Employee Journey Maps

One thing I do with people I manage is a yearly journey map. Basically, I sit them down and give them a whiteboard or printed piece of paper with this template:

Template for employee journey

Then I ask them to draw their yearly journey from left to right. The line goes up and down based on their own perceptive of happiness at work. Also, I ask them to annotate the line so it’s clear what things made the line go up and down. This is also an exercise I do when someone quits and I am doing an exit interview.

Here is an example of how it would look filled out.

Filled out journey in an exit interview

This is a simplification. A real journey map would have more detail in it. The reason to do this is to understand how different stimuli will affect how someone’s experience changes. It allows someone to express their feelings in a more coherent way.

An interesting exercise is to map the company effort towards the employee on top of their journey. What did the company do for this person? Include:

  • Raises
  • Promotions
  • Acknowledgements
  • Changed responsibilities
  • Changes in org structure

One thing I find is that there is a weird effect I call the “Last Minute Save”. Companies do not address problems in real-time. They basically wait until the person quits and then offers all sorts of benefits. Its clearly too late at this point. Why didn’t they offer those things earlier.

The blue line represents how much energy the company brings to bear for this same journey. Companies should put in energy sooner.

All together

The main lesson here is to understand the employee journey early and often and then put in the kind of effort you would use if they were about to quit, except do it way before they get to that point.

Do you use any similar technique with the people you manage? Has someone used it with you? What did you think of it?

Whatya think?