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Last year, I attended the UK’s first ever conference on IQPC Employee Experience held at Twickenham Stadium. Appreciating that the notion of ’employee experience design’ was new on the HR scene and it was also the first year the conference was being held, I didn’t have high expectations.
Surprisingly though it was sponsored rather lightly by some enlightened vendors such as Culture Amp, Saba, Willis Towers Watson, R/GA and Reward Gateway. There were about 75 HR, Internal Comms, physical architecture companies and a smattering of professionals who had Employee Experience in their job titles in attendance. The speakers were engaging, and dove deeply into the field of human centred design that shook my cynical sense that companies didn’t care much about this sort of thing. They represented venerable institutions such as Rolls Royce, Harrods, R/GA Design, and a number of others whom I was unaware had undertaken creating amazing employee environments supporting real commercial outcomes across candidate attraction, recruitment, retention, productivity and innovation.
As an innovation consultant who teaches employee experience design to fast-growth companies, I was impressed. I thought my profession was isolated and yet suddenly I was exposed to a wide array of enlightened thought leaders in the space. I couldn’t wait to network with the entire room!
Fast forward a year to 2018 and it seems employee experience is more prolific an approach to improving productivity and innovation within companies than ever before. This design approach that captures the essence of our intrinsic motivations and connects your company’s requirements with individuals’ journeys to create magical ‘moments that matter’ is not a fad. It’s gaining traction because of the results it’s achieving… helping employees feel as if their organisations care deeply about them, and creating an implicit psychological contract between employer and employee that builds loyalty, evangelism, passion and engagement.
Employee experience design introduces a level of empathic involvement that treats employees much the same way we usually treat out customers… as valued and cherished brand advocates who help shape our products and services, provide insight into what they truly want from their experience with us, and ensure our ultimate success. I’m never sure why we seem to forget this but rest assured our people care deeply about making good choices – whether they be customers or employees – so let’s make sure we create the most attractive experience we can for both.
IQPC has been busy scouring the corporate landscape for early adopters, seasoned experts and enlightened thought leaders in this fascinating and exciting space. And WOW! What a difference a year makes. I downloaded their most recent agenda for Employee Experience 2018 and it’s packed with a huge array of industry speakers, reading like the ‘Whose Who’ of corporate UK. Of course we have the usual suspects – the Unilever and Virgin crowd – who will no doubt school all of us on how this gets done expertly, across multicultural boundaries and we’ll all sit aghast at the ingenious complexity of their models. But new this year are many innovators including River Island, Ovo Energy, Flywire, Shell Oil (yes – way ahead of us, trust me), Sandvik and a raft of others.
Also new this year are some rather innovative workshops that show the explicit links between amazing employee experience and its direct effect on the customer experience. And something I’m rather keen to experience – Dragon’s Lair – which is a powerful opportunity to innovate with your peers and share some mind-blowing realisations that you can take back to work the next day and try for yourselves.
The innovation doesn’t stop there – but rather branches out further into mission critical realms of leadership and connected employee experience boards – which will feature during the September sessions.
I’m thrilled to see the IQPC group put together this incredible opportunity to learn, mingle, network, connect and absorb everything there is to know about superior employee experience design. This day will help us understand how creating amazingly well connected human experiences within organisations can provide us with a competitive edge that releases human potential whilst radically reducing the negative master-slave legacies of yesterday. This is going to be a powerful experience in its own right and I can’t wait for September to get here.
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