For a long time organizations around the world have been investing in employee engagement. Today this has become the equivalent of short term perks like free food and working from home on Friday’s, basically a Band-Aid solution that manipulates employees into temporary happiness. Unfortunately, this yields little impact for the organizations and has minimal impact on the employees. This is why investment in employee engagement programs is at an all time high why the scores are at an all-time low.
In a recent webinar with WebEx, The Experiential Organization, I talked about trends behind employee experience and how leading organizations are creating new business value by engaging their workforce. If you missed it, watch the replay here to learn what it means for your business.
Today we are seeing the rise of employee experience which is the redesign of an organization that puts its people at the center. It’s certainly not a new concept but it’s one that organizations are finally being forced to consider and implement if they wish to survive in this new world we are living in. A designed employee experience is the intersection of the employee’s needs, wants, and expectations with the organization’s ability to design for those needs, wants, and expectations. The good news is that every single employee experience at every company around the world relies on just three environments: technology, physical space, and culture.
The technological environment of the organization refers to the tools employees use to get their jobs done. This includes everything from the internal social network your company might use to the mobile devices that are approved to the laptops, desktops, and video conferencing solutions that employees have access to. This also includes any apps, software, e-learning tools, and user experience and design elements that impact how employees use these various tools. Technology is the central nervous system of the organization and most concepts and themes related to the future of work are not possible without technology. When the technological environment breaks down, so do the human relationships around it.
The physical workspace is the one we can see, touch, and taste, and smell. It’s the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor plan, the demographics of the people we work with, and any physical perks we might get such as catered meals in a beautiful cafeteria, an on-site gym, or a lounge area that employees can use to unwind a bit. The physical space acts as the symbol of your organization which helps employees feel a sense of belonging and identity.
We have all heard of corporate culture and the many ways to describe it. Some say “it’s what happens when the manager leaves the room,” others say culture stems from the values, attitudes, practices, and the mission of the organization, and some say culture is controlled by the CEO and the executives. Regardless of what you believe culture is or where it comes from, the one thing that is common is that culture is about how you feel working for the organization. It’s essentially the “vibe” you get when you walk in the door. It’s the leadership style, the sense of purpose your employees feel, the organizational structure, and the people that make up your organization. It’s not written and it’s not stated yet it is one of the most important elements of creating and designing the employee experience. Typically corporate culture is what energizes us or drains us, it motivates us or discourages us, it empowers us or it suffocates us.
Organizations around the world that are looking to attract and retain top talent, unlock human potential, and drive innovation are going to have to focus on employee experience. I believe this is the next business battleground.
Jacob Morgan is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, futurist, and co-founder of The Future of Work Community. His latest book, The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate” (Wiley, March 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to determine how to create an organization where people genuinely want, not need to show up to work. Jacob’s work has endorsed by business leaders including the CEO’s of: Nestle, Best Buy, T-Mobile, Whirlpool, Schneider Electric, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and dozens of others. You can connect with Jacob at TheFutureOrganization.com