Every touchpoint, every process, every learning opportunity builds employee experience. It is not just a choreographed engagement program to spike bonding and engagement. It is a holistic experience.
The war on talent is over and the talent has won. Today’s talent is more savvy than a customer. They are not just looking to be part of a large company, but they would like to be part of an enterprise which offers an employee experience, they aspire for. Starting with the hiring experience to onboarding, understanding expectations, performance, career discussions, learning opportunities and leadership connect, the workstation, food at the cafeteria, and even the commute to the workplace are part of the employee experience.
While every company strives to enhance and enrich the employee experience, but few can claim to have arrived. There are many themes which impact “employee experience” but there are a few becoming more relevant in the current times.
Employee experience requires focusing on the unique needs of employees as against a standard approach
First connection matters
I joined Diageo three months ago after spending 18 years with one organization. It was a big move in my life and career, providing me an opportunity to look at employee experience with a fresher’s eyes. These three months have been challenging as I am trying to assimilate into a new organization and a new industry. Each touchpoint, some well thought-out and some spontaneous, have created a lasting impression about the organization.
My journey started with a structured induction program and engagement with the peer groups and my team members. They patiently answered my routine, mundane questions.
A month into the journey, our global HR leader visited India to ensure my assimilation is on track. Recently, I joined our global HR leadership meeting. The team made sure that I felt welcome. Till date, no one from my team hesitates in giving me the context when speaking about a task. Besides my manager, my peers have been proactively reaching out to see how I am doing and offering their help to fast-track my assimilation.
Technology enhances employee experience
Technology is transforming the workplace. As automation, robotics and artificial intelligence enter the workplace, we have a great opportunity to create an empowering experience for the employee. The following are some examples:
- A chatbot available to answer questions about the organization can create and engaging experience for candidates while considering employment opportunities.
- The skills relevant today may not be relevant in the future. Technology can help employees learn, evolve and stay competitive, deepening their connect with the organization and triggering discretionary effort
- Leveraging technology to create vibrant communication platforms to publicize inspiring stories goes a long way in motivating employees.
Experts predict that by 2020 Gen Y – the millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) will make up 35 percent of the global workforce, while Gen Z (born after 1996) will make up 24 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, people are living longer and can no longer afford to retire at 60 or 65.
This will impact how we engage with employees – from how we attract and retain people to how we develop individuals and keep them in meaningful careers. It is clear that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. Employee experience requires focusing on the unique needs of employees as against a standard approach.
Expectations around work-life balance also change as demographics of workforce changes. Experts predict an expansion of corporate wellness initiative.
Gen Y wants their companies to be social enterprises
Millennials, who are emerging as the largest group in the workforce, are keen to work for organizations that look beyond profit and care for the people and the planet. They are worried about the increasing polarization in politics, the future of the planet and the future of today’s children. Employees, customers and other stakeholders are increasingly looking at businesses to fill a widening leadership vacuum. They want businesses to become social enterprises. Organizations can become role models by shouldering the responsibility to be good citizens, thereby generating a sense of belonging and pride among employees.
Connecting employees to a larger purpose and tapping their time and talent for social causes can enrich their work experience, boosting their productivity, commitment and loyalty.