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The Employee Experience

16th February 2017

 
Designing a compelling customer experience is what all organisations have – for many years – been focussed on achieving, driven by digitisation and the subsequent vast array of touch-points through which customers can interact with a brand.
 
Now though, the experience that people have been receiving in their private lives is what they want and expect to get when at work. And this has given rise to the emergence of the ‘Employee Experience’.
 
Organisations realise that in today’s world, they need to be employee-centric rather than organisation centric. A requirement, largely driven by five key trends identified by IBM Institute for Business Value in their report: Designing employee experience – How a unifying approach can enhance engagement and productivity.
 
 
 
 

Employee Experience Trends

 
 

1. Ongoing war for talent

The war for talent is intensifying. There are shortages of in-demand skills across a number of industries – particularly in emerging disciplines.
 
 
 

2. Millennial mind-set

Millennials are taking over the workforce and now making their presence felt. They want a more mobile, flexible workplace, and one that recognises their needs for development and progression.
 
 
 

3. Employees want a ‘consumer-like’ experience at work.

Employees want to have the same experience at work that they have as a consumer. This involves simple intuitive technology, the ability to easily find information and locate the right people effortlessly. Ultimately, to feel more empowered with a clear sense of purpose.
 
 
 

4. Relationship between customer experience and employee experience.

It should be obvious, but for employees to provide an excellent customer experience, they themselves must be exposed to an internal environment of excellence too. Companies must take an inside-out approach. As the desired customer experience cannot be faked, it must be believable. If the employee experience does not match the perceived customer one, cracks will soon start to appear in the façade.
 
 
 

5. Employee Engagement linked to productivity

It’s now accepted that employees who are engaged at work are more productive. Plentiful studies have revealed that organisations with high levels of employee engagement also experience high levels of success – there is a clear link to the bottom line.
 
 
 
 
 

How can organisations design the employee experience?

 
There are a number of recommended approaches for doing so. Essentially, and perhaps somewhat obviously, is the need to apply the same principles of customer experience to the workplace.
 
Focussing on employee drivers and desires can largely do this. To achieve this, organisations therefore have to do more than simply giving attention to groups of employees based on their role, rank, and department. Instead, organisations need to segment employees based on their wants and needs. Yes, they’ll be more work in identifying these – advancements in analytics will help – but organisations must provide different experiences to different employee groups.
 
 

Personalisation is vitally important when designing the employee experience.

 
 
Furthermore, there are three areas that organisations should focus on:
 
 
 

Key components of the Employee Experience

 
 

1. Physical environment

The layout of the office, furniture, and equipment all need to be designed in a way that reflects the needs of employees. For example there should be spaces that encourage collaboration, yet also spaces for quiet individual working.
 
Research and understanding on employee behaviour continues to reveal how an employee’s environment affects their brain and behaviour, and therefore their performance at work.
 
Neuroscience is something that will continue to rise in importance for employee engagement.
 
 
 

2. Tools and technologies

These need to be tools that are simple and intuitive. Tools that empower employees to accomplish all of their tasks – either directly or by improving the flow of information, or connectivity, within the organisation.
 
Employees need to be spending their time achieving their goals, not wasting time figuring out how to use certain digital tools.
 
A user experience focus must be taken with digital tools at work. Again much like what is taken with digital tools in the consumer world.
 
 
 

3.Connections and relationships

Interactions and collaboration with others at work is vital for almost every employee. The relationships we form not only affect our ability to effectively carry out the role we are in, but they also shape the overall perception we have of work.
 
The physical workspace and tools and technologies are key ingredients needed for when connecting with others and building relationships.
 
Internal Communications should be looking for ways to continually build and cultivate employee relationships across teams, functions and silos within an organisation. Building a strong work community is a key element of the employee experience.
 
 

A good way of approaching the three key components above is to map the employee journey.

 
 
From recruitment and onboarding, to ongoing engagement and communication, to retirement, resignation or termination. Organisations should understand all the steps an employee goes through on their journey.
 
This will help to not only identify the areas that need to be addressed, but also the touch-points through which organisations should ensure the companies brand values and attributes are being experienced and brought to life.
 
 
 
 

Conclusion

 
To us, a focus on Employee Experience is a bit of a no-brainer. Customers will ultimately receive a better service, and organisations will reap the rewards from having engaged employees – higher levels of productivity, retention and eventually profit.
 
The good thing is that organisations aren’t really starting cold. Essentially, they need to follow the same principles they have in place for their customer experience. And to do so with the same level of intensity, focus and purpose.
 
It’s time to start finding the employee pain points, and designing solutions around them. After all, if your employees don’t like their experience with your brand, how can you expect them to make customers love it?
 
Expect to see ‘Employee Experience Officers’, and other similar titles cropping up and becoming important positions, across all workplaces.
 
 
Until next time…
 
Rima.
 
 
 

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