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Employee Journey Maps: Designing the Perfect Employee Experience

Jill Christensen

March 21, 2019 · 5 min read
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There’s a growing recognition among business leaders of the close connection between the employee experience and the customer experience – and the bottom line. According to Gartner research, 51% of HR executives identified the employee experience as a key initiative for 2019.

But what’s the difference between employee engagement and the employee experience? Employee engagement has long taken centre stage among organizational priorities, and for good reason: companies with highly engaged employees have stronger financial performance and better customer experience. In fact, customer experience leaders have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as customer experience stragglers.

The employee experience, a more recent concept, has a broader focus that encompasses engagement. It’s the sum of all interactions an employee has with their employer, including how the employee perceives the company overall and their role within it.

Devoting the same care and attention to the employee experience as you give the customer experience has positive ripple effects across the whole organization: employees are more engaged and productive, retention rates are higher, and customers get better service. 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.

But there’s a lot of work to be done: Gallup found an alarming 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged, while 71% of HR practitioners think that senior leaders could do more to improve the employee experience. On the flip side, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share, while organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience report that they see nearly three times the return on assets as those in the bottom quarter.

The good news is that organizations already have the knowledge and skills to enhance the employee experience. They just have to apply the principles of customer experience design – such as journey mapping – to employees. The tactics your marketing team uses to optimize the customer experience can be applied to the employee experience as well.

At each point on the employee journey map, digital solutions – from onboarding centers to recognition tools – can help companies create positive, productive interactions that add up to an exceptional employee experience.

What is Employee Journey Mapping?

An employee journey map is a visualization of the timeline of the entire employee experience, starting when people consider applying for a position until they leave the company. It depicts all the key touchpoints along the way, while underscoring employee needs and pain points. Gaining a deeper, holistic understanding of a person’s journey level experience helps organizations create a better overall employee experience.

The employee mapping process takes the perspective of employees, emphasizing the moments that matter most to them. These moments range from day one on the job and the first paycheque to attending a company-wide meeting and pursuing new training opportunities.

Considerations for High-Level Mapping & Individual Employee Journeys

Just as the customer journey can vary widely in one company, so can the employee journey. Journey maps should account for this diversity by assessing the needs and goals of all kinds of employees. Consider creating employee personas, just 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 to a recent graduate starting their first real job. Journey maps should also exist for employees who will resign or be terminated.

Another key consideration in employee journey mapping is the growing proportion of millennials in organizations. By 2020, they will make up 50% of the global workforce, and 75% by 2025. Compared to previous generations, millennials have different workstyles, expectations of employers, and preferred digital tools. As a result, their maps will look different to those of other generations.

Emulating a Customer Journey Map for Employee Experiences

To map an employee’s experience, use the same principles underlying customer journey mapping.  Here’s an example of a customer journey map that can easily be adapted to align with the employee lifecycle in your organization.

Just as you would all possible interactions a customer has with your company, your employee journey map should include every stage of the lifecycle and should provide quick, visual starting points for evaluating the success of these touchpoints. These are some of the key questions to ask at each part of the journey:

  • What is the employee trying to do?
  • What is the employee feeling?
  • What are the barriers?
  • What are the supports (digital or human)?


The Harvard Business Review suggests aligning the employee lifecycle to these 10 stages.  At each stage, an organization has the opportunity to create a positive employee experience, often with the help of a digital tool designed to solve critical business challenges.

1.  Sourcing and 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 and 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 and benefits

Inquiries about payroll and benefits policies can waste time for employees and HR alike. With a self-service HR tool, you can centralize this information in an easy-to-find place.

5.  Ongoing learning and 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, and 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 and recognition

It’s a simple equation: employee recognition + rewards = employee loyalty + engagement. A one-stop solution for nominating and showcasing people’s achievement helps you manage every aspect of your employee recognition program.

8. Performance planning, feedback, and review

The employee journey mapping process should include detailed information about when and how people will receive feedback on their performance.

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.

10. Retirement, termination, or resignation

The end of the journey level experience is different for every employee, and their maps will highlight the different resources required to support people through their exit from the company.

How to get started with employee journey mapping

Start small by mapping out one or two pivotal moments before creating a map of the whole employment lifecycle, and ensure all the key stakeholders are on board (HR, IT, Marketing, etc.). Plot the key interactions and identify where employees are getting what they want and need, where they aren’t, and how digital tools can improve the experience.

With decades of experience building digital workplace destinations for organizations of varying sizes and industry focus, Igloo Software has developed a proven framework to guide their customers through their digital workplace transformation journey. This structured process will ensure you identify the problems you’re trying to solve, who you’re solving them for, and the optimal solutions to achieve your business goals, keeping your requirements and personas in mind at all times.

Visit the Igloo Services page to learn more.