The Age of Experience Has Arrived
Like it or not, we are well into the age of experience; first outlined by Joseph Pine and Jim Gilmore in The Experience Economy in 1999. Scientists, industry leaders, and futurist generally agree; it’s all about an individual’s experience. Products and services are no longer enough for today’s consumers and workers who value experience over all else. According to Dassault Systems, a market innovation company, “Shaping the right consumer experience requires involvement and collaboration among all roles within a company – from marketing and management to sales and engineering.” It seems to me the same imperative will apply to a company’s employee engagement program – namely, it’s now all about the “employee experience.”
How to Create an Amazing Employee Experience
Recently Forbes published a series of articles by Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work. In his posts, Morgan discusses how employers can develop a framework for creating a positive employee experience by focusing on three aspects of the organization’s environment; the physical, cultural, and technological. Let’s explore the environmental framework he proposes and discover why these three factors are so critical for creating a winning employee experience, and ultimately, a fully engaged employee.
The Physical Environment
It is widely accepted that one of the factors of workers’ well-being is the physical workspace. Many studies have shown that employees that enjoy their working environment will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy. Genzler’s Workspace Index identifies four key areas that should be available for workers; spaces needed to focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize. These spaces are all about giving employees multiple modes of working. Workers should feel comfortable moving in and out of these areas at their own discretion. When these areas also reflect the culture of the organization, productivity increases exponentially.
The Cultural Environment
The culture of an organization lives in that undefinable space that we call “feeling”. You can’t touch it or see it, but you can readily experience it when you enter a company’s doors. It’s typically a combination of leadership, organizational structure, and the make-up of the people who inhabit it. It is also greatly inspired by the values the company practices surrounding diversity, transparency, communications, collaboration, and mission. The culture of an organization can be totally motivating or totally discouraging. It all boils down to the role of leadership to establish the mood, tone, and vibe of the organization.
The Technological Environment
The technological environment of the organization refers to the tools employees use to do their work. Technology is the central nervous system of the organization and absolutely defines how workers are able to do their jobs. It must be reflective of today’s digital environment including mobile and hand held devices, social media, apps, as well as, emerging robotic and automation tools. Millennial workers in particular are completely adept in communicating and collaborating with these new devices. If an organization’s technology is out of date and/or poorly designed, it will be frustrating for employees and leave them angry and unproductive instead of being engaged, happy, and productive.
A United Effort Includes Rewards & Recognition
Creating a healthy and rewarding employee experience has to focus on these three environmental areas. It must involve all levels of the organization and include all roles and functional areas and it needs to include a strategic approach to rewards and recognition, as well. This means taking advantage of newest engagement technologies (including mobile and social tools) to promote and grow a positive culture. Integrating rewards and recognition with the key aspects of your work environment will result in an organization where people will not just “need” to show up; they will “want” to show up. What kind of employee experience are you creating for your organization?