Employee Journey Planner – How To Make Your Employee’s Life Easier

Updated: May 9, 2024 | Published Jan 10, 2024

An employee journey planner is an important tool that every business needs. This guide will show you how to create one for yourself.

A good employee journey planner should help you manage your employees at different stages of their careers. You need to make sure that you give them the right training and support when they start out so that they can reach their full potential.

What is Employee Journey Planning?

For HR leaders and team managers, understanding how each individual employee fits into an organization is crucial when building a successful team. Individual goals, different personalities and skills, and diverse ambitions all contribute to an employee’s career path.

Both the organization and the employee have goals and benchmarks. Your organization has to be aware of each employee’s path and find out how business goals align with staff ambitions. It’s a two-way conversation between management and staff at every level. 

Understanding an employee’s goals and motivations, and how they align with business objectives, is fundamental for employee journey planning.

The Employee Journey

Simply put, the employee journey is the period of time an employee is at their organization. Right from their initial application to their exit interview, everything that happens is on the employee journey.

Employee journeys are unique for every member of staff within an organization. No two individuals are alike, even if they are working in a role with the same title. Because each employee has their own goals, motivations, and expectations, each employee journey has a unique path and timeline.

Does the idea of an employee journey seem a bit abstract and complex? A journey is a hypothetical story. One that’s written together with the employee and management. But visualizing the journey – and how each individual’s journeys correlate – can be difficult. 

To help rationalize the concept of employee journey, we can harness a tool called Employee Journey Mapping to visualize each employee’s path.

Employee Journey Mapping

An employee journey map is a visual representation of the employee journey. Maps can be as simple as a timeline on a spreadsheet or as complex as a dynamic graphic. 

The main goal of the employee journey mapping process is to represent each employee’s journey with timelines, milestones, goals, and other relevant information regarding an individual’s career path within an organization.

A strategic map helps employees feel engaged because it provides a long-term, transparent outlook on their career and skills development.

Hire to Retire Process Map

The full employee journey considers an individual’s entire time at an organization, also known as the Employee Lifecycle:

The employee’s journey starts with their first interaction with employer branding during the application process. This covers the pre-hiring stage, up until they apply for the role. Employer branding is what will attract potential new hires to your organization and contribute to their first impressions throughout the acquisition stage.

Meanwhile, the individual also starts the onboarding part of the journey and their first day at work. For the new employee, this is the beginning of the true connection within the organization, where they get to know the role and the teams.

Onboarding ends when the employee feels comfortable and productive in their new role. From there, growth (both independent and as part of a team) occurs throughout their career path within the organization. 

The end of the employee lifecycle is the alumni stage, where the employee and organization split ways. 

Project Based and Phased Employee Maps

An employee journey map does not necessarily need to span from onboarding to retirement – it can focus on a particular campaign or phase of the lifecycle. 

Mapping out the entire journey is an exercise that makes for a better employee experience, but focusing on specifics can also be useful for certain types of organizations or unique projects.

Maps Performance Review

Employee journey maps make a great benchmarking tool during performance reviews. For every review period – whether that’s quarterly or yearly, for example – an employee’s actual journey can be compared to their journey map.

Performance reviews can be stressful for both the employee and their managers. Having an employee map clearly defined and outlined makes the review process logical and pragmatic. It makes it easy to compare goals with actual achievements. It can also point to areas where the employee may have strayed from the journey, and help to understand how to get back on track. 

Employee Experience Mapping 

The employee experience (EX) is the sum of all interactions a person has as a result of their job. EX is similar to the concept of customer experience, but instead of external customers, we need to consider an organization’s staff on the individual level. So, along one’s employee journey, several factors will contribute directly to their experience.

There are three main EX factors:

  • Human: all interactions with peers, leaders, and customers.
  • Technological: all interactions with tech, digital tools, equipment, and more.
  • Physical: All interactions with the job’s physical environment, including the location, the commute, air quality, or home office set-up, for example            

As you can see, the employee experience is a complex web of inputs and outputs that affect each and every employee. The employee journey needs to consider EX, as well as how each individual’s EX and employee journey correlate.

Understanding how to measure the way each factor contributes to an employee’s life at work is called employee experience mapping. Along with each stage of one’s employee journey, their employee experience can also be mapped. 

As the journey progresses, how does the experience change? For instance, how does a promotion or a new role affect the employee experience? Employee journey and employee experience go hand-in-hand, and must be considered as part of the employee journey plan.

Staff Mapping

When it comes to organizational planning, staff mapping refers to the practice of mapping each individual staff member’s employee journey and comparing how each of those journey’s connect. As every individual has their own set of moments that matter during their career, having a clear picture of the entire organizational chart can help align objectives, goals, and milestones as a group.

How to Create an Employee Journey Plan

The employee journey covers an individual’s entire career within an organization. Even before the start of official employment (during the pre-boarding and first stages of onboarding) are important steps of the journey.

Developing an employee journey planner, employee journey map, and employee experience map should be a transparent and collaborative process. Both the employee and organization (and relevant teams) should have inputs, suggestions, and open dialogue.

Stages of The Employee Journey

Every organization will have a different standpoint on how they see their employee journey in their company. In general, the following stages and critical moments will apply to nearly any position in any type of organization:

Stage 1: Employee Pre-Boarding

Once the candidate has accepted the offer, and a start date has been finalized, the pre-boarding process can begin.

Getting new hires up to speed quickly is important to ensure they feel part of the team as soon as they log-in or show up to work for the first time.

Stage 2: Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is the stage where the new hire is trained and prepared to excel in their position.

When onboarding, useful training materials may include preparatory activities to test their skill sets and knowledge base, as well as material outlining organizational best practices. This type of aptitude and skill testing can be used to have an overview of where they might develop within the organization.

Stage 3: Career Development

Throughout an employee’s time at an organization, skilling, reskilling, and upskilling should always be part of their development plan. A comprehensive learning management system (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform makes continuous learning easy and provides a very flexible solution to manage both training and workload.

Stage 4: Employee Offboarding

The final stage of an employee journey is when the time comes to move along, and the organization and employee split ways. This can be due to a number of reasons and employers should try to maximize the positives in a potentially difficult situation.

The organization should work with the employee to develop checklists with what needs to be finished for final handovers. They can also use any remaining time to fine-tune tutorials to best prepare the new hires.

For the exit interview process, along with an in-person chat or video call, it’s useful for the employee to complete a digital survey. This way, their feedback and experiences will be recorded and can be used by HR teams in the future to help optimize other employee journeys.

Employee Persona Mapping

Your organization has specific roles and necessary skill-sets. In order to understand the employee journey of new and existing staff, it’s important to try to have a holistic view of their life at work.

Using persona mapping is an excellent way for managers and human resources professionals to put themselves in the shoes of their employees. To really see their day-to-day, and understand their challenges, pain points, motivations, and important moments. 

For each role within your organization, consider the employee experience. What are their key moments that matter throughout their employee lifecycle? What motivates them? And how can the organization provide them the tools necessary to make their days at work the best possible?

Drafting the Employee Journey Map 

You now have a complete view on the stages of the employee journey. Equipped with the hypothetical persona maps, you can work with individual employees to develop their personalized employee journey map.

From the organization perspective, it’s a great idea to have a first draft of an employee journey map before discussing it with the employee. This map could be generated based on the defined personas. Not all employees have seen an employee journey map. To help them understand and contribute to the development of their plan, having a rough guideline will go a long way.

Collaborating to Design the Employee Journey Map

Working with the employee, you can now cover each stage of their employee journey and fine-tune their specific employee journey map.

Discuss and list out employee motivation and their main goals to truly understand their perceived path. It’s also imperative to indicate the expectations and goals from the business side. From there, work through the employee journey, starting by mapping out goals for major milestones – say 1, 2, and 5 years – and important events within the employee experience.

Be as specific or as broad as needed. Every organization and role will have different metrics, goals, and levels of detail. The most important aspect is to create a clear map with goals and timelines that is understood and agreed upon by all parties.

Reviewing and Redrawing the Employee Map

Every employee’s journey is surely to have alterations, deviations, and 180s! That is all part of the employee journey. That said, if an employee changes paths from what was defined on their employee journey map, the map needs to be adjusted.

Major changes to an employee journey – like different departments – may need a completely new map. Other smaller deviations-  like taking on an unexpected new responsibility – may require only a small edit.

A crucially important thing is to always review the employee journey map on a periodic basis. These review sessions can be combined with employee performance reviews, or they can be a separate series or meetings. Keeping the detailed employee journey map up to date is a critical piece of successful employee journey planning.

Digitizing the Employee Journey

Over the course of the employee journey, digital tools can help both the organization and the employee optimize their experience. 

From the hiring process, through onboarding, training, and finally to the end of the employee cycle, the use of a digital platform will drive employee engagement and contribute to a positive employee experience. 

For HR teams, potential employees can start contributing to their employee journey right from the first job interview. Intuitive employee experience software can store and rank specific skills and traits, and highlight avenues for growth potential. As the onboarding stage progresses, digital forms, checklists, and training material can record progress and flag any areas that might need help.

With comprehensive digital tools and a full range of qualitative and quantitative data at your fingertips, you’ll have a strong foundation for developing an employee journey planner. The right digital platform can be a starting point to help HR professionals and management give their employees the best possible outcome at every stage of their journey.

Teri Maltais
Teri Maltais

Specializing in digital marketing programs for industrial and commercial technology solutions.

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