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I recently had the pleasure of attending the UK Employee Experience Awards at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London, having been a category judge.
The standard of entries was exceptionally high, and the event proved to be an excellent showcase for a broad range of organisations which are achieving great things in the area of employee experience (EX).
I’d like to extend my congratulations to each of the winners and shortlisted employers and commend them on the work they are doing in this area. The awards are now in their fifth year and I’d also like to say well done to the organiser, Customer Experience Magazine, for placing this subject firmly in the spotlight.
The keynote speech was delivered by Ben Whitter, recognised as one of the world’s leading figures within the fields of EX and HR. I judged the use of digital technologies category in which leading concierge business, Ten, won the gold award, having partnered with Learn Amp to transform how the company manages the employee journey. Ten, itself, acknowledged that to deliver the very best customer experience, it first needed to deliver the “very best” employee experience.
Indeed, there is growing acceptance that great employee experience and great customer experience are intrinsically linked: ensure your employees enjoy their jobs and love coming to work and these positive feelings will translate through to exceptional customer experience and greater profitability.
Global market intelligence firm, IDC, predicts that by 2021, at least three-fifths of global 2000 companies will actively monitor and manage employee experience. They will also utilise EX as a key differentiator to build and maintain B2B and B2C relationships.
It is highly evident that employee experience is becoming the new battleground in the war for talent. To create great employee experiences (and win the war), employers must consider a range of factors.
Building the right culture and sense of community is central but it must extend beyond this and touch every aspect of work across the entire employee lifecycle. This includes attraction, interview, hiring, onboarding and areas such as contribution, reward, personal growth and development.
An emerging trend in HR is the concept of the “workplace as an experience” where what happens is re-evaluated and carefully designed, arranged and controlled so that employees feel energised and inspired to perform at their highest level. The end goal is to establish a deep, experiential connection between individuals and their places of work.
Rialto Consultancy contends that, to achieve this, organisations must prioritise EX and treat employees in a similar manner to how they treat customers. The approach has to be a deep-rooted and personal one and organisations need to apply marketing and sales-oriented strategies to attract and motivate.
Data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning must be harnessed to learn more about individual preferences and behaviours to create tailored and authentic employee experiences.
Expectations have also risen sharply when it comes to the environment in which people work. The Dutch office of professional services firm Deloitte (the ‘Edge’) is widely considered to be one of the smartest buildings in the world.
At individual workspace level, employees can personalise the ambient lighting and temperature for their optimum comfort and productivity via a smartphone app.
Located in Amsterdam’s business district, the Edge is described as fun and inspirational. It’s no coincidence that would-be employees want to work there with nearly two-thirds of applicants (62 per cent) citing the prospect of being based there as a major incentive for choosing Deloitte.
In a period of low unemployment and high turnover, and where the demarcation between work and home is blurring, organisations must deliver extraordinary employee experience to inspire loyalty and retention.
Above all, leaders need to recognise that this is no longer a nice-to-have or even a “nice-to-offer” but a business imperative.
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