What is the employee experience and why is it important?
Employee Experience (EX) has emerged as a major trend in HR in recent years. Rather than narrowly focusing on employee engagement and culture, businesses are taking the entire employee experience into account. This brings together all of the practices within an organisation that impact its employees.
The trend represents a shift in thinking so fundamental that leading tech companies such as Airbnb now have departments dedicated to EX instead of HR.
“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create.” – Jacob Morgan
What is employee experience?
As EX is still a new term, it is likely you will get a different definition depending on who you ask.
Staffbase says that “the employee experience is ultimately about people, and while it can be characterized in countless ways, it’s made up of three basic elements.”
These elements are:
– Employees perceptions across time
– Environmental factors (cultural, physical and technological)
– A broadening application of traditional HR functions
Essentially, EX encapsulates everything that people observe and feel during their time as an employee. They claim that by focusing on these elements, businesses can take steps towards creating compelling experiences for their employees. As job roles differ from day-to-day, EX is in constant flux and therefore is in need of constant attention.
Why employee experience is important
Now that we have discussed what is EX is about, let’s explore why it is important.
- A study conducted by Deloitte found that nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent).
Our attitude towards the workplace is changing. As the baby boomer generation was entering the workforce, it wasn’t uncommon for them to expect to spend their whole careers with one organisation. However, with millennials now making up the majority of the workforce, the current average time an employee spends at a business is now less than five years. The trends suggest that this will only continue to shorten.
This suggests that employees are less loyal and more open to switching jobs than they were in the past. This is why EX is important. The end-game of employee experience is to attract the best people and keep them once they’ve joined. Studies have shown that well designed EX leads to greater levels of:
– Brand commitment
Happy employees are 20% more productive and companies with highly engaged workforce earn 147% in earnings per share when compared to their competitors. An engaging and inspiring employee experience is the new baseline expectation for new hires and is essential for minimizing churn.
How to build good EX into your organisation
To truly understand how people feel about their experiences with your organisation, you need feedback. Each step in the employee lifecycle can be an important lever impacting both culture and performance.
A good time to ask people for feedback is when they apply and join your company. This will help build an idea of why people are attracted to your company in the first place and then what motivates them to stay. On the other, when an employee voluntarily leaves you can use this opportunity to gain some valuable feedback on why your EX may not be optimal. Useful questions moving forward:
- Why do people decide to join your company?
- What motivates them to stay?
- What makes them leave?
Airbnb claims that they are improving their EX by “building a healthy and satisfying food programme, providing our employees with the latest technology, recruiting the best and the brightest to work for us, ensuring that our buildings are spaces for an optimal work environment.”
Here are some quick wins that you can takeaway from this article and begin to implement in your own organisation. These quick wins are adapted from this case study on Airbnb.
Providing employees with more ownership of aspects of their work life has been shown to improve EX and performance.
Have an authentic and holistic purpose
Having an overarching purpose or mission helps drive decisions and leads people in the right decisions.
Having a purpose-driven employee experience doesn’t mean that each initiative will automatically be successful. Having a great employee experience is also about evolving and adjusting to meet the needs of employees as situations change.
These quick wins will help improve your company culture, but a long-term strategy is also needed. If you are looking to create a purpose-driven organisation, get in touch with Flock today.
We help businesses increase performance by building engaged cultures. Find out more here, or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org