What animal best describes how your organization prioritizes employee experience?
Would it be a baby bird who wants to fly high, but is still learning how? Would it be a hippopotamus because employee experience is a big priority, but lack of agility is slowing it down? Or how about a puppy because the business loves to talk about employee experience, but it is hard to educate them on what it truly means?
These were just a few of the answers we heard from the 30 senior leaders last month at our annual North America TI People EX Peer Exchange hosted at Mastercard’s New York City Tech Hub. Even though each attendee is at a different stage in their EX journey, they all shared a common need for our two days – to explore how to design and deliver EX at scale effectively.
Along with providing an update on TI People’s latest thinking and fostering connections across many prominent brands, our goal was to immerse our attendees in the reality of what employee experience means and what is involved in genuinely delivering a compelling employee experience promise at scale.
By the end of our time together, attendees gained a perspective on three key takeaways:
1. EX is not an HR thing. It is a human thing.
According to our State of EX 2019 report, 9 out of 10 CEOs believe HR should own EX. However, EX is not an HR initiative or the result of multiple initiatives. EX is not about merely implementing new technology or updating a flexible work policy. EX is about putting the human at the center of the design and delivering meaningful experiences and solutions for the people based on their desires, needs, and expectations as they interact with the organization over time.
Once HR and the rest of the business can start to understand that EX demands an outside-in perspective (versus an inside-out perspective) in which empathy is essential, we are on the right path to making a difference.
2. Employee experience requires the ability to see the big picture and tend to the details concurrently.
Employee experience is the sum of all the interactions an employee has with an organization over the duration of the relationships – from their first interaction to the very last. Like anything that operates as a system, interactions are connected and therefore have a cause and effect relationship.
As an example, let us consider an average person’s first day. The employee enters the building, is greeted by reception, welcomed by their new manager in a team meeting, provided instructions on how to set-up their computer, invited to grab coffee with a few colleagues, introduced to a new project they will be owning, etc. The sum of these interactions shapes the experience from the employee’s perspective – and one of the reasons the experience breaks
down is when the internal functions who are providing a service work in silos – not as an orchestrated system.
We need to break down functional silos to create more seamless experiences for the people of the organization.
3. When you are ready to embark on EX, think big and start small.
Superior EX demands the ability to design iteratively and deliver cohesively and consistently to everyone, everywhere, all the time. It is complex – and like any real transformation, it will take time and involve many different stakeholders. And many different capabilities such as research, experience design, product development, etc.
So, don’t be tempted to boil the ocean by embarking on an effort or multiple efforts simultaneously to improve all the countless interactions and touchpoints, take a step back. Understand and assess the end-to-end experience (big picture) and set a strategy in place that enables you to experiment and iterate on one improvement and one solution that is a mutual priority for the people and the business – before taking on yet another. Learn from it – and move forward in an agile fashion.
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ – nor will you be able to transform your employee experience overnight.