We have all heard of the customer experience, which is defined as the resulting product when a customer interacts with your brand. We're all familiar with both good and bad customer experiences, and we go through one or the other on a near daily basis. A rude flight attendant, a printer that jams, internet that goes down, and a package that gets delivered damaged, all shape our experiences with the respective companies we interact with. Of course, no company is perfect, which is why what an organization does during both good and bad experiences makes a huge difference.
However, over the past few years we have started to see the emergence of the employee experience, which is now something that many HR leaders and executives around the world are focusing on. Similar to the customer experience, the employee experience is what happens when an employee interacts with your organization. It starts with how they first find and apply for a job at your company, and ends with how they leave and includes everything in between. For example, at T-Mobile they have started to provide insight into the jobs that people are applying for including how long they have been available and how many applicants they have received. They also re-wrote many of their job descriptions in plain English instead of the legalese and marketing speak we are all so used to. Why did they do this? To improve the experience of potential employees before they even get in the door.
Decades ago nobody cared about the employee experience because all of the power was in the hands of employers. They simply needed to list a job and give people a place to do that job, nothing else really mattered. There was no focus on engagement, inspiration, empowerment, designing beautiful workplaces, using modern technology, or the like. All of these things have just recently become mainstream topics of discussion. In fact the Society for Human Resource Management found that the top priority for those in HR is talent management. Why? Because the power has now shifted into the hands of employees. Organizations have always assumed that they can create a place where they assumed people NEEDED to work there and are now realizing that they must create a place where people WANT to work there. The war for talent has never been more fierce. People are turning to non-traditional ways of earning a living such as creating products on Etsy, renting out their homes on Airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, become freelancers on sites like Upwork (formerly Elance-Odesk), and the like. Technology platforms such as LinkedIn have also made it incredibly easy for head hunters to steal talent from their competitors. So in this type of a world what can organizations do to help make sure that employees want to show up? You guessed it, focus on the employee experience.
Catered meals, onsite dry cleaning, beautiful office spaces, modern technology, and flexible work programs may all seem like fancy perks but all of the companies I have been speaking with leverage these things as strategic business initiatives. They offer these things because employees actually ask for them. Employees at different companies value and care about different things. This is why organizations such as F5 Networks, which sees employees working 9-5 in cubicles (yet is ranked as one of the best places to work in America), is so different than an organization like Google that offers pretty much anything you can want and think of.
Everything from the food employees eat to the technologies they use to get their jobs done to the office spaces they work in are all a part of the employee experience. Every organization I speak to thinks about the employee experience a bit differently. In other words, there is no cookie cutter approach that every company can take and apply. Not everything that Google does will work for your company and not everything you are doing at your company will work at Google, nor should it!
Jacob Morgan is a futurist, best-selling author and keynote speaker, learn more by visiting The Future Organization.com or check out his latest book,"The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders and Create a Competitive Organization," on Amazon.