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The Importance of Employee Experience

In the age of machines and technology, could we have thought that people are more important than ever before? Especially with COVID-19, the answer is definitely yes. Talks about automation and artificial intelligence have been replaced by the need to connect, be human, show empathy, and be kind to each other. In a technology-focused world, these “soft skills” will be the most important. It’s ironic and unfortunate that a virus has made us realize this.

During COVID-19, employee experience has become the top priority for business leaders worldwide. To shed light on the competitive advantage provided by employee experience, I analyzed 252 organizations worldwide and found that only 6% of them did an excellent job of investing in employee experience. These organizations, on average 24% smaller than the others, were 4 times more profitable and had superior stock price performance. Examples of these organizations include Cisco, Microsoft, Facebook, Riot Games, Airbnb, and Hyland Software.

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A recent study by LinkedIn found that Employee Experience was the number one talent trend for 2020 in organizations. In my own research, where I interviewed over 140 CEOs worldwide, I found that attracting and retaining talent is one of the most important trends for leaders in the next decade. Smart leaders now realize that it’s not just about paying people more money. Employees value more than just money, which means we need to focus on creating better experiences for them. When this is done, employees come to work every day with enthusiasm.

The era of employees convincing organizations why they should hire them is coming to a close. Now, it’s the organizations that need to convince individuals why they should work for them.

One point that I want to emphasize is that Employee Experience should not be confused with Employee Engagement. Organizations have invested in employee engagement programs for decades. However, the global results are not very promising, as about 7 out of 10 survey respondents are on the verge of disengaging from their workplace. The reason for this is the difference between Employee Experience and Employee Engagement.

Employee loyalty is the result of regular, positive employee experiences. Many organizations around the world see employee loyalty programs as a temporary, short-term, and unreliable form of motivation aimed at increasing employee satisfaction. Examples of such programs include organizing picnics, meal events, and engaging in sports activities together. The problem is relying only on these types of activities without making any fundamental changes to the organization’s practices. With the right strategy, an Employee Experience can be created where employees do not feel the need to go to work, but rather want to. This can be achieved through three factors: organizational culture, technology usage, and physical space. In short, employee loyalty is about investing in short-term benefits, while employee experience is about making fundamental changes in the organization.

When it comes to providing a great employee experience in an organization, it’s not just the responsibility of HR. The HR team is a key layer responsible for employee experience, developing the strategy, tactics, and plan, and helping to make them a reality. The next layer is all the leaders within an organization. It’s their job to implement the employee experience strategy and tactics with their teams. The final layer is all employees, because it’s everyone’s job to voice their ideas and what they care about and value.

Employers can also leverage artificial intelligence and new generation technologies to foster differentiated employee experiences. For instance, AI and technology can help us create more personalized experiences for our employees. AI is better at evaluating what types of tasks we should be doing, which roles we would be best suited for, when we are reaching burnout, and can provide better recommendations than a single manager’s evaluation.

Corrected version: Another use case for artificial intelligence and technology is to automate routine and mundane tasks so that employees can focus more on the human aspects of their work. This can contribute positively to the overall employee experience.

The overall contribution of technology to employee experience is around 30%, which is not negligible. By using technology, the best tools and resources can be provided to employees to enable them to perform their jobs as effectively and seamlessly as possible.

Jacob Morgan, Nisan 2020


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