“Now more than ever, companies have to invest in creating an attractive work environment that makes employees want to stay and motivates qualified job seekers to choose them,” said Pa Sinyan, Managing Partner of Gallup, in a recent interview with t3n magazine about the “Great Resignation.” This has reached Germany now as well. More and more people are questioning their work (and their employer) and are ready to make a change when desire and reality no longer match. For companies, this means no longer being able to avoid upgrading the employee experience. This includes the entire spectrum of experiences – emotional, intellectual, and physical – that people have with their employer, from the first contact in the application process to leaving the company. This is not new, but more important than ever. Companies should be aware of these three trends and developments in employee experience:
EX Management needs new roles.
The role of HR has undergone a massive change: Shaping instead of managing, at the meeting point of people and technology. Where in the past HR was seen primarily as a cost factor, today good HR work is the key to corporate success. It is where the foundations are laid for finding, attracting, and retaining talent. The times when this could be managed with an Excel spreadsheet are long past. New skills are required, for example in the analysis and evaluation of large amounts of data, which the use of AI in HR work brings with it. Bringing together the right people with the right tasks at the right time within the company is the key responsibility of everyone in an organization, especially in times when employees are more willing than ever to change jobs. This task can only be accomplished by those who are involved in all areas of the company. Creating a good employee experience requires working closely with colleagues from all other departments, be it marketing, facility management, CSR, communications, or management. Because the same applies to all of them: It’s all about the people – whether writing a blog post, setting up new meeting rooms, or dividing up the budget for the new fiscal year.
Companies like Airbnb or Nike have gone one step further and created roles dedicated exclusively to optimizing the Employee Experience, the “Chief Employee Experience Officer”.
A good Employee Experience is based on hands-on technology.
If it is possible to find information on your mobile device using your preferred search engine within minutes or even seconds, you don’t want to have to spend days at work waiting for important information or be referred from one colleague to the next. Likewise, no one wants to have to drive to the company headquarters to read the latest internal job postings on the bulletin board, especially if that person has been contacted by a dozen recruiters via LinkedIn in the past 48 hours alone.
Sharing information with just a few clicks, networking with colleagues when needed, or learning about exciting development opportunities needs to be as straightforward as people are used to in their daily, increasingly digitally driven lives. Monique Matheson, CHRO at Nike, said in an interview: “Let’s let the tech do what tech can do and let the humans do the things that only humans can do.” This attitude is the starting point for creating a good employee experience: If smart technology takes over routine processes or shortens (digital) paths, employees regain the chance to meet on a deeply human level. This in turn creates a sense of connection. And this – as the current Gallup study on employee satisfaction shows – is one of the strongest drivers for people to stay with a company.
Employee Experience = Contributor Experience.
In an interesting article on Forbes.com, Jeanne Meister, Executive Vice President of the Future Workplace Academy, described the future of the employee experience using Airbnb as an example. The company’s strong mission – that people should feel a sense of belonging wherever they are in the world – is also consistently upheld for its employees. What the perfect Customer Experience is for travelers around the world, the perfect Employee Experience is for the thousands of employees who also work across the globe. They are invited to help shape their working environment, to be both contributors and consumers.
This is also the key principle behind talent marketplaces, where employees can network on their own initiative for a variety of work models and learning opportunities and which are being used in more and more companies around the world. It also makes a lot of sense in terms of attracting talent in the future, because young people, in particular, look to their peers for guidance, and want to learn from and grow with them. Studies on the “Creator Economy” concluded that 66 percent of today’s 16-19 year-olds consume posts from influencers daily. In Germany, more than one in four say they identify more strongly with the content of influencers than with advertising messages from companies. And 80 percent of 18- to 26-year-olds regularly share content they created themselves on social networks. Digital talent marketplaces are picking up on these developments. Instead of only controlling and informing from the top-down, companies allow their employees to become “internal influencers”, to position themselves with certain topics and skills, to find exciting “products” in the form of workshops, gigs, and job offers, and to consume the knowledge and expertise of their colleagues.
According to surveys, “content creator” is the dream job for 1.75 million young people in Germany (twice as many as work in the automotive industry). If companies can harness the excitement of sharing and creating in the digital space not only for their external communication but also to provide their employees with wonderful experiences in the work context, they are well-positioned to be at the lead in the race to attract talent.