From Onboarding to Offboarding: How Employee Journey Mapping Helps

 In Human Resources, Onboarding

An employee’s journey is the time they spend at your company, from the day they apply onward. Employee journey mapping is a way to identify and track important moments in the employee journey and implement changes to improve employees’ experiences. Understanding this journey helps with everything from onboarding, to employee retention, to company culture and more. That’s why companies that use this strategy are better able to attract and keep top talent.

Here’s how it works.

Identifying Moments that Matter to Employees

Mapping the employee journey starts with examining experiences from the employee’s perspective. All work-related experiences are part of the employee journey, but some moments are more important than others. Erik van Vulpen’s article on has a good list of important moments that matter to most employees:

  • The first job interview
  • The first day 
  • The first one-on-one with a manager
  • Other onboarding activities
  • The first performance review
  • The employee’s birthday
  • Training activities
  • Team events
  • Company restructurings
  • The exit interview

Important Moments Happen at Other Times Too

onboarding a new employee

Every company has its own important moments. Employees also have their own lives and relationships both within and separate from the company, and these factors have the potential to affect their experience at work both positively and negatively.

  • Company events, traditions, and special onboarding procedures are often important experiences for employees.
  • Employees also remember negative moments, even if they don’t happen at an important stop in the employee journey. If something very frustrating, inconvenient, or upsetting happens, it’s going to leave an impression. (Sometimes this is out of your control.)
  • Positive moments matter too. For example, an employee who is dealing with a personal crisis (or even just a big life change, like having a child) will definitely remember it when their boss is understanding and handles the situation well. 

Make a List of Your Most Important Moments

Actually “mapping” the employee journey starts with creating a list of all the moments that are most important in your company. Some of this is common sense, and applies to almost every company, but you can also:

  • Look through your notes and data from employee exit interviews. Does their feedback help you identify important moments?
  • Look through other data you’ve gathered from employees (surveys, feedback from one-on-ones, etc.)
  • Look at employee turnover. When are people typically leaving? Are certain experiences (like being repeatedly passed over for promotions) triggering the decision to move on?

Once you have all your moments in chronological order, what do you do with them? The second part of mapping involves a deeper dive into each moment.

Figure Out Where Employee Experience Is Good, and Where it’s Not

Large companies with lots of employee data may be able to identify trends in turnover, employee satisfaction, and other measures at different points in the employee journey. If your company is smaller, you can still gain important information from individual cases by having conversations with your employees at every level of the organization — meeting with them regularly and making sure they know they can come to you. 

This way, you can start measuring what’s going well and what can be improved at each important moment.

For example, during remote onboarding, small tweaks can make big positive changes in a new employee’s experience. It could be as simple as sending some welcoming Slack messages on their first day or being extra patient when they inevitably make a mistake. 

employee parking meter spot

Tip: Research has shown that employees frequently withhold their honest feedback from managers and the reasons why are complex but it’s usually a mix of fear and the perception that telling the whole truth is futile. Creating a culture where employees can give honest, constructive feedback can be difficult, but it’s worth it, and it can help you improve employee experience and lower employee turnover.

Summary: How to Improve Employee Experience and Retain Talent

The goal is to invest in the important moments, making them more positive and rewarding for your employees. Deciding what to change and how to change it involves:

  • Identification. Which moments are important to your employees?
  • Mapping. Map your company’s employee journey from start to finish, with each important moment as a checkpoint on the road.
  • Analysis. Trends in your employee data (like turnover rate) and conversations with your employees can tell you where things are going well and where they’re not.
  • Implementation. Invest in the important moments by making changes that benefit your employees and the company as a whole.

Rush Recruiting and HR can help you improve employee experience, streamline onboarding, and reduce employee turnover.

Making sure employees feel happy and valued is the best way to retain the people who are most vital to your business’s success, but you can only focus on so many things at once. Bringing in the right HR professional can help you improve and streamline your HR processes without taking you away from the high-priority tasks that need your attention.

We can help. Call us at (503) 481-1285 to get started.

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HR conversation happening between an employee and manager