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A framework for getting started with employee experience design
Jolene Nicotina

By: Jolene Nicotina on December 19th, 2019

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A framework for getting started with employee experience design

Employee Experience

Est. Read Time: 5 min.

Improving your organization’s employee experience (EX) holds a lot of promise. It’s been shown that a thoughtfully designed EX can result in higher engagement scores, lead to happier customers, and even give your organization’s bottom line a boost. But there has to be a drawback, right? If so many overarching business goals can be traced back to EX, why isn’t every company boasting success?

 

The tricky thing about EX is that there are no hard and fast rules for what works and no one-size-fits-all formula. Each organization will have to put in the work to define and design what EX means to them, especially if they want to have a leg up on the competition for talent.

 

If that sounds daunting, it can help to start with an employee experience framework. This 5-step framework by Jason Lauritsen, employee engagement consultant and author, provides a process for tackling all that goes into designing unique workplace experiences.

 

A framework for employee experience design

 

Step 1: Understand the impact of experience

For any EX initiative to succeed, everyone involved must be well-versed in what EX means (and what it doesn’t), what it can achieve, and why it matters. One of the more confusing aspects about employee experience is its relationship to employee engagement. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re vastly different.

 

Engagement is how connected an employee feels to your organization, emotionally and mentally. Employee experience is what leads an employee to feel engaged—or not. According to Jason, “We design and create experience. We simply measure engagement. Employee engagement practices tend to be reactive, while employee experience is proactive.”

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 1: The Impact of Experience

 

Step 2: Discover what truly matters to your employees

By intentionally shaping employee experiences, you’re essentially designing them, which means the same design thinking process that works for creating products or mobile apps also applies to EX design. Once you’re clear on the kind of experience you want to create, consider the UK Design Council’s Four Ds: discover, define, develop, and deliver.

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 2: Applying the Design Process

 

The first part—discover—requires gathering information on what your employees want, need, and expect of work. “To design a great employee experience, you must start by getting to know more about the people who will live it each day,” says Jason. This step can involve leadership surveys, employee surveys, employee focus groups, or a review of current policies and processes.

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 3: Getting Started with Discovery

 

Step 3: Define your ideal employee experience

The most important part of this framework is where you clearly define the employee experience you hope to create, one that will empower employees with what they need to perform their best. But don’t expect to do all this work on your own. Build a cross-functional task force to process the information gathered in step 2 and narrow it down to a few key elements—then get feedback from the employees themselves. “If they don’t understand or embrace your plan, it’s better to know that now than after you’ve started rolling out solutions built on something they don’t like,” says Jason.

 

Once you finalize your work, get it ready to share company-wide. Hubspot and The Motley Fool have great examples.

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 4: Define Your Ideal Employee Experience

 

Step 4: Develop and deliver a great employee experience

This is the part where all your hard work comes to life. Start by assessing your current employee experience compared to what you want it to be and focus on the biggest opportunities to close the gap. Consider a variety of solutions to develop by looking to what your peers have done (hint: google “best practices” and “case studies”) as well as crowd-sourcing ideas from your employees.

 

button to access free digital employee experience course

 

Once you’ve settled on a solution to move forward with, you’re ready for testing. “Just as you would if you were designing a new product to send to market, it’s now time to do some testing to validate that you’ve found a solution that will have the desired result,” says Jason. In his article, he suggests starting with a pilot program and making adjustments based on the initial feedback before delivering the experience to everyone.

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 5: Delivering a Great Employee Experience

 

Step 5: Incorporate the right technology

It’s no mistake that technology is last on the list. That’s because it’s so important to plan first and then find your tools. In his article, Jason says, “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’re off shopping for a software solution.”

 

Once you’re clear on the kind of employee experience you want to create, it makes it easier to choose the right technology based on what you need it to do. Some goals you may have for your employee experience technology include:

 

Enable: These tools make your ideal employee experience possible; they facilitate what needs to happen. For example, laptops and web conferencing software make it possible for people to work remotely.

 

Liberate: This category of technology makes things simpler and easier to accomplish. An example would be a self-serve knowledge base that lets employees easily find answers to HR-related questions whenever they need, and from wherever they're located.

 

Evaluate: The tools in this bucket help you collect and evaluate feedback so that you can ensure the experience you deliver to employees is one that’s working. 

 

Read the full article: How to Design the Employee Experience Part 6: Using Technology to Enhance the Employee Experience

 

A framework, not a set of rules

The important thing to remember is that this is a framework used to guide the exploration and design of your employees' experience. There are no rules and no one software platform that will make it all fall into place. That can be both liberating and frightening—not to mention a lot of work. But, according to Jason, “If you care about creating an experience of work that is great both for employees and performance, it will be worth it.”

 

Get even more information on employee experience design in our limited edition holiday resource, The 6 Things on Every HR Leader's Wish List. Grab it today, it won't be around for long!

access free digital employee experience online course
access free digital employee experience online course

About Jolene Nicotina

Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.