Nearly 80% of executives in Deloitte’s annual global survey of HR and business leaders rated employee experience as very important (42%) or important (38%). Yet, despite their best intentions, only 22% reported that their organizations were excellent at establishing a differentiated employee experience.

With a myriad of factors changing the face of the workplace—the impact of technology, the influence of the growing Millennial cohort, the shift towards a team-based structure, and the dispersion of employees across the globe—building a positive employee experience is a challenge for many organizations.

Changes to how we work

According to Deloitte’s survey about the future of the workplace, how we work is becoming “more networked, more devolved, more mobile, more team-based, more project-based, more collaborative, more real-time, and more fluid.” The challenge is to not lose sight of the employee experience as the workplace structure and processes shift and evolve. Just as the customer experience is fundamental to generating brand loyalty and driving revenue, the employee experience is critical to employee retention, engagement, and wellbeing—and ultimately the bottom line.

What exactly is the employee experience?

Employee engagement consulting firm DecisionWise defines the employee experience as the “sum of perceptions employees have about their interactions within the organization they work.” In other words, it’s really the foundation and the core of a thriving company. The employee experience is a holistic concept, reaching well beyond compensation, team-building retreats, or Pizza Fridays. In order to create an environment where people actually want to come to work, companies must put employees at the heart of their organizational design, redesigning their workplace practices and processes to fit with the values and expectations of their people.1

In a 2016 article in Forbes, Jacob Morgan suggests that the employee experience is comprised of three distinct aspects of an organization: culture, technological environment, and physical environment.

Historically, as organizations attempt to define and nurture a positive employee experience, they have focused primarily on culture—considering elements like leadership style, organizational structure, employer ‘brand’, compensation, and benefits.2

Designing the workplace environments

With the digitization of business across all industries, the technological environment of the workplace is also a vital component of the employee experience. Millennials, in particular, expect access to modern mobile devices, software, and digital tools that optimize their work experience and enable them to be as productive and connected as possible.3

Similarly, the physical environment—which encompasses everything including office furniture, the espresso machine in the breakroom, the art on the walls, and whether the office design is cubicle-dense or open-concept—influences the employee experience.4

The goal is to design an environment—culturally, technologically, and physically—that supports an employee’s physical, mental, emotional, and financial wellbeing.

In The Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan found that organizations that scored the highest in culture, technology, and physical environment had four times higher average profits, two times higher average revenues, and 40% lower turnover. Plus, their stock prices outperformed the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

It’s a tall order, but one that needs to be fully embraced if companies are going to realize their vision and continue to grow.

The key to building a positive employee experience

Focusing on what employees value and what matters most to them—whether that’s meaningful work, learning and development opportunities, a flexible work environment, or another value that drives their fulfillment—is the key to building a positive employee experience. Developing a holistic strategy that nurtures the employee experience throughout the entire employee journey, across all processes, and across all employee touchpoints, is pivotal to business success.

What is your organization doing to promote a positive employee experience?

Get more insight into how HR professionals are redesigning the employee experience to support the changing needs of their people in our latest ebook: The Future of People Management in the Digital Age, Part 2.

1, 4. https://shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0317/pages/3-things-to-know-about-employee-experience-.aspx
2. https://forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2016/04/22/what-is-employee-experience/#7e615b887386
3. https://forbes.com/sites/causeintegration/2017/05/04/employee-engagement-vs-employee-experience/#58903e357883

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