While 2020 will certainly be remembered as the year of the Corona, in the management world it will also be remembered for the peak interest in the employee experience. Employee experience (EX) is a hot topic, but ask any manager to clearly define it, or worse, to explain how to strategically implement it across the entire organization, you’ll find that people have trouble articulating it in a consistent way.
Why is this?
The employee experience as a concept is very fuzzy because it refers to what employees think or feel about a dizzying array of organizational aspects during their everyday work lives. Does it include how employees feel about their physical workspaces? Yes. Social relationships with colleagues and managers? Yes. Comp and ben packages? Yes. EX even includes the dreadful morning commute – research shows that the worse the commute, the less engaged and productive people are at their jobs, and more likely to leave their company for a shorter trip to work.
With so many individual preferences and such a broad and complicated scope, how do you manage or control EX across the organization? The bad news for organizational leadership is that you can’t – because employee experience strategy is actually not about regulating every single aspect of your employees’ daily thoughts, feelings, reactions or behaviors. It is also not about chasing the elusive “employee happiness” or providing a workplace filled with ping-pong tables and other perks.
A good EX strategy is based on an organization-wide understanding of what different groups of employees need in order to perform best in their jobs, derived through a continuous process of listening and incorporating employees’ perspectives and solutions into the design of organizational processes that impact them. In our work, we have identified 4 parts to a successful EX strategy plan and execution. Depending on the maturity level of an organization, you may jump in at different points – or as we’ll highlight in more detail in the upcoming issue of HR World 3 – implement EX projects of different sizes.