Employee experience is a top priority for the HR function, particularly as employees are looking for more than just a job. Like customers, they want to have a great experience from start to finish. Studies have found that enhancing the employee experience will be a top priority for firms in the next few years, given the impact that this can have on attracting and retaining top talent. In line with our live, in-person Employee Experience event, this issue will look at how employers are striving to carve out and maintain a top employee experience – from the support and development opportunities on offer to staff and the ways that companies create a good overall experience for colleagues.
As we kick off 2023 and continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, its important to take a pause and reflect on the current state of play. As much as we don’t always want to be looking in the rear view mirror, charting a course and having clear reference points are crucial. What is also crucial is appreciating what continues to change and evolve. The importance of the employee experience has grown and grown in the last few years and rightly so. It has become a strategic priority for most organisations.
The term “employee experience” has become extremely common, but is it perhaps guilty of becoming a buzz word or a catch all that doesn’t have enough clarity or meaning. When we look in the rear view mirror, the pandemic played a significant role in shining a huge light on what is changing in the world of work from an employee perspective. It was a real line in the sand moment that we will never cross back over again perhaps.
Lets pose a question – how are we defining employee experience today? I think we all agree that it is super important, but are we taking the time in our organisations today to define what it really means.
I believe an experience is “emotive” and often “subjective” and is now a mixture of things I would like and things that I need. Over the last 10 years as the age of consumerisation has exploded – we have become digital natives – the fabric of our lives changing as rapid advancements in technology enable us to do things very differently – leveraging technology we have become curators and designers of many of our experiences outside of the work place – how we connect, collaborate, socialise, transact has all changed as a result of technology – we have been spoilt!
I believe our expectations when it comes to the role of technology has heightened beyond belief – it has become a hygiene factor. We expect it to work when we need it and how we want to use it. For some the technological aspect is the bedrock of the employee experience today and is an extremely valid point – without the requisite technology/capability to execute tasks/processes/collaboration the foundation of the experience is broken – but its more than that.
Going back to the point of it being “emotive” – the overarching experience of an employee today is multifaceted. Without a doubt, the onus on leaders to be as “people centric” as possible should not be underestimated. As much as employees are craving “autonomy” to drive their experience day to day – they are looking for a progressive culture with a growth mindset built in. A culture that enables them to feel psychological safe, surrounded by peers and colleagues who embrace diversity and inclusivity and appreciate the value of giving and receiving feedback. At the end of a day – does a person leave work thinking “I had a really good day, felt involved, valued and engaged” or do they feel the reverse and I believe that is the measure of the employee experience today – the emotional connection to the place we work, the purpose behind the organisation, the meaning in my work, the relationships and connections with peers and colleagues, the ability to grow and develop and all of that is achieved in a frictionless fashion – it is an amalgamation of the parts underpinned and enabled by world class technology and amazing leadership.
As we move forward into 2023 one thing is for sure – the world of work will continue to change. Organisations will need to have their “fingers on the pulse” to understand the sentiment of their employees to ensure the design of the “employee experience” for their organisation is fit for purpose. An experience is “emotive” and multi-faceted and that is the challenges that we all collectively face in an era where the development and retention of talent is a strategic priority.
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