In a flat world, which is agile, mobile and more connected than ever, employees realize that their network and ability to learn, unlearn and relearn provide today’s job security and not the employers. This calls for organizations to focus on their employee’s success, and provide them with the right environment, opportunities and level of engagement they require to get the feel that their contributions are recognized. In return, one can expect employees to invest themselves in the company's success.
In the light of these expectations, it's essential to understand the latest HR buzzword: the “Employee Experience.” The said popular trend comes with its own lingo, and this language is best understood by the trendsetters who have the closest association. In this post, we identify and dissect some of the key jargon associated with Employee Experience (EX) and find out what EX is and is not.
#1 - EX is not “Employee Life Cycle” (ELC)
ELC is a great way to visualize the journey of events, activities, and development of an employee or processes in which an employee participates in his or her relationship with an organization. You may call it ‘hire to retire’ (attraction, recruitment, onboarding, development, promotion, retention, and separation) or ‘human capital management’… whatever term you use, it’s primarily the purview of an organization’s HR department. At each stage throughout the Employee Life Cycle, the HR team has its own set of responsibilities, management expectations and challenges to address, but it’s important for HR to continuously improve their process at each stage to better the success of their employees.
You would be missing the key point by thinking that EX = ELC. As you continue reading it will be clear that, that EX is the responsibility of each leader and manager within an organization. It’s about an employee being able to realize and unravel their full potential with the support of the organization.Therefore, ELC is a subset of the EX concept.
#2 - EX is not the “Employee Value Proposition” (EVP)
EVP examines the perception your “brand” has to your potential and current employees when determining whether to join (or stay with) your organization.
A well-formed EVP is what sets your apart from the competition to attract talent whose goals and values are in alignment with your organizational goals and values and aids to engage and retain existing talent. The key is to communicate this value to employees so that they are aware of what's being offered and can appreciate it. Most important is to realize that all of this does not happen overnight. The EVP development and delivery is not just a function of HR, but requires commitment from stakeholders across the business.
While EVP is important, it does not tell the entire EX story. You need to integrate this with the external brand proposition and customer experience.
#3 - EX is not “Voice of Employee” (VoE)
As employees interact day-in-day-out with customers, they are often the best source of information to figure out how to fix a broken customer experience. Quite often their viewpoint is not included in the diagnosis.
The employee feedback can give inputs to relook at
- The context for customer experiences
- Provide understanding of the quality of employee experiences
- Identify policy, process, technology, and talent hurdles that hamper the service experience.
Thus VoE programs can play a significant role - by making it possible to thoroughly collect, manage, and act on feedback from employees on diverse topics. What’s important is to know the behavioral drivers behind employee feedback.
While it’s an essential part of EX, but VoE is just a sub-set. Because only by connecting the EX and CX you can get a complete picture of what is really going on and why. Moreover, without the know-how of this connection, you will not be able to gauge the impact of employee engagement on the bottom line.
#4- Employee Experience is not a Basketful Of Perks To Engage Employees
EX is not fun outings, free snacks, and sodas in the break room or event tickets. While these perquisites are easy to implement and attract prospective employees and make existing employees feel better during the short-term, but these kinds of enticements do very little to motivate and engage employees in the long-run or to solve complex business problems.
Employee engagement does not happen on an impulse. It’s important to learn what drives engagement in your organization and not wait for an exit interview to figure out what did and didn’t work. This requires research and observation, and then judiciously designing a plan and implementing it. To ensure the program effectiveness, it’s an on-going cycle to document, measure and iterates the learning’s so the HR team, business leaders and managers can uncover what every individual employee and their teams really want. It’s vital all along to promote an open and safe two-way communication before, during and after engagement initiatives.
EX understands the fact that every employee wants to be recognized, communicate what’s expected of them and have the ability and skills to deliver on those expectations. An engaged employee is a result when your organization’s leaders and managers empower employees, give timely constructive feedback on their performance, recognize and value their contributions to achieving the organization goals, and keenly seek their ideas and opinions for growth, innovation, and continuous improvement.
#5 - Employee Experience is not Talent Management
As companies realize that people cost are the largest expenses they incur, Talent Management is morphing into something different. It is demanding the human resources function take some time for introspection, and find answers to tough questions like:
- How to measure, assess, and align talent with company strategy?
- How do we help employees understand the value of their contributions and connect to our “why“?
- What do we offer to employees (both prospective and existing) that others do not?
- How to change the paradigm so that when we think about people costs we think about people investment?
- How to go beyond partnering with other departments and become collaborators?
- How to use data to make and drive decisions, and review the decisions we have taken?
- How to redesign the company culture, to be more transparent, and create an environment of change?
While these are important factors to consider when designing the right EX, talent management is a subset of a larger EX landscape.
So, What Is Employee Experience?
So, the definition of the EX is: “The Employee Experience is the sum of the various opinions employees forms based on their interactions with the organization along with their employee journey.”
This experience can be good or bad, positive or negative based on how employees perceive and interpret the organization intent. Its all about how well and consistently are employees concerns are addressed. Moreover, EX can either or transform your company into something great or destroy your organization as success starts and ends with human beings.
Employee Experience Is Designing The Consumerization Of Employment
Technology (email, mobile, apps and messaging platforms) has revolutionized our social lives in the last ten years. And employees expect the same user-friendly experiences and self-service at work, as provided by Facebook or any online shopping site. So the next big challenge for HR and employers is to design a workplace that meets the needs of a digitally empowered employee persona. By using technology and design thinking techniques, HR can make work faster, easier and streamline processes to make employees feel more independent, valued and productive.
How to Establish the Right Employee Experience
Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic had well summarized EX and its importance when he stated:
“So, my philosophy has always been, if you can put staff first, your customer second and shareholders third, effectively, in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better, and yourself are happy.”
Today in the digital era, your management is interested in revenue growth, profitability, innovation and the ability to build long-term relationships with customers. Moreover, this presents a great opportunity and a big challenge and to HR to be the strategic business partner by attracting, developing and retaining the required talent, build the organization culture and to design the end-to-end employee experience for a multi-generation workforce to become a beacon for new talent.
By embracing the fact that today’s employees are connected and mobile, you need to align what your organization can offer, with what they want. Hence, your primary job is to transform HR from a “process developer and maintainer” to “experience architect” by putting the employee experience front of mind.
So the initial charter of EX for human resources team is: to establish the right physical environment so that employees can deliver great results.To achieve this, you need to design, build, and seamlessly integrate the good employee experience with company DNA and increase your chances of long-term business success.
Here is a quick recap of how we are decoding employee experience for your business success:
- EX = design thinking
- EX is not equal to Employee Life Cycle, Employee Value Proposition, Perks, Talent Management or VoE surveys
- EX is not only an HR responsibility; it’s a vital concern of all business leaders
- EX is based on the sum of opinions, both positive and negative, good and bad
- When built properly, the right EX has the power to transform your organization.
There’s no shortage of chatter related to employee experience these days. Hopefully, by decoding employee experience, we have helped you better understand what everyone is talking about.