Why the Fu­ture of Work is all about Em­ployee Ex­pe­ri­ence

Enterprise - - Contents -

We have all heard of the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence which is de­fined as the re­sult­ing prod­uct when a cus­tomer in­ter­acts with your brand. We’re all fa­mil­iar with both good and bad cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences and we go through one or the other on a near daily ba­sis. A rude flight at­ten­dant, a printer that jams, in­ter­net that goes down, and a pack­age that gets de­liv­ered dam­aged, all shape our ex­pe­ri­ences with the re­spec­tive com­pa­nies we in­ter­act with. Of course no com­pany is per­fect which is why what an or­ga­ni­za­tion does dur­ing both good and bad ex­pe­ri­ences makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

How­ever over the past few years we have started to see the emer­gence of the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence which is now some­thing that many HR lead­ers and ex­ec­u­tives around the world are fo­cus­ing on. Sim­i­lar to the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence is what hap­pens when an em­ployee in­ter­acts with your or­ga­ni­za­tion. It starts with how they first find and ap­ply for a job at your com­pany and ends with how they leave and in­cludes ev­ery­thing in be­tween. For ex­am­ple at T-Mo­bile they have started to pro­vide in­sight into the jobs that

peo­ple are ap­ply­ing for in­clud­ing how long they have been avail­able for and how many ap­pli­cants they have re­ceived. They also re-wrote many of their job de­scrip­tions in plain English in­stead of the legalese and mar­ket­ing speak we are all so used to. Why did they do this? To im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence of po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees be­fore they even get in the door.

Decades ago no­body cared about the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause all of the power was in the hands of em­ploy­ers. They sim­ply needed to list a job and give peo­ple a place to do that job, noth­ing else re­ally mat­tered. There was no fo­cus on en­gage­ment, in­spi­ra­tion, em­pow­er­ment, de­sign­ing beau­ti­ful work­places, us­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, or the like. All of these things have just re­cently be­come main­stream top­ics of dis­cus­sion. In fact the So­ci­ety for Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment found that the top pri­or­ity for those in HR is tal­ent man­age­ment. Why? Be­cause the power has now shifted into the hands of em­ploy­ees. Or­ga­ni­za­tions have al­ways as­sumed that they can cre­ate a place where they as­sumed peo­ple NEEDED to work there and are now re­al­iz­ing that they must cre­ate a place where peo­ple WANT to work there. The war for tal­ent has never been more fierce. Peo­ple are turn­ing to non-tra­di­tional ways of earn­ing a liv­ing such as cre­at­ing prod­ucts on Etsy, rent­ing out their homes on Airbnb, driv­ing for Uber or Lyft, be­come free­lancers on sites like Up­work (for­merly Elance-Odesk), and the like. Tech­nol­ogy plat­forms such as Linkedin have also made it in­cred­i­bly easy for head hun­ters to steal tal­ent from their com­peti­tors. So in this type of a world what can or­ga­ni­za­tions do to help make sure that em­ploy­ees want to show up? You guessed it, fo­cus on the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence.

Catered meals, on­site dry clean­ing, beau­ti­ful of­fice spa­ces, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, and flex­i­ble work pro­grams may all seem like fancy perks but all of the com­pa­nies I have been speak­ing with lever­age these things as strate­gic busi­ness ini­tia­tives. They of­fer these things be­cause em­ploy­ees ac­tu­ally ask for them. Em­ploy­ees at dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies value and care about dif­fer­ent things. This is why or­ga­ni­za­tions such as F5 Net­works which sees em­ploy­ees work­ing 9-5 in cu­bi­cles (yet is ranked as one of the best places to work in Amer­ica) is so dif­fer­ent than an or­ga­ni­za­tion like Google which of­fers pretty much any­thing you can want and think of.

Ev­ery­thing from the food em­ploy­ees eat to the tech­nolo­gies they use to get their jobs done to the of­fice spa­ces they work in are all a part of the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence. Ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion I speak to thinks about the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence a bit dif­fer­ently. In other words, there is no cookie cut­ter ap­proach that ev­ery com­pany can take and ap­ply. Not ev­ery­thing that Google does will work for your com­pany and not ev­ery­thing you are do­ing at your com­pany will work at Google, nor should it!

In a world where money is no longer the pri­mary mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for em­ploy­ees, fo­cus­ing on the em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence is the most promis­ing com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage that or­ga­ni­za­tions can cre­ate. So the ques­tion is, what is your or­ga­ni­za­tion do­ing to im­prove the em­ployee ex.

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