The Future of Work Is the Employee Experience
Date Published: Aug 31, 2022
Since 2020, any previous assumptions about the nature of work have been called into question. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated existing trends in automation, artificial intelligence and remote work, causing a ripple effect throughout the economy. No organization has been unaffected by this reordering of the workplace.
Employees have felt this disruption. Research shows that even workers who felt supported by their employer have struggled. So how do business leaders manage both the workplace changes and workers’ adaptation to them?
Like many challenges, this is a unique opportunity for a business leader to reformulate their organizational mission by incorporating new technologies, business models, and most importantly, listening to employees. What will separate the wheat from the chaff in the business world is leaders who understand this: the future of work is the employee experience.
What Is the Employee Experience?
Employee experience is a worker's perceptions about their journey during the entire lifecycle of their employment, from job candidacy through leaving an organization. Sometimes abbreviated as EX, employment experience is inclusive of all employment touchpoints, such as company culture, policies, technology, interactions with others, the physical space, and compensation.
Why the Employee Experience Is More Important Now Than Ever
Companies are hitting major hurdles in attracting and maintaining staff due to a large contingent of the workforce questioning what work means and reconsidering their employment options. The Great Resignation in the wake of the pandemic saw an exodus of employees who were overwhelmed, exhausted and feeling underappreciated.
As the workforce continues to reevaluate the meaning of work, now is the time for organizations to enact policies that create an employee experience that is attractive to prospective and in-house talent. There is a laundry list of items that be filed under “the future of work is the employee experience,” including but not limited to:
● Keeping a distributed workforce productive and content
● Reconsidering collaboration and what work should be performed in-person or remote
● Rethinking compensation regardless of where or when employees work
● Building office spaces for solo tasks and collaborative projects
● Redirecting costs towards employee wellness programs
● Investing in skilling up your workforce and technological advancements
All of this can be distilled down to a single critical idea: creating a good employee experience means taking employee needs and feelings seriously.
How to Create an Outstanding Employee Experience
Providing an outstanding employee experience requires a flattening of company culture. The traditional top-down model of employee hierarchy is instead reoriented towards placing workers first. This business model is built on deeper personnel connections and is more responsive to employee concerns and preferences. Organizations collaborate with their employees to develop customized, authentic, and motivating experiences that strengthen individual and organizational performance. If the future of work is the employee experience, then the way to get there is with an employee-focused methodology of data-gathering, analysis and implementation.
At its most basic elements, creating an outstanding employee experience first requires an investigation and analysis of employee feelings about their employment. Interventions should then be developed on a company, team and individual level that focus on facets of employment that matter to employees at moments that make the greatest impact to employees. Lastly, the team implements the interventions themselves.
Let’s take a closer look at what each step means:
Step 1: Honest Analysis and Goal Orientation
The first step in realizing is by gathering information about employee needs. This should be an honest analysis using assessments, data and other tools. The key to creating a successful employee experience goes beyond lip service or checking off boxes. During this first step is when leaders and managers lay the groundwork for an earnest remodeling of the organization.
At this time, leadership needs to define EX goals, its scope and values, and focus this towards company performance ambitions. For example, a company that wants to be a top place to work for its technologies can orient their EX goals towards digital competencies, technology training, as well as upskilling and reskilling of current staff. In other words, the organization should be very clear about the theme of the EX revamp, rather than a vague notion of how it will improve employee attitudes and performance.
Step 2: Map and Augment the Employee Journey
Developing a successful EX model means utilizing two design concepts: personas and moments that matter.
A persona is an archetype of different personnel within an organization. By harnessing the data gathered in step one, personas can be created to map out employee journeys and augment areas that employees find lacking.
For example, a company with an open floor plan may have data that shows programmers regularly book meeting rooms to perform work or to eat lunch. This can be a sign that introverted employees need space to recharge after being in close proximity to other people for lengths of time. Using this insight, a company could alter aspects of their office’s physical design, such as creating more private areas or improving the break room.
The moments that matter are inflection points in an employee lifecycle. When identified and catered to, these moments can be extremely uplifting, rather than pain points that lower employee morale.
Employees in the healthcare or service sector, for example, may be burned out performing their job that interfaces in person with a scared and sick public during a pandemic. Such employees can benefit from working flex schedules or taking leave during critical moments - or moments that matter - to recharge and reconnect with their work and colleagues.
On the other hand, the pandemic has ended traditional in-person work for many employees. Data may show a pattern of when at-home workers begin to feel disengaged from work and co-workers. Organizations can be proactive and get a head of this problem by having in-person meetings or functions at intervals that matter most to employees.
Step 3: Hand Over the Tools for the Company to Transform Itself
The last step is implementing the program. Since this is an employee-empowered methodology, the workers and their supervisors should be the ones transforming their own experience. Human resources personnel can give them the road map and tools to the teams. Leadership should show their support throughout the process. The implementation can be tracked in a number of ways, including employee assessments, operational performance reviews, and time and financial analysis.
Make It Reality: The Future of Work Is the Employee Experience
A successful EX model lets employees define and realize their own journey at work that is in keeping with organizational goals. The future of work is the employee experience and it is now. Stay ahead of trends in the workforce that put your company on its heels. Attract and hang onto the most competent and talented employees. An employee experience strategy gives you the power to do this, while transforming your workforce into one that is more collaborative, inspired, and high performing.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
Click Here to learn more about how Priority can help you and your team WorkSm@rt, develop essential management skills and the competencies to....make life and work better and happier!