Human resource leaders often focus on employee experience (EX) as an important factor for organizational success. In fact, research confirms EX provides businesses an edge over competition—with tangible figures.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that organizations with a strong focus on EX achieve:
Organizations that create compelling, authentic employee experiences tend to generate stellar customer experiences. Investing in EX can enhance engagement and retention, which keeps talented, knowledgeable employees on staff to ensure an exceptional level of customer satisfaction.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken EX across the globe. Employers are evaluating what the future of their employee experience should entail. And if they’re not, they should be. The world is changing. If you’re looking to create strong talent attraction and retention strategies going forward, now is a prime time to examine (or re-examine) your EX.
Take a 2-Pronged Approach
Designing and defining your EX begins with examining your organization’s foundation, as well as your employees’ daily experiences.
1. The Foundation
Your organization’s foundation is its heart and soul—a combination of defining elements that are both seen and unseen, articulated and perceived. These same elements form the foundation of your EX.
Purpose is the motivating force that draws an organization together to achieve a goal. An organization’s purpose expresses why it exists.
What is your organization’s guiding purpose?
Organizational values can be defined as beliefs about socially or personally desirable end states or actions that are explicitly or implicitly shared. Communicating values helps employees understand what an organization prioritizes. Values form the core of an organization’s culture.
Are your values documented and communicated broadly within and without your organization?
The stress of change can hold an organization more accountable to its values, and truths can emerge that may not have been noticeable before. Generally, values won’t change—but some may take on a deeper meaning.
Culture is the intersection of values, assumptions, and artifacts unique to an organization. An aligned culture unifies and motivates a workforce.
What is your organization’s overall culture type?
A brand is the sum of the impressions people have about an organization. There are visual brand elements, such as a website, service or product offering, marketing materials, etc. But a brand is also emotive and involves the perceptions of people who interact with your organization—inside and out.
Are your desired brand and actual brand aligned?
Having a strong understanding of the foundation—or desired foundation—for your EX provides guidance and direction for the second component of EX – the experiences themselves.
Authentic experiences align with your organization’s unique EX foundation. Tangible experiences range from the technology used, to the work environments provided.
Technology is for more than just productivity. It not only helps people work, but also aids in connection with one another and helps employees connect, learn, and advance in their careers.
What technologies provide work, well-being, and career support for your employees?
The work environment is a place where employees can experience and be connected to the organization’s purpose, values, culture, and brand.
Is your workplace a physical representation of your EX foundation?
Policies and Programs
Policies and programs reinforce desired experiences, support employees’ holistic well-being (physical, emotional, and cognitive wellness), and help the organization achieve its goals.
How are your organization’s policies reinforcing its EX foundation?
Do your existing policies and programs need to shift to accommodate the new ways people are working?
By aligning the foundation of EX with daily experiences, organizations can craft holistic solutions that also support the desired customer experience and overall brand strategy.
A work environment is one of the most impactful experiences that can either reinforce EX or undermine it. A well-designed workplace should connect to the foundation of your EX and serves as a tool to help people do great work.
Haworth has adopted the concept of Affordances, which we've been studying for over 20 years, to help identify the characteristics of a workspace that help people do their best work. By tailoring workspaces to the specific needs of your people, your work environment can serve as an asset to EX. Your workplace can help employees get work done efficiently, collaboratively, and offer the ability to focus when needed.
Discover how American Water enhanced their employee experience with the support of workspace design.