Creating a Positive Employee Experience

The employee experience is quickly becoming a major area of emphasis for many HR practitioners and business leaders. It is a transformation away from holdover policies and practices, like the annual performance review and command-and-control management, that began in the Industrial Era.

In the modern organization, the employee experience creates a workplace that is more human centered and technology-driven. According to Jeanne Meister in a recent Forbes article, the result is an experience that is “personalized, compelling, and memorable.”

Research is beginning to provide valuable insights into how organizations can measure the employee experience, as well as the key workplace practices which can cultivate that experience.

A compelling employee experience, according to the research above, is based on five key elements: a strong sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor (energy). These elements reflect the high expectations that many workers now bring to the workplace and their work relationships.

Within the employee experience, the relationship between individual and organization has also changed. Rather than what the organization can get from the individual in human capital, the experience is more about what individuals choose to give of themselves when their experience is positive and compelling.

The challenge for many organizations is creating that experience in an authentic and personalized way. This often requires a change in mindset, not just terminology.

For example, there are several key practices that help to make work more human and contribute to a positive employee experience. They include things like meaningful work, empowerment, and feedback/recognition. These practices reflect deeply personal approaches and preferences, rather than attributes that are homogenous across the workforce.

Indeed, recent research is finding that poorly implemented strategies (i.e., compelling employees to feel meaningfulness) can often backfire and lead to higher rates of burnout. The solution is often to allow meaningfulness to emerge through conversations between manager and reports. Additional support comes from research finding positive gains in productivity associated with job crafting, or allowing employees to find their own sense of meaning and empowerment at work, particularly when they feel like they don’t fit in with the organization.

As more attention is devoted to the employee experience and how organizations can successfully cultivate it among their employees, it will be important to ensure that practices are thoughtfully crafted to allow for both individuality and greater humanity. This will help organizations to avoid the pitfalls of Human Era practices applied with an Industrial Era mindset.

What practices would you like to see your company make to improve your own employee experience?

As Globoforce’s Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. He is the co-author of “The Power of Thanks” and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.

This post originally appeared on Compensation Cafe
Author: Derek Irvine