In 2018 employee experience should be more than a free lunch

What characterises a good employee experience in 2018? We discussed this with the best-selling author of The Employee Experience Advantage, Speaker and Futurist, Jacob Morgan. Read the highlights in our interview below.

Why does employee experience become increasingly important today and in the future?

A lot of companies start to invest in employee engagement, but they don’t see ROI increasing as expected. The reason is that employers treat employee engagement in a short-term perspective, but aim to solve a long-term problem. As the poor workplace practices in the company haven’t been changed, ROI scores don’t go anywhere.
Therefore, companies are now trying to figure out how can they genuinely drive productivity, innovation and profitability. That is where the notion of employee experience comes into play.
Building a human-centric environment, where employees feel like to work is becoming an important competitive advantage for companies of any kind.

What mistakes do companies usually make in their effort to create positive employee experiences?

I think the biggest mistake is that some companies view employee experiences simply as perks and benefits (e.g. free food, gym memberships), rather than substantial changes in workplace practice and company culture.

The reality is, however, that the workplace is outdated and even core practices such as effective communication are lacking.

So, before we even start to think about nice perks and benefits, we should take the temperature of our organizational culture, structures, work practices and thoroughly consider if these elements combined live up to the employee expectations, needs, desires and the overall company ambitions.

Short-term investment for long-term impact simply doesn’t work. Nothing with a great impact comes without a great deal of effort and time invested.

In your opinion, what is a prerequisite for a great employee experience?

Employee experience can only be delivered by a company that truly knows its people and successfully manages to design, shape and control the following three key components: culture, technology and physical space.

Beyond enhancing our employee understanding, technology can secure more effective work processes and give employees the correct tools to more efficiently and smoothly fulfil their jobs.

On a human level, companies should make changes to the core of workplace practices based on employees’ expectations and values. Employees should have their say in building an organization they want to work for.

Nevertheless, companies should look to build a physical space that reflects the core organizational values, offers multiple work options and supports different work styles, attitudes and behaviours.

What tools and practices can we use to generate good employee experience?

For years, companies have applied many different methods and concepts to understand their customers; e.g. service design and focus group interviews. We can use any of these tools on the employee side too.

Nevertheless, I believe that something as simple as on-going feedback, communication and knowledge-sharing among employees and executives can help to create a more positive experience and build a more successful employee/employer relationship.

This is not something an annual employee experience survey can make up for or ensure. Building great relationships requires much stronger commitment, dedication and continuity.

Who are the right people to drive such a workplace change in an organization?

Driving this change involves at least four layers in an organization. First and foremost, the executives who initiate the change, the HR team who drives the strategy, workplace managers who shape and create the actual experience and all the employees, who participate and share their feedback and ideas.

How can we measure the ROI of employee experience?

Over the years, I’ve looked at many indicators including revenue and profitability. What I’ve found is that companies that emphasize employee experience outperform their competitors across both parameters. Those companies generally, achieve higher revenue, profit per employee and better performance in general.


How to create best-in-class workplace experiences? Get the insights in our ISS 2020 Vision White Book: The Future of Work, Workforce and Workplace