9 Ways to Improve the Employee Experience and Retention

This article has been reviewed by Billy Stevens for accuracy.

A business cannot realize meaningful growth without engaged employees. While employee experience has always been important, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand. According to Gartner, 64% of HR leaders prioritized an improved employee experience post-pandemic.

Today, employee experience is about more than just providing staff with fair pay, benefits, and other perks. More and more, employees want a collaborative environment where their contributions are valued and they derive purpose from their work. Learn more about the concept, why it matters, and how home service businesses like residential plumbing and HVAC contractors can improve the employee experience.

What is the employee experience?

Like customer experience, employee experience (EX) is overall perceptions about the business based on interactions throughout the employee lifecycle. It begins during the initial interview and onboarding process and continues through the last day at the company. 

Employee experience comprises multiple components, such as workplace culture, technology, and workspace, whether in-person or remote. To maintain a positive employee experience, contractors must cultivate an environment where employees feel valued and respected by leaders, and leaders show trust in their staff. What’s more, EX has a trickledown effect as it influences performance and productivity, which impacts customer satisfaction.

Why should employers care?

EX is about more than employee satisfaction and wellness. It also provides many benefits that help businesses achieve their goals. The following are a few reasons why employee experience matters for contractors:

  • Boosts employee engagement: Engaged employees are more motivated to meet production goals, collaborate with other workers, and are more likely to stay with the company long-term.
  • Enables acquisition and retention of top talent: Focusing on employee experience helps contractors stand out from other employers to attract the most qualified workers.
  • Decreases absenteeism: When employees have a supportive company culture and can maintain a good work-life balance, it’s easier to come to work and bring their all. This means fewer absences and can reduce the turnover rate for better retention.
  • Enhances work quality: EX improves more than productivity; it empowers staff to be more creative with problem-solving and deliver better customer service. High-quality service doesn’t go unnoticed by customers, increasing your reputation and potential profitability.

Maintaining good EX can also mean delivering a better customer experience. When techs are satisfied with their jobs and feel supported by their employers, it raises morale. As techs interact face-to-face with customers more often than admin staff, their attitude and behavior on the job can significantly impact the company’s overall reputation.

Employee retention saves capital expenditure

Improve the Employee Experience graphicThe advantages of a well-designed employee experience strategy are clear when considering the cost of employee turnover. For home service businesses like those in the HVAC and plumbing industries, recent estimates claim it can cost contractors up to $5,500 an employee to replace entry-level workers earning minimum wage (considered $8 for this estimate).

The amount represents approximately 30 to 50% of entry-level employees’ annual salaries. The impact of turnover rises when looking at management and other high-level roles, which may cost contract ors 400% or more of these employees’ annual salaries to fill vacant positions. These astonishing statistics stress how vital employee experience is for your retention strategy.

8 ways to improve the employee experience immediately:

1. Offer a Clear and Satisfying Onboarding Experience

Nurture good employee experience from the start with effective onboarding. Give new hires clear instructions on forms to complete and ensure training provides them with the information they need to begin confidently. Even if new employees have extensive work experience in your field, avoid assuming they’re already familiar with certain processes.

2. Encourage Employee Engagement

Employees need to know they’re welcome to share their ideas to feel fully engaged. One method for stimulating engagement is conducting engagement surveys and asking questions about company culture and overall experience. This strategy conveys you value employee feedback and helps you identify areas for improvement.

3. Foster a Fun Work Environment

What’s often forgotten about when it comes to employee experience is creating a fun, positive work environment. However, fun doesn’t just mean engaging in creative team-building exercises and having holiday parties. Even more important is a workplace where everyone feels they belong. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are integral as they provide actionable steps contractors can take to ensure all employees feel respected and celebrated.

4. Reward Employees for Their Efforts

Do you have a system for recognizing team members for their hard work? Whether they help secure new customers, exceed daily production goals, or celebrate milestones, developing a culture where high-performing workers are rewarded shows employees they’re a valuable part of the business.

5. Offer Growth Opportunities

Showing employees possible growth opportunities can help them avoid feeling stagnant. Continuing education programs are a great resource as they empower workers to be lifelong learners.

For instance, a technician may wish to enter an administrative role but not have enough experience to apply for an internal opening. Creating job-specific training and mentorship programs within the company makes it easier to realize professional development.

6. Outline Employee Journeys

Further growth opportunities with clear career development. Employee journeys denoting possible career paths within the company can make one hopeful about possible promotions.

7. Offer Remote Work or Hybrid Work

Some personnel at HVAC and plumbing companies, like technicians, need to be out in the field each day, but if other staff doesn’t need to be physically present at the office, consider remote or hybrid work arrangements. This flexibility helps employees achieve a better work-life balance and seek development opportunities.

8. Give Honest Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can be a touchy subject and can significantly diminish experience if they go awry. Every employee can stand to improve, so when drafting and going over performance reviews, be straightforward yet respectful about what needs to change, remembering to praise staff for accomplishments.

Improve Employee Experience with FSM Software

When residential plumbing and HVAC contractors focus on meeting employees’ needs, they enhance experience and increase retention. One place to begin augmenting EX is by streamlining operations and promoting more efficiency. For home service businesses like HVAC and plumbing contractors, field service management software helps simplify scheduling and dispatching and automates workflows, making the daily tasks of admin staff and techs much easier.

At Sera, our software solutions are built on four pillars to help small-to-medium-sized HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and similar home service businesses boost their bottom lines.

Contact us today to schedule a discovery call or free demo.

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