Any leaders who have yet to recognise that employee experience is critical to business success should check out some of the new roles that are appearing in job advertisements. Among them are the following: chief employee experience officer; director of digital workplace; and director of global workplace experience.
Employee experience is increasingly being viewed as the new battleground in the war for talent. Moreover, there is growing acceptance that great employee experience (EX) and great customer experience go hand-in hand. Make certain your employees enjoy their jobs and love coming to work and these positive feelings will translate through to exceptional customer experience and greater profitability.
Market intelligence firm, IDC, predicts that by 2021, at least three-fifths of global 2000 companies will actively monitor and manage employee experience. They will also utilise ‘EX’ as a key differentiator to build and maintain B2B and B2C relationships.
Employers must consider a range of factors to create great employee experiences and building the right culture and sense of community is key. But it must go beyond this and touch every aspect of work across the entire employee lifecycle. This includes attraction, hiring, onboarding and areas such as reward and development.
An emerging trend in HR is the concept of the “workplace as an experience” where what happens in the workplace is re-evaluated and carefully designed, arranged and controlled so that employees feel energised and inspired to perform at their highest level. The end goal is to develop a deep, experiential connection between individuals and their places of work.
Rialto Consultancy reckons that, to achieve this, organisations must view and treat their employees in the same way as their customers. In fairness, this trend began some years ago and was perhaps best demonstrated by the shift in how employee benefits and rewards were marketed to the workforce. HR encouraged managers to communicate and promote the benefits of such offerings.
In a period of low unemployment and high turnover, and where the demarcation between work and home is blurring, organisations must deliver extraordinary employee experience to inspire loyalty and retention
This time round the approach must be far more deep-rooted and personal though and organisations need to apply marketing and sales-oriented strategies to attract and motivate. Data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning must be deployed to discover more about individual preferences and behaviours to create tailored and authentic employee experiences.
Employees also expect to see the same technology in the workplace as used at home and online in their personal lives such as chatbots and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) to help support and augment their tasks and aid productivity.
Expectations have also risen sharply when it comes to the environment in which people work. The Dutch office of professional services firm Deloitte (the ‘Edge’) is widely considered to be one of the smartest buildings in the world. At individual workspace level, employees can personalise the ambient lighting and temperature for their optimum comfort via a smartphone app.
Located in Amsterdam’s business district, the Edge is described as fun and inspirational. It’s no coincidence that would-be employees want to work there with nearly two-thirds of applicants (62 per cent) citing the prospect of being based there as a major incentive for choosing Deloitte.
Meanwhile, Amazon reckons making a direct link to nature will inspire creativity and even improve brain function and has filled its ‘Spheres’ headquarter building in Seattle with 40,000 plants from around the world. For its new ‘biophilic’ design, it has eschewed the traditional approach of enclosed offices with the purpose of creating a unique gathering place where employees collaborate and innovate together.
In a period of low unemployment and high turnover, and where the demarcation between work and home is blurring, organisations must deliver extraordinary employee experience to inspire loyalty and retention. Above all, leaders need to recognise that this is no longer a nice-to-have or even a nice-to-offer but a business imperative.