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What is the employee experience? Why should we address it now? How should we do it? There are so many questions surrounding this concept! It’s logical and natural. The employee experience is a philosophy that, despite being recent, is here to stay in our organizations, and everyone’s asking how to deal with it.
When I say this, I do so consciously. There is no turning back, and I believe it could be better understood by attempting to answer these three initial questions.
What is the employee experience (EX)? Without a doubt, it is directly connected with the emotions that arise from the experiences and circumstances of our new professionals in their organizations. We are talking about a concept that appeals to emotion and perception. And what is more, this can be negative or positive depending on our relationship. In fact, the Spanish Association for the Customer Experience Development (DEC) defines it as the “set of actions of an employee in relation to their company, which generates an emotional bond. This bond will positively or negatively affect their performance, commitment, and the way they represent the brand or the company when dealing with third parties. “The employee as an ambassador for the company”. (White Paper DEC #3 2015).
Another possible definition is to understand the EX as the intersection of expectations, needs, and desires of employees and the organizational design of those expectations, needs, and desires, as stated by Jacob Morgan in his book “The Employee Experience Advantage”. I would like to highlight, as we have seen, two concepts in these definitions: emotional bond and the intersection of expectations, desires, and needs. The employee experience is about emotions and also business.
“The digitalization of products and services are offering us new techniques and methodologies that focus on improving the lives of people. And to improve the lives of others, it has to involve others”
Let’s try to answer the second question, why should we get on board with the EX now? As I have already told, we have a one-way ticket. This is a one-way road: the design centered on the employee is a transformative element for companies. It’s a philosophy, a new mentality that we have to accept if we want to change and implement new ways of working. And why now? Because everything around us revolves around the design of our services, products, systems, and policies in favor of people, users, consumers, citizens, and employees. The digitalization of products and services are offering us new techniques and methodologies that focus on “improving the lives of people.” And to improve the lives of others, it has to involve others. Therefore, the function of people has to be removed from this change in organizations, since we are facing a unique opportunity for our survival.
How should we do it? Good question! I will venture to say that we are all taking small steps... and in our case, at Repsol, we have only recently set out along this one-way road. It’s a learning process. Bearing in mind that the customer experience has come a long way, and we are focusing on its techniques and theory. And without failing to keep an eye on our employer branding, a key player in the value of our proposal as an employer, which has to be consistent with this experience.
We are setting out on our new journey by working in four areas:
• Defining an employee experience framework for Repsol. Answering the question, what do I want our employees to feel? Within this framework, we have developed pillars of experience that correspond to our new guiding principles. Our delivery of experience has to be efficient, respectful, and provide value and anticipation. These pillars will allow us to offer a consistent and coherent experience for the staff.
• Realizing and designing the employee experience. We have prioritized by groups to approach different journeys that are giving us a broad and holistic view of the experience. Thanks to this methodology, we are designing new experiences with a very clear path, with concrete initiatives that reduce the gap between the current and the desired experience.
• Generating a culture of design centered on the employee experience. As I said at the beginning of the article, we are facing a new mentality and work philosophy. For this reason, it is important that this new way of understanding the management of people is allowed to permeate all functions. Certainly, this is an important task, because here we are talking about change management that needs to be addressed in a profound way. We have a long journey ahead of us.
• Measuring and monitoring results. As I always say, the employee experience begins once the different methodologies of conceptualization and solution design are complete. Monitoring and alignment with the desired experience is a crucial job. To do so, we will use the different tools that the customer experience offers us and, at the same time, we will measure from different perspectives the iteration with our new employees at key moments, with the contact points of their experience or from the engagement perspective. In the end, we need to have an exhaustive process that captures expectations, preferences, and employee experiences regularly, that helps us to make decisions. And we are not only going to make use of what this methodology offers us.
The employee experience is not only to do with changing people’s functions, it addresses concepts such as culture, technology, and workspaces. At the moment, our focus more about our scope of action. There is much to do, and the journey has only just started. Our ambition is broad, the horizon is clear, let us take safe and concrete steps in terms of employee experience.