Are We In Tune with the Employee Experience?

brown and black gramophone
Photo by Skitterphoto on

What are your first thoughts when you see this picture? Grandma’s living room? Nice antique? What the heck is that? Those are the same reactions some of our candidates and employees have when they see some of our talent practices. Many companies have designed systems and structures that worked years ago- but lack the flexibility and personalization employees are expecting today.  Our current groove may be familiar but are we hearing its effectiveness?  Let’s relook and listen to our recruiting, orientation, and development approaches and create a new employee experience.

High Fidelity Recruiting. Music lovers look for high fidelity- quality reproduction of sound with little distortion. Candidates are also looking for high fidelity – an actual candidate experience that sounds/feels like the quality of the company brand. As a recent job seeker, I can attest that there are a lot of opportunities in this first employee experience point.  No one ATS system is perfect- but many are a candidate’s pain point.  What information do you really need about someone up front? What can a candidate populate in 5-7 minutes? Banks advertise that you can be pre-approved for a loan in that amount of time- so why can’t candidates be approved by us?  I’m not sure which is worse- distortion or silence. There are number of roles I applied for where I never received any communication about my application. Conversely, there were opportunities where I was not the right candidate, but I was able to help refer some folks to them. It’s all in the experience- and the quality of that experience will definitely be played back and projected to others.

Drop the Needle Orientation. I remember having records and a record player. I remember being careful to get the needle in the groove just so, so I didn’t scratch the album. One of the main downsides to records was that you couldn’t easily replay a song and it was nearly impossible to re-listen to one part of a song. Let’s equate that to most companies’ approach to orientation. A room of fresh, eager faces arrive on their first day, excited to get in their groove and to listen to the key parts of the “record” that are important to them. But most orientation programs are designed to rotate through all the tracks, with only pre-programmed pauses, and at one RPM. Imagine instead walking into a session that revolved around you. “We are so glad you are hear. Here is how your role connects to our mission and purpose. Here are all the things we have information on today. Self rotate to the different topics at your own speed to cover what you want, when you want.” This could be facilitated with technology and by shortening the generic group orientation and having the manager/peer/mentor spend more time with individual employees. Moving to a more employee-centric approach would help move the needle on effective orientations.

Sound system development.  Personalizing development is a hot topic. It is one of  Deloitte’s top HR trends from 2018 and challenges us to move from a career focus to an experience focus. Many employers think about careers the way that record companies thought about music. We have a prepackaged record for you with a set number of tracks  that play sequentially. But today’s employee lives in an Itunes world where he/she can select just the tracks they like and can build their own soundtrack.  It makes sound business sense for us to move away from static tracks and to identify the critical dynamic skills and experiences that employees will need to be successful. We should then build development systems around helping employees see and select the experiences that align to their interests and aspirations.

Today’s employees want to know that they matter. They look for purpose in their work and personalization in their employee experience. Vinyl may be back in vogue, but a turntable approach to employee processes is way out of date. If we want to build the workforce of the future, then let’s rebuild our recruiting, orientation, and development practices to align with our brand and employees expectations.







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