With the current pandemic that we are all experiencing it’s never been more important for organizations around the world to focus on employee experience. This was LinkedIn’s top talent trend for 2020 and that was BEFORE the pandemic even started. How you treat your employees during difficult times matters much more than how you treat your employees when things are going great.
I define employee experience as creating an organization where employees WANT, not NEED to show up to work, by focusing on three environments which are culture, technology, and physical space. This shift from need to want, is something that organizations are struggling with.
Together these three things make up what I call, The Employee Experience Equation which you can see below.
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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. I like to think of culture as the side effects of working for your organizations. Just like taking a prescription drug can have side effects such as weight gain, nausea, skin discoloration, or bleeding from the eyes; working for your organization can have the exact same side effects! But in your organization these side effects can also be positive with things like growth and development or purpose and meaning. Culture is about the feeling that employees get working for you as a leader and for your organization, it’s the “vibe” you get when you walk in the door and it’s the mood and the tone that the workplace sets. 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. We all experience the corporate culture of our organizations every single day, whether it be positive or negative. Culture is 40% of the overall employee experience.
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, 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.
It’s not hard to see why technology is such a big part of the employee experience. If you show up to work and are forced to use technologies that were considered “cool” in the 90s then clearly you’re going to be a bit frustrated with getting your job done. Using outdated and poorly designed technologies will: make it harder for your to communicate and collaborate with employees, drastically increase the amount of time it takes you to get your job done, and create an environment that sees you being frustrated, angry, and unproductive instead of being engaged, happy, and productive. Technology is 30% of the overall employee experience.
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 (old, young, diversity, etc), 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. Before reading on think for a minute about your physical workspace and how it makes you feel. Does your space drain you or energize you?
Over the years we have seen a big debate between open and closed spaces but both of these miss the point. It’s not about one floor plan or the other it’s about creating multiple floor plans so that can employees can pick in environment based on the work they are doing. Physical space is 30% of the overall experience.
The future of work is all about the employee experience and this is something that organizations around the world are realizing and investing in but there’s a long way to go. Less than 10% of organizations are doing an amazing job of investing in these three environments. Most are either focusing on one of the three or at best two out of the three but that’s not good enough. What kind of an experience are you creating for your employees and how are you doing it?
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