The Next Frontier: New ideas and tools to design the employee experience

employee experience

What most do realize is that bureaucracy, driven by a twelve-year economic growth cycle, is part of the problem. There are too many meetings, programs, strategies, and tools. We need to simplify, clarify, and rationalize all factors involved, writes Josh Bersin.

Almost every HR department is focused on the employee experience these days. LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends research cites experience design as one of the fastest growing areas in HR, with 2.4 times more job titles related to “employee experience” than existed five years ago.

Employees are now in charge and they are your customers. You work for them; they don’t work for you.

Employee experiences are complex. Experiences encompass the physical work environment, the pay and rewards system, a company’s management and leadership, and of course, the job, opportunities to grow, and culture. So, when companies jump into this area, those involved often begin by scratching their heads and wondering just where to start and stop an experience initiative.

What I’ve found works best is to focus. Look at the variety of survey and exit data on hand and find the areas with the most pain. It may be related to new hires and difficulty in onboarding; it may be senior salespeople who feel their pay has fallen behind, or it may be simply a lack of clarity around roles and a need to an improved approach to job design.

What most do realize is that bureaucracy, driven by a twelve-year economic growth cycle, is part of the problem. There are too many meetings, programs, strategies, and tools. We need to simplify, clarify, and rationalize all the factors involved.

To address the huge interest in employee experience, a new wave of HR tech tools has emerged. Vendors ranging from ServiceNow to Qualtrics to Medallia, as well as Workday, SuccessFactors, and LinkedIn, have all started to jump into this space. In fact, almost every tool for employee feedback, wellbeing, recognition, and rewards now feels like an EX tool, making it harder than ever to make sense the available options.

  • Think about the employee experience problem as one of diagnostics (listening), action planning (focus), design (solving), and instrumentation (monitoring).  In other words, you really must:
  • Listen to determine what the actual problems are (surveys and feedback data),
  • Develop action plans to give managers specific guidance on what to do (action plans and dashboards), Design new experiences (redesign how work gets done, often without changing back-end systems),
  • Continually monitor results.

Employee experiences are complex. Experiences encompass the physical work environment, the pay and rewards system, a company’s management and leadership, and of course, the job, opportunities to grow, and culture.

Just as your marketing department is always looking at customer experience, market perception, and customer satisfaction with your product – you need to take the same customer first view in HR.  Employees are now in charge and they are your customers. You work for them; they don’t work for you.

The new world of EX is here to stay – let’s learn to focus well and we can really make work better.

Five tips for designing an improved employee experience

  1. Use feedback and surveys to listen and understand where employee experience, turnover, and other employee-related issues are problematic.
  2. Develop action plans that go directly to line leaders so they can resolve problems locally.
  3. Co-design new solutions with your business counterparts and build them in an iterative and agile way.
  4. Monitor how the EX changes over time, so you can see what works and what doesn’t; be ready to revise.
  5. Remember that you work for your employees and not the other way around.

Image source: Depositphotos