Keeping up with the changed face of employee experience

19 May 2021 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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An experience is not defined by just one touchpoint or interaction, it encompasses them all. Imagine you visit a restaurant, if the food was incredible but the service left something to desire your perception of this experience would draw on both of these aspects. 

That’s why, when we talk about employee experience, we’re not talking about just the onboarding process or the development opportunities, but everything. Gallup’s definition of employee experience displays this, with the firm stating, “Employee experience includes every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager and wellbeing.” 

If we well manage our employee’s experience, we will empower them to create and innovate, our company will attract the best talent (and more importantly, keep said talent!), and our happy employees will make for happy customers. If we don’t, well, it will be quite the opposite.

My company currently works in a siloed manner

Measuring employee experience

Let’s rewind to the blissful pre-pandemic days. Typically, we’d spend five days in the office, therefore our experience would be largely affected by our environment. In light of this, companies attempting to improve their employee’s experience would lean on the classic perks and benefits of office life. Perhaps they’d provide free food and drinks during the working day (fruit if they were particularly keen on wellbeing), or maybe there would be a games room, or a bring your dog to work day.

In fact, I once visited a friend’s office where they had prosecco on tap! Staff could pull themselves a drink of bubbles whenever it took their fancy. 

These superficial perks look great on paper, but do they improve our employee’s experience? Not really. Especially if we consider Gallup’s definition that employee experience is about the interactions during an entire employee lifecycle. You could actually argue that these so-called benefits are detrimental to our employee’s experience. If used wrongly, they could promote a culture of being always on and blur the balance between work and life.

Now there is nowhere to hide

These attempts at improving employee experience were already less than ideal, however, the events of 2020 made it clear that this approach just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. The main reason why: A lot of us are remote working now, more than ever before, so there’s no more prosecco on tap and every day is bring your dog to work day. 

Working cross departmentally at enterprise level benefits employee engagement and experience

As a consequence, the face of employee experience has changed, and the entire concept has become more meaningful. It’s less about those blanket perks and benefits and more about creating a work environment where staff can flourish.

We’ve learnt that our employee’s experience is not defined by the availability of fresh fruit but the ability to do one’s job and enjoy doing so, with the right equipment, support, development, and opportunities. This realisation has led to 44% of businesses prioritising investments related to company culture and employee experience over the last 12 months. 

But what do these investments look like? Well in a world of isolation, companies have turned to an environment of collaboration. Seventy-two percent of businesses recognise that cross-departmental working at an enterprise level is beneficial to employee engagement and experience. Enter: Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

ESM = Employee engagement success

A lack of internal cohesion and collaboration wreaks havoc on our employee’s experience. So often, they’ll be forced to navigate internal silos when going about their daily work. Departments just don’t speak or communicate to one another, so the employee is burdened with filling the gaps and running in different directions to get the knowledge and services they need. 

ESM will bring value to my organisation

They’ll come away with the perception that internal services are cumbersome and sluggish and actually a barrier to their success. In fact, when our departments such as IT, HR, and facilities don’t communicate and collaborate, we’ll be left wondering how our organisation comes across professionally to the outside world when internally it’s like a school playground – cliques of kids not talking to each other and playing games in separate corners. 

This is where ESM comes in, it’s a solution that thrives on bringing people together. It breaks down silos and allows departments to collaborate and share processes in a simple, easy place.

Without interdepartmental collaboration, employees will feel disengaged due to the inability to access the basic services they need. Whereas, with collaboration, we’ll empower them in their work. Having a single point of contact for their needs will make accessing our services a breeze. Need a new laptop? No problem. Booking a personal day? That’s fine. Hired a new employee? Fantastic! 

Gallup says an employee’s experience refers to their entire lifecycle at a company: workspace, manager, wellbeing. Well, providing employees with our services at their fingertips ensures they can always access what they need, wherever and whenever. 

Employee experience is beyond perks

The reality is that the pandemic has been a huge turning point for employee experience. Companies can no longer rely on those look-good-on-paper perks because when working from home, our experience is defined by the things that really matter: feeling empowered to do our jobs and having the support available throughout. 

So, take a look at your own employee experience, especially now that you’re remote. If you want to improve it, don’t just look at specifically the food or the service, but consider how you can truly make your employee’s experience better through actionable and consistent changes. 

About the author: Hannah Price is Agile Coach at TOPdesk, a company that provides services management software.