This article was published on Reworked.
We don’t always realize that employee experience (EX) is not a neat, single-minded “thing.” It is more akin to a living organism. It is made out of norms, behaviors, culture, infrastructure, processes and tools that occupy an employee day to day. EX is essentially a messy and complicated concept that businesses struggled to tackle, even in the “before times.”
We’ll spare you the whole “the workplace changed a lot in the past year” narrative. It has. Now what? Our take is that hybrid work is here to stay. It is for us anyway. In this context, EX just got a whole lot messier. Informal interactions between colleagues cannot fill the gaps like they used to do. In the past, a lot of the experience was happening organically, like by osmosis. The water cooler effect was real.
Now, how do we formalize all that was informal when work (actual work) happens in software now? More importantly, can we do this while dealing with this accelerated digital transition change management?
At GSoft, we’ve been thinking about the future of work for more than 16 years and we’ve landed on three major pain points that need to be tackled by any businesses that want to start this journey. We see them as our EX-essentials.
EX Is Not Just an HR Thing
HR leaders around the world are currently bearing the weight of employee experience. Of course, there is no way they can lead the charge on all EX touchpoints. Nevertheless, they are still responsible for enabling one of the most central parts of EX: creating the conditions in which teams and their leaders can thrive.
According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends research, the top three drivers of positive EX are feeling valued for one’s contributions, doing work that’s fulfilling and having fun.
This all happens at the employee, team and manager levels.
A powerful step toward better EX is to equip HR leaders with the right tools and methodologies to be able to trust managers and their team to craft their own conditions for success. This in turn enables HR leaders to focus on other parts of their mandate, while spreading the load. We need to make EX not just an HR thing ourselves.
There are a few key concepts needed to achieve this, including: engagement, recognition, alignment, continuous performance assessment and team leadership.
We built Officevibe with this in mind. Learn more here.
Invite IT to the Party
If work happens within software, building and managing a strong digital infrastructure becomes a critical enabling step of EX. In that sense, IT professionals are the unsung heroes of EX, making sure that everything is working seamlessly in the background. They are now at the center of most business interactions.
To put things in perspective: For us, running a modern business without a well-equipped IT team (running a platform like Microsoft 365) is as ludicrous as running an office without desks a couple of years ago. It is the bare minimum.
It is all the more important to empower your IT team given the nature of these platforms and modern collaboration. So many things are created, shared, moved or deleted. IT needs a hand to manage, migrate and secure all this content. They used to be the bottleneck, controlling the flow of work. Now, they are forced to act like shepherds, trying to control their ever-growing herd. You need to enable them to manage these platforms in a new way so that the foundation of EX remains on IT terms — safe, collaborative and growth-ready. If IT cannot do their work properly, nobody can. Try having an employee experience without that!
So talk to your IT team. See what they need. Realize that their role is critical to EX and get your digital backbone in order. We bet ShareGate will be of interest to them.
Belonging From the Start
In 2022, employees’ sense of belonging and loyalty has never been so low. Here’s what it boils down to: In a hybrid setting, we lack critical levers to engage and connect with our workspace and its culture.This is too bad because a sense of belonging is built during the first six months of an employee journey within a company. Did anyone say onboarding?
Onboarding is great but there’s a catch. Once again, the office was doing most of the work! Our take is simple: Onboarding now needs to be thought of and deployed deliberately. We need to think about the first six months of an employee like an extremely business critical ride.
What actually makes a great onboarding? The more you look, the more you realize that it is in the little things like the jargon we use or the type of emojis used in the corporate messaging app.
It’s all about a good first impression. Without it, employees may more easily feel a lack of satisfaction and fulfillment from their work life. This in turn may undermine their overall performance and discourage them from being creative or collaborative with their teammates.
So talk about onboarding. Map it. Question it. Your recipe will slowly emerge. Don’t forget that Softstart is there if you need help.
Employee Experience, One Bite at a Time
There’s plenty of information out there about EX. A bit too much if you ask us. In reality, it is too big a concept to be tackled with a single cohesive plan. Very few businesses have the time, the data or the resources to do so. In our mind, EX is not a problem to be solved but a journey on which to embark. One step at a time.
The right employee experience impacts employee satisfaction and productivity, which in turn means positive things for the business overall. So don’t rush your processes or lose your mind trying to find a holistic one-size-fits-all solution. It is too important. Any step toward better EX is a good step. Try something. See how it goes. Plan your next move.
We laid out the three points we would tackle first. They give you the strongest footing to start measuring what is going on in your business, while making sure great work happens without continuous HR intervention.
The next move is yours.
To learn more about us and our EX-essentials click here.