I’m betting BIG on the concept of the employee experience which I believe is the next evolution of HR and people related functions inside of our organizations. We are already seeing employee experience related roles and executive titles emerge and the very concept of Human Resources if morphing into something else (a topic for another post). Everything around people analytics, workplace design, compensation, engagement, well-being, etc is all tied to this concept of creating an environment where people actually want to show up, not where they need to show up. To help explain what the employee experience actually is I created the visual below which shows what I like to call The Employee Experience Equation. This is: culture + technology + physical space = employee experience.
I’ve written quite extensively about this in the past. Here are several articles you can take a look at:
Oftentimes when I speak with business leaders they emphasize wanting to focus on one of these areas. For example the conversation might focus around digital transformation, creating a more collaborative workspace, or evolving the corporate culture. All of these things are great, however, what many people fail to realize is that we now live in a world where organizations cannot just focus one of the above environments and expect to achieve any kind of impact. You can’t just have a great corporate culture while ignoring technology and the physical space, you can’t have a great physical environment while ignoring culture and technology, and you can’t have the latest and greatest tools while ignoring culture and the physical environment.
A few years ago a large organization asked me to come visit their corporate headquarters. They were trying to create a more collaborative and communicative environment and had rolled out a series of modern technology platforms. The challenge was that none of the employees were using these technologies despite management’s best efforts. So I showed up to their offices and noticed that everyone was wearing a suit a tie (keep in mind these were non customer facing roles), the floor plan consisted of many hundreds of people sitting in tall walled off cubicles, and it was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Their idea of “casual Friday” was not having to wear a tie and no, I’m not joking. When I asked why things were the way they were the response I received was, “the CEO said it was like this when he got here and it will be like this the day he leaves.”
It was no wonder that employees weren’t using the technologies that the company was deploying. This was a classic example of an organization that was simply focusing on one of the three environments required to create a meaningful employee experience. You can’t focus on digital transformation or collaboration from a purely technology standpoint if the physical space (and culture) doesn’t emulate the behavior you are trying to encourage.
Going forward if organizations want to win the war on talent they are absolutely going to have to focus on the physical environment, the technological environment, and the cultural environment. This is the winning formula for creating and designing employee experiences. This is what will allow organizations to attract and retain top talent in the future of work.