should provide quick, visual starting points for evaluating the success of these touchpoints.

But that’s a lot of information! So don’t be afraid to start small if you need to. You can begin by mapping out one or two pivotal moments for each employee persona, or by creating a map of the whole employment lifecycle for just one persona.

As you create your employee journeys, ensure that all the key stakeholders are on board (HR, IT, Marketing, etc.). At each point on the employee journey map, also make sure that you’re identifying what types of solutions can improve employee experience. Note that solutions can be both in-person and digital solutions.

Read the employee lifecycle

Are you using your digital tools to create the best employee experience? Read: The Employee Lifecycle: How to Use Your Intranet to Make Every Moment Matter

Employee journey mapping stages

There are 10 common stages to consider when creating employee journey maps for your organization. Each stage provides an opportunity for a positive employee experience, often with the help of a digital tool designed to solve critical business challenges.

1. Sourcing & recruiting

Think of this stage in the employee journey like lead generation in the consumer journey. Today’s employees are more empowered than ever before, and the current war for talent means organizations must invest more than ever before in online and offline recruitment.

2. Pre-onboarding

After they accept an offer but before they step in the door, there are many ways to start engaging new hires. Get them acquainted with your culture by inviting them to join company social networks and peruse the latest company news.

3. Onboarding (orientation & initial training)

A central digital destination for onboarding can accelerate the time to productivity. It brings together a social space for welcoming new employees, a learning zone, and a platform for asking questions.

4. Compensation & benefits

Inquiries about payroll and benefits policies can waste time for employees and HR alike. In fact, about 70% of HR time is spent on administrative tasks. With a self-service HR tool, you can centralize this information in an easy-to-find place and then help drive digital engagement.

5. Ongoing learning & development

Continually expanding an employee’s knowledge and skills is an integral part of any journey. Digital knowledge management solutions allow you to grow, capture, store, and share collective wisdom.

6. Ongoing engagement, communication, & community involvement

Informed and connected employees are engaged employees. A dedicated space for company news, policies, and corporate governance makes it easy to access business-critical information and feel in the loop.

7. Rewards & recognition

It’s a simple equation: Employee Recognition + Rewards = Employee Loyalty + Engagement. A one-stop solution for nominating and showcasing people’s achievements helps you manage every aspect of your employee recognition program.

8. Performance planning, feedback, & review

The employee journey mapping process should include detailed information about when and how people will receive feedback on their performance. However, it should also have the flexibility to increase feedback if the employee requests it.

9. Mapping the journey to advancement

To stay motivated and engaged over the long term, employees need to understand the KPIs and benchmarks that will determine when they move up the ladder during their journey. This will make goals feel more actionable and less abstract, making them clearer to understand and accomplish.

10. Retirement, termination, or resignation

Unfortunately, most people don’t stay at a job forever. The end of the journey is different for every employee, and their maps will highlight the different resources required to support them through their exit from the company.

Support every stage of your employee journey map with Igloo

Employee journey mapping is just one component (albeit an important one) in creating positive employee experiences within your company.

When you embark on your digital transformation with Igloo, we’ll guide you through a structured process to identify the problems you’re trying to solve, who you’re solving them for, and the optimal solutions to achieve your business goals, always keeping your requirements and personas in mind.

From onboarding centers to recognition tools, we help companies create positive, productive interactions that add up to an exceptional employee experience. Learn more about how Igloo can help improve the employee experience in your organization today!