The emergence of new roles such as Chief Employee Experience Officer and Director of Digital Workplace is the clearest indication yet to C-level leaders that a distinctive and noteworthy Employee Experience is a critical factor of business success.
According to Forrester Research’s 2019 predictions, Employee Experience is set to take centre stage this year, fuelled by low unemployment and high quit rates. There is also a single compelling reason why leaders must up their game in this respect: Employee Experience is intrinsically linked to Customer Experience.
The obituary for the psychological contract that once existed between employers and employees was written long ago and the concept of a ‘job for life’ is probably gone forever. Yet while such topics have been the subject of discussion for some time, the intervening years have failed to define a new kind of contract between the leaders and the employee that takes into account seismic changes that have impacted organisations.
Workforces are more remote, disparate, mobile, and in some cases far more contingent. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing what we do and how we do it and the incoming generations’ expectations of going to work are hugely different.
While employers can no longer rely on seeing employees every day, they must find ways of ensuring their people are highly engaged, motivated, fulfilled, and happy so that they perform to their best ability, are prepared to go the extra mile, and will deliver exceptional Customer Experience.
Hence one of the latest trends in HR is the concept of the “workplace as an experience”, where every aspect of work is carefully designed, arranged, and controlled to energise and inspire employees. The aim is to create a deep, experiential connection between individuals and their workplace that begins with onboarding strategies and continues throughout their employment lifecycle with the organisation – for the benefit of all stakeholders and especially customers.
To achieve this, organisations need to look at their people through the same lens as they do their customers and apply marketing and sales-oriented strategies to improve attraction, motivation, and retention. They must make greater use of data analytics, AI and machine learning, and techniques like gamification to learn more about their preferences and behaviours to create differentiated and high performing Employee Experiences.
Employees expect to use the same mobile and smart technologies in the workplace as they do in their personal lives and AI in the form of chatbots and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are already being used to help remove distractions and to aid and augment employees’ tasks and productivity.
Employees also have high expectations of the environment in which they work and organisations are enlisting workplace design companies to come up with innovative spaces to simplify work and improve productivity. The Dutch office of professional services firm Deloitte is widely considered to be one of the smartest buildings in the world and allows employees to personalise the lighting and temperature at their individual workspaces using a smartphone app.
The Edge building, based in Amsterdam’s business district, is described as inspirational and fun. It’s no coincidence then that it has become an asset in terms of recruitment. Three fifths of candidates (62 percent) specifically state in their applications that one of the reasons they want to work for Deloitte is the possibility of being posted to The Edge.
It is evident that the Employee Experience is becoming more central to organisational success. If organisations are to attract, retain, and engage the talent needed in 2019 and the years ahead, C-level leaders must develop a new mindset and prioritise a new approach and type of contract and relationship with employees – one where the Employee Experience is viewed holistically and makes an emotional connection to improve engagement and alignment to the organisational purpose – thus improving innovation and the Customer Experience along with other key business metrics.
Article author Richard Chiumento is a judge at the upcoming UK Employee Experience Awards in London. Click here to find out more.