Defining your employee experience (part 1)

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Define your employee experience

Following my former posts on employee experience and how big it is, it’s time to wonder how to implement it and make it work. I’ll basically break it down into three elementary steps :

1°) Make sense of it.

2°) Make it workable.

3°) Develop it.

Making sense of Employee Experience

That’s not the easiest part and most businesses overlook it. Since they decided to buy the idea why would it matter ? The real point is to develop it into something concrete !

I agree but to some extent only. Making sense of employee experience is not for the project leaders only, it’s a message that will help to engage and onboard those who’ll work on it and those who’ll experience the result.

Saying that any big initiative should start by shaping an ambition is nothing new but in this particular case the job is worth being done. Unlike the traditional approach to employer branding :

  • it’s not only about claiming values but stated how they’re enforced.
  • it’s not only about the employer and the employee but the employee and the client, the employee and his job, his mission. The promise made to the employee must be consistent with the one made to the customer…if not one or the two of them will soon be unhappy and disengaged.
  • it’s about people’s sustainable success, engagement and development over time.

Of course, it will be framed differently depending on your company’s culture, history and even industry, it may also embed your values but il will be mainly about :

  • employee success and efficiency
  • employee development
  • customer satisfaction through the employee

The final ambition may not be that different from the original employer brand message (depending on how mature the company is on employer branding) but will be more actionable, business and people centric. As a matter of fact the goal is not (only) to make people join, it’s also to set a course to drive the internal change that will transform the way people operate and the way the organization supports people.

It’s not about the message, it’s about how things are getting done and the worklife experience.

Make the Employee Experience Workable

Ok. Now that you know what your ambition is, you’re ready to tackle every touchpoint (or rather the most important ones) to deploy your employee experience so employees will be more efficient and engaged, customers more satisfied and the brand more appealing for both employees and customers.

Not so fast. You will have various goals, end up with an impressive list of touchpoints and knowing where to start and what to do will be a nightmare.

So, before you deal with the touchpoints, you must make your ambition workable. So what is needed at this stage is a set of principle to apply at every touchpoint, something that will guide your actions and make your employee experience program consistent over all the touchpoints.

Building the set of principles is not that hard since nearly every business faces the same challenges but may address it differently because of its culture. Saying that employee experience should contribute to work efficiency, personal development and engagement is too vague so you’ll need to turn it into more actionable principles.

For instance, I saw a business that ended up with (among others): simplification, learning, belonging, fulfillment.

Practically speaking, they eventually considered every possible touchpoint between the company and the employees and wondered “what to change at this touchpoint to make work simpler, life simpler, make employees learn something, reinforce the feeling of belonging…). Of course some touchpoints could help to address the full scope, some one or two items. Then they prioritized their actions, based on the touchpoints having the biggest impact.

This step is very important because it can lead to a really different mindset in the company if well understood and applied. Indeed, it’s not only used to transform what exists but also to design anything in the future. Any new interface, process, managerial framework had to either contribute to simplification, learning, engagement…If it didn’t it was rejected because it was going against the corporate ambition of being fully employee centric to support the client satisfaction and success, so to drive growth, revenue and be more cost efficient regarding to customer acquisition and retention.

And they eventually ended with a more engaged and effective workforce, internal services fully dedicated to employee’s success and employees fully supported and empowered to accomplish their mission. Cherry on the cake, they strengthened their employer brand and were able to use employee advocacy as real asset.

Of course some of the principles or the way you’re going to implement them will derive from your brand, the customer facing one. This is the lesson anyone should learn from Mercedes-Benz USA CEO : he once stated that his brand was defined by its customer experience and that customer experience was following employee experience. What matters is not only to deliver a “good” employee experience but an employee experience that is relevant to your company. If you’re selling luxury cars the employee experience won’t be the same as if you were selling low-cost ones. Employees deliver the experience they live at work, not more. Don’t expect them to deliver something they’ve never experienced, never see working, or adopt behaviors in front of the customers that no one has in front of them in the office. Yes, managers are a touchpoint like any other and surely one of most important contributors to employee experience.

Developing employee experience into concrete actions

But before reaching the Grail, one must turn principles into actions. That’s the point where a framework to map the touchpoints based on the expected impact matters to build the business cases and the delivery roadmap.

This will be the subject of a future post.

Image Credit : Define by Olivier Le Moal via Shutterstock

This post was first published on the HRTech World Blog.