Journey Mapping and Personas

Journey Mapping and Personas

The COVID-19 pandemic has come about at the opportune moment for organisations to recognise the fact that they need an engaged and committed workforce to realise their vision.


The global business landscape is going through a rapid change.  An increasing number of organisations are now adopting customer-centric business strategies to provide end customers with utmost satisfaction and ensure long-term brand loyalty. However, companies often tend to overlook the fact that their employees are their most significant assets and one of the most critical stakeholders through whom they need to ensure the successful implementation of their customerfocused initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has therefore come about at the opportune moment for organisations to recognise the fact that they need an engaged and committed workforce to realise their vision.


Can the principles of ensuring customer satisfaction by studying the customer experience journeys be applied to employees as well; to motivate them, boost their morale, and inspire them to commit fully to the cause of achieving business excellence? Enter employee journey mapping.


Employee journey mapping


The journey of an employee entails end-to-end experiences acquired by him/her during the entire duration of the time spent in a job - from applying for it until leaving the organisation. Employee journey mapping refers to the practice of visually representing the entirety of an employee’s journey.



An employee journey map demonstrates an employee’s experience in a visually diagrammatical way at the organisation across different stages of the employee life cycle.



It comprises of memorable experiences such as the first day of work, first performance review, certain professional milestones and so on.


Like customer journey mapping, employee journey mapping is the process of understanding an employee’s journey, expectations, and experiences from the company. It helps employers to understand the workforce’s responses and emotional reactions at different moments in their professional journey. Such an understanding enables them to maximise experiences that elicited a positive response from the employees and improve employee engagement. Most importantly, it also helps them in assessing situations that have led to possible discomfort, stress, or anxiety to an employee and provides an opportunity to alleviate it and work towards minimising recurrences. Employee journey mapping is primarily a business process that helps companies to assess the impact of moments that mattered to an employee and enhance employee satisfaction.


Measuring employee experience


This is particularly helpful in those industries that struggle with a high attrition rate. Measuring employee experience with the aid of a visual map is a win-win for employers and employees as employers can improve employee retention strategies and reduce attrition. Even if an employee decides to quit the company, the information gathered from the exit interview can help employers identify the point at which the said employee decided to move on from her current organisation, and thereafter, examine the reasons that motivated her to do so.


Incidentally, noteworthy moments may not always imply significant events or milestones or the outcome of critical initiatives. It can also indicate small yet meaningful moments such as interpersonal interactions among employees that have had a profound impact on them. By studying them, employers can introduce initiatives that promote better employee collaborations.


Employee journey mapping generally begins by segmenting employees and creating employee personas. Journey mapping entails collecting and analysing information about their experiences at different stages of interaction with the organisation. Journey maps are best created for specific employee personas. Employee personas are fictional characters designed to help organisations and talent management teams understand the likes & dislikes, the challenges, thoughts, motivations, behaviours, goals, and aspirations of employees. (Source – Gartner)


Every business has a unique environment - socially as well as psychologically. Organisational culture encompasses the values and behaviours that constitute such an environment. The concept of organisational culture was first introduced by Dr Elliott Jaques in his book The Changing Culture of a Factory in 1951. The idea that organisations not only have very differing cultures, but also unique subcultures was further proposed by Schein (1992), Deal and Kennedy (2000), and Kotter (1992).


According to Flamholtz and Randle (2011), organisation culture can be viewed as a ‘corporate personality’ consisting of values, beliefs, and norms. These values hold the power to influence the behaviour of employees.


If you are looking to identify the current state of organisational culture and create a roadmap for the future state of culture, it is recommended that employee journey mapping and employee personas be put to use. This should be followed by putting together a framework to define the ‘why, who, when, what and how’ of the desired work culture/future mapping. Besides providing clarity, it will also simplify the complexities of breaking down work culture under the lens of personas.


3 steps to employee journey maps


There are three steps to create Employee Journey Maps –


→ Identify

→ Map the Journey

→ Create an action plan


Be mindful of the pitfalls such as mapping only to what directly connects with HR activities or processes. Another mistake to avoid is not having an accompanying narrative. One should look more broadly and not just at HR or other select functions. It is imperative to share a compelling story and visual with the audience that highlights the recommended next steps.


Also, let us take the scenario of a fresher in a company, and how personas can be utilised to cognise and map their journey in the format of experience. If the plan is to improve their experience on their first day at work, we must identify what matters to them on their first day, their expectations, their job roles and responsibilities, the people they are interacting with, and what this employee is thinking and feeling. We need to clarify the employee pain points as well as the potential improvement opportunities. Thereafter, we need to estimate strategies for reducing pain points and focus on streamlining integration. Similarly, this could be used across various employee life cycles, which leads to overall culture building in an organisation.


Lastly, we must continue to refresh personas on a regular basis to focus on behaviour, emotion, and pattern, validate it and test with employees from time to time. We also need to update the employee personas based on changing business and People Strategy needs.


Businesses that tap into the potential of employee journey mapping can build powerful employee engagement strategies that can help them feel valued at an organisation. This will not only lead to increased efficiency and productivity, but also an increased rate of retention of the best talents by creating an ecosystem that prioritises positive employee experiences. Great customer experience begins internally, with satisfied employees.


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Amol Gupta is Chief Human Resources Officer, India & Philippines, FIS. With an overall experience of 23 years in Human Resource Management he has held different positions at Barclays Technology Center India, SunGard, Infosys BPO, Lupin Ltd. and a few others. Amol, an alumnus of UC Berkeley Extension, SIMS, Symbiosis Law College and Delhi University and has additional certifications like SPHR, HRMP and SHRM – SCP.


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