Employee experience (or, “EX”) includes several contributing factors. According to the widely-accepted model attributable to Jacob Morgan, the three primary factors are: the physical, the cultural and the technological. The biggest impact that can be made today—especially from the perspective of HR services—is to focus on the technological, or digital, factors.
In the past few years, EX has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s not something new. Just by virtue of the fact that there is a company, there are employees, and there is naturally some degree of exchange between them—the experience exists. Moreover, if an HR team, or an organization as a whole, is not focused on designing for the EX, the experience that exists today is probably not as positive and impactful an experience as it could be.
What is employee experience (EX), exactly? According to Bersin, it’s “the sum total of all the touchpoints an employee has with his or her employer, from the time of being a candidate (active or passive) to becoming an alumnus or alumna.” Another widely accepted definition is by Jacob Morgan, who describes EX as the combination of the cultural environment, the physical environment and the technological environment of the workplace. While these definitions adequately describe what EX is, in practice, EX means something a little different at each organization. That’s why we asked HR practitioners, from small and large companies alike, to give their personal definition of employee experience. Here is what they had to say:
If you’ve been following this series, you might be surprised by the fact that I haven’t talked much about technology before now. That is not an accident.
One of the most common mistakes I see HR teams make is treating technology like a silver bullet solution to their problems. Before they even fully understand the issue they are trying to address, they are off shopping for a software solution. Technology is a tool, not a solution. And like any powerful tool, its impact is dependent on skillful application to the problem or need.
Once you’ve done the hard work of clearly defining and documenting the type of employee experience you are committed to creating at your organization, the next step is to make it happen. Start with an honest assessment of the current employee experience compared to your aspirations. A review of your employee survey data, conversations with employees, or small focus groups can all provide great insight. The goal is to determine where you are currently succeeding at creating a great experience (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”) and where you need to do some work.
One of the most important steps in the employee experience design process is to clearly define what you hope to create. It’s nearly impossible to design successful solutions without a full understanding of the problem and the desired outcome. Part 3 of this series outlined how to gain a deeper understanding of your employees and their experience at work. Your research findings should serve as the foundation as you leverage this insight to define the employee experience you are committed to creating.
In part 2 of this series, I shared the four steps of the design process that can be applied to the employee experience: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. In this post, we’ll start at the beginning with Discovery.
In the first post of this series, we highlighted that engagement is the product of an employee’s day-to-day workplace experience. This means that efforts to sustainably improve employee engagement must focus on creating work experiences that consistently meet or exceed employee expectations. In other words, we must intentionally design the employee experience to feel engaging to employees.
If you’ve spent most of your career in management or human resources, you probably don’t think of yourself as a designer. Design is something that artists, architects, and advertisers do, right? Not quite.