Employee Engagement in the Digital Age

November 27, 2019 Focus area: Reinventing HR

Why you should start mapping your Talent Experience today

Over the last decades, employee engagement has become increasingly important for many organizations. However, I often see that organizations do not oversee the consequences of digitalization on employee engagement. In fact, organizations can really use digitalization in favor of improving employee engagement. In this post I will explain you how.

Consequences of digitalization

Traditionally, organizations tend to focus on the engagement of their existing workforce, which I would not dare to criticize. However, in the digital age we are living in, employee engagement is not something purely internal. It is no longer a bird in cage. It is a limitless horizon of birds with thoughts, experiences and opinions about your organizations.

Employees leaving your company unsatisfied or unengaged can broadly spread their opinions and, in that way, negatively impact how people see your organization. A great example of an organization that fully understands this is Tony’s Chocolonely who send a chocolate bar to all rejected candidates: The Bummer Bar*. By which they aim to soften the pain and to keep the good image of their organization up.

Learnings from how we approach clients

Furthermore, with the Bummer Bar, Tony’s is smartly anticipating on the fact that there is a thin line between their employees and customers. Their clients today may become their employees tomorrow. Although this thin line does not occur in every organization, we can learn something from how Tony’s approaches these two audiences in a similar way.

A useful tool that has proven its use in client engagement is mapping the Customer Journey. What exactly is customer journey mapping?

“A journey map is an illustrated representation of a customer’s expectations, experiences and reflections as it unfolds over time across multiple stages and touchpoints while using a product or consuming a service”[1]. The mapped Customer Journey provides you with insights of the current situation (as-is) and is the definitive first step for identifying and deploying improvement initiatives to the future state (to-be).

The Talent Engagement Journey

Such a journey could be adopted to map employee engagement as well. With the knowledge that experiences go beyond your internal organization and beyond your current workforce it would be even better to refer to a Talent Engagement Journey instead. In this case, talent refers to a broader selection of people than your current workforce as it also refers to your potential and former employees. The Talent Engagement Journey will therefore be applied to talent in your recruitment and selection phase, those who won’t end up working for, your current employees, as well as those who left your organization (your alumni).

In the below image you can find an example including an elaboration of a Talent Engagement Journey.

Please note that the text will continue after the image.

An example of an Talent Engagement Journey

The perfect starting point

As previously mentioned, the mapped Journey is a perfect starting point for improvement initiatives. Now it is key that you do not try to score an eight on every activity but rather pick a few. The right figure in the example can guide you with this selection by pointing out for example, what the potential employee values as important in the prey employment phase. My advice would be to first focus on what is valued as important along with what has a low score regarding engagement.

I can easily write another page, or two about how to determine the right actions for improvement but that is not the focus of this blog. What I do want to give you as a final takeaway is that it is important to take the time to have conversations with your (potential/former) employees and find out what drives them. Have an open and honest conversation about the expectations they have of an/your organization in meeting these drivers: personal attention is and remains key.

* Thank you Sophie Dopheide from Tony Chocolonely for sharing this great example at our Talent Engagement Round Table session.

[1] Siddharth Gaikwad.