What are you doing to create an awesome employee experience?

What is a company without its people?

If you’re part of a great company, look around – you’re probably surrounded by great people. The two go hand in hand like fish and chips, summer and BBQs, or holidays and over-indulgence (can you tell what I was doing over Christmas?).

But if people are so important, why aren’t we doing more as leaders to create an environment where employees actually want to show up for work? A place that makes people proud to tell their friends where they work; a place where they even want to show their friends around and tell them about the organisation?

In other words, why aren’t we doing everything we can to create an awesome employee experience?

What is employee experience (EX)?

Most businesses are so focused on customer experience, or CX, that they forget about something equally (if not more) important – employee experience.

Employee experience, or EX, is about far more than engagement – it’s basically everything that an employee experiences throughout their time with the organisation (and even prior to working with them). It’s the first contact they have with you as they look at potentially joining the fray right through to the last interaction they have after they’ve moved on.

It drives how they feel about your organisation, how they talk about your organisation, and how effectively they work for your organisation. It’s important – and it’s impacting the bottom line of every organisation in the world.

Employee experience and the bottom line

It can be easy to dismiss employee experience as ‘touchy feely’ or ‘fluffy’ stuff. But the simple fact of the matter is that organisations which have nailed employee experience have also seen a pretty staggering effect on their bottom line.

In fact, organisations with a truly engaged workforce:

When you’ve got those kind of results coming through, it seems like a no brainer to focus on and improve your employee experience.

What makes up the employee experience?

I stumbled upon a book about six months ago called The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan. Within mere pages, I was immediately thinking, “Wow, this guy gets it!” Jacob, like me, is firmly in the camp of believing that the best organisations have a clear purpose – and every employee understands how they serve that purpose. I felt a strong connection too, between what I was reading and my belief that technology plays a key role in crafting an awesome employee experience.

Let’s be clear though – although I run a technology company, we’re not just talking about technology here. According to Jacob Morgan, the three key pillars of employee experience are:

  1. Culture
  2. The physical workplace
  3. Technology

So how can you design an employee experience that improves your bottom line and keeps your people connected? Let’s take a look at each pillar:

Culture

We’re not the experts when it comes to culture, but here’s a secret I’ve learnt along the way: culture isn’t about work perks, high pay, or cool products. It’s about something more important – how your organisation feels. It’s that vibe someone gets when they walk into your office, or the way they feel when they interact with someone from the team.

Unfortunately, culture can be pretty hard to manage or mould – unless you take a deliberate approach. I like these tips from Jacob Morgan for how to build a culture that drives great employee experience.

  • Define your culture so you know what it looks like in the real world;
  • Ask your employees what they value and care about;
  • Balance your business priorities and productivity with creating great employee experiences.

We’d add that culture can be facilitated, improved, and nurtured using some clever technology too – but more on that later.

The physical workplace

So if culture is the airy-fairy, ‘feeling’ environment that drives employee experience, how does the physical workplace play into it?

Research has shown that there’s a pretty big link between the physical workplace and how employees feel about the organisation they work for. According to one review of numerous studies, “A conducive and properly designed, user-friendly physical workplace environment is central to employee engagement and consequently organizational success.”

We know that it’s vital that we provide physical workplaces that energise and inspire, that make people feel more creative and more connected to the organisation. We also know that doing so can give employees a better sense of wellbeing and therefore make them perform better.

Jacob Morgan’s tips for creating a great physical workspace that drives a strong employee experience?

  • Keep in mind four key areas: focus, collaborate, learn and socialise
  • Make the space reflect the culture
  • Look at how employees work
  • Treat physical spaces like software – test and iterate!

The thing that we get really excited about though, is that a workplace no longer has to mean a traditional, physical office. Your employees could work from a cosy café, their home office designed just for them, or from hot desks in a shared office space.

Technology

For most of us, technology is what we use day-to-day to get our jobs done. Whether communication, collaboration, or critical business processes, technology is embedded into our daily lives and into our organisations. And in today’s world, with constant, rapid digital transformation taking place, our reliance on – and the importance of ­– technology just keeps growing.

But implementing, managing, and maintaining the right technology can be challenging for IT leaders, whether dealing with numerous legacy systems or keeping up with ever-changing technology.

So how can businesses utilise ever-changing technology to build a more modern, consumer-like employee experience? Our top tips for improving your employee experience utilising technology include:

  • Put people at the centre of your technology choices
  • Don’t go for a one size fits all approach – look at what different roles within your organisation need
  • Ensure your chosen systems are secure and can be serviced from anywhere
  • Give your IT team the support and education they need to keep your tech running smoothly and your employees happy

With Millenials and Gen Zers quickly becoming the majority of our workforce, we need to think about the future of our workspaces and how they contribute to employee experience. Business technology solutions must be intuitive, take a lead from consumer products, meet the needs of employees, be reliable, and have outstanding performance. No-one wants to engage with a slow, admin-heavy, unreliable tool that doesn’t help them do their jobs better!

We know from our own experience that giving people the freedom to work from anywhere, giving them their choice of devices, and using modern systems helps us attract and retain the best staff out there. If you want to do the same and create an epic employee experience, grab a copy of our free ebook: Your Digital Workspace: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Digital Experiences Your Employees Will Love.

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Auckland
We also have a virtual office in Wellington.

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Birkenhead, Auckland 0746