For HR leaders looking to improve their organization’s employee experience, the first step is to attempt to see the world through the eyes of their employees in order to gain a better understanding of their priorities and needs.
The next step is to start placing your employees at the center of your organization. What’s the easiest way to start adopting this style of thinking? Simple, try thinking of your employees as consumers rather than workers.
By putting the same level of effort into your employee experience as you do your consumer experience, your organization can vastly improve the satisfaction levels of your most important resource – your people.
“The last best experience that we have as consumers becomes our new minimum expectation for our experiences in every aspect of our lives,” says Jeanne Meister.
Meister, a bestselling author and founding partner of Future Workplace, was the keynote speaker when League recently hosted an exclusive event in Chicago. The event was also a forum for forward-thinking leaders from some of the world’s most successful companies to come together to share their thoughts on how to build a best-in-class employee experience.
Ms. Meister shared the key HR trends being modelled by future-focused organizations. The specific pillars she cited were:
The emotional experience
Employees are searching for both flexibility and purpose in their work. According to Meister, 50 percent of employees are hungry for more purpose in the workplace, so it’s critical that employers be in tune with what is most important to their workforce.
An example provided by Meister was that SunTrust Bank employees who completed the company’s “Financial Fitness” program were 15 percent more engaged than those who did not. Research by KPMG also indicates that having a “purpose-driven” role is second only to pay in terms of how employees value jobs.
The intellectual experience
This pillar applies to the support employees receive for both learning and career development. In fact, 40 percent of employees said that part of their decision to move to a new company was influenced by learning and development opportunities.
Many employees and employers are also taking advantage of intellectual “on-demand” learning programs to upgrade their skills – including MOOCs (massive open online courses).
The physical experience
This pillar refers to both the physical space and the workplace community that employees experience. According to Meister, 88 percent of employees feel more engaged when they are able to choose a physical space to work based on the specific task they are performing.
Many companies are now choosing to have their workplaces WELL certified, which measures and monitor the performance of the building features that impact the health and wellbeing of employees – such as water, nourishment, light, fitness, and comfort.
The technological experience
Not all technology is created equal and employees are very aware of the differences. In fact, 57 percent of employees consider an employer’s level of technology to be a factor in choosing a job.
Meister also notes that intelligent technologies can positively impact all stages of the employee lifecycle. A few examples include; predictive recruiting, automated onboarding, mobile coaching, and digital recognition programs.
The cultural experience
Last but definitely not least, the cultural experience pillar refers to employee wellbeing and business benefits. This area is becoming so important that 78 percent of employers are now shifting focus from general employee wellness to a holistic view of “employee wellbeing”, opting for digital end-to-end solutions that benefit employees when they get sick, and also help to prevent them from getting sick in the first place.
So where to start?
When it comes to implementing changes to address these pillars, Meister is quick to remind HR leaders that our expectations as employees are being shaped by excellent, personalized consumer experiences. So it’s no surprise that HR leaders are now applying these principles to create meaningful experiences for their employees.
Meister suggests starting by defining the main challenges you want to address and then creating personas to represent the different demographics of your employee base – just to help you stay focused.
Then jump right into the “test and learn” phase by introducing some prototype programs to address your goals – so that you can collect feedback from a select group of employees. After completing that process a few times, you should be ready recommend some key initiatives to your executive team.
For more in-depth strategies to improve your organization’s employee experience read our Guide to Building a Best-in-Class Employee Experience and subscribe to our blog.