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How to design an employee journey map (with template)

This handy guide shows you how to build your own employee journey map, which is more important than ever as the coronavirus disrupts workforces across the globe.

As organizations compete for customers' dollars, focusing on the employee experience is critical -- especially during times of crisis or in a downturn. Creating an employee journey map is one way to uncover problem areas and solutions.

What is an employee journey?

An employee journey is the path a candidate takes from the time of applying to an organization through to the exit from that organization. Employee experience is the feeling about everything that constitutes that path or specific feelings about specific touchpoints. The touchpoints that have the most impact on that experience are described as moments that matter, and these are the most important things to include in an employee journey map.

What is an employee journey map?

At its simplest, an employee journey map is a graphical image that represents the organizational path, or moments that matter, for a particular type of employee. For example, the same map may not be suitable for a salesperson and a software engineer. An employee journey map can also include the candidate journey through the recruiting and hiring process.

As an HR leader, you will likely build a team of department leaders and other stakeholders to create an employee journey map.

steps to an employee journey map

An employee journey map can be a high-level comprehensive overview of the employee experience, from recruitment to training to final offboarding, as in the employee journey map template below. It can also depict a particular part of the journey, such as pain points of the journey, or stages that cause problems. Employee journey maps are also likely to include specific information about the touchpoints you're focusing on, ratings of a particular interaction and next steps.

Why are employee journey maps important?

An employee journey map is an important tool to understand the employee experience. Working with other stakeholders, your HR team can use the map to identify main areas for improvement and then create new strategies, based on data from an employee feedback mechanism or other source. When done correctly, employee journey maps can uncover areas that need improvement.

Employee journey map template

No two roles are alike, so every employee journey map will be slightly different. However, this template can help you get started creating your own map. It uses the employee lifecycle as the basis for a map's structure. The template below offers some objectives for major touchpoints of the employee journey, as well as some strategies and methods to follow. The employee experience can then be rated using the feelings key. The notes section enables your team to evaluate what went wrong or right and identify next steps.

employee journey map template

5 steps to create your own employee journey map

1. Understand your 'why'

As an HR leader, you serve a crucial role in advocating for the employee experience and driving the mapping process. But, as with any map, you need to know where you want to go before you understand the kind of map you need.

Work with a team that includes leaders from other departments to decide what you hope to accomplish with the mapping process.

Initially, you can start by outlining the map by hand to easily make adjustments, and then build it out from there. While some organizations may want a complex map that covers all touchpoints, pain points and potential strategies, others may want a simple, straightforward map that identifies the most important touchpoints of an employee's journey from beginning to end (as with the template). You can adjust the template based on these requirements.

2. Decide on personas to map

Once you have identified goals, use the employee journey map template to identify the employee personas or segments whose journeys you want to map, since each experience will be unique.

Creating an employee journey map is not a one-and-done process, since change is the rule, not the exception.

For example, IT teams will have a different journey than the sales teams. And an entry-level employee's touchpoints and pain points will be different than a C-level employee's.

While you don't need to create a different employee journey map for every single worker, segmenting employees and then building personas are critical to understanding employee pain points and potential improvement strategies.

3. Identify touchpoints

An important step in creating an employee journey map is to plot the most important touchpoints for each persona or segment you're mapping or to focus on specific issues. These moments that matter include critical junctures in the employee journey, from the first moment of contact as a candidate to the offboarding experience. Important touchpoints also include onboarding, employee performance reviews and training. More specific ones could be mapping how the organization handles life events, such as a new baby, or problem areas, such as a lack of raises or processes for dealing with difficult employees or managers.

4. Gather feedback

Reach out to employees to identify which touchpoints matter most and to get a fuller understanding of each one. For example, you'll want to identify what the employee wants to accomplish at each touchpoint and what are the pain points.

To gather feedback, you can interview managers and employees in person or send out a short poll. You may want to gather employee feedback from specific types of workers -- such as high performers or those who quit soon after onboarding -- to uncover critical issues and put them in your map.

5. Keep the map up to date

Creating an employee journey map is not a one-and-done process, since change is the rule, not the exception. For example, few would have foreseen that communicating about the coronavirus would become critical to employee experience. And, for many companies, recent events have disrupted touchpoints, such as the hiring and onboarding experience.

Conduct an employee engagement survey periodically to gather feedback on the employee experience and enable important events to trigger new discussions. For example, hold exit interviews to gather feedback on an employee's experience at the company, including what pain points were most responsible for the decision to leave.

Creating an employee journey map is not an end unto itself, so it's important to understand how to use a journey map to boost employee experience.

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