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Put the “Human” Back in Employee Experience


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Employee experience has become quite the trend of late, but what exactly does it mean? It’s how a worker engages with a workplace through all lifecycle touchpoints, from recruitment to succession. At least that’s how strategic advisor David Smith, founder of InFlow Analysis, thinks about it.
Smith spoke about employee experience trends last week at an event Facebook held around for businesses using its Workplace platform for employee connectivity. Of course, when you consider employee experience today, COVID-19 has ramped up and changed the conversation, as the worlds of home and work have merged and pets, kids, and significant others often have become as much a part of the workday as business colleagues. During this unprecedented crisis, employees have become more “real people,” and employers have needed to make sure they’re OK, cared for, and supported,” Smith said.
Whether during this period or otherwise, the HR, IT, and communications disciplines are inextricably linked in delivering employee experience, Smith said. Their goal should be in building a collaborative culture and enabling what he calls a “conversational enterprise.” Working together, they can empower people with intuitive technology and simple processes that permit them to succeed, he added.
To create a positive employee experience, “my mantra has always been that technology has to come down into the flow and influence how people work,” Smith said. “We have to start looking at the workplace from a people-centric perspective and devise strategies that put [internal employees and external customers] at the center — enabling better experiences across the board.”
That said, needing to support work-from-home employees has been a real eye-opener for some companies on employee experience, Smith said. As an example, he relayed how one Bay Area field tech executive told him about coming to the realization that the company had to start putting people first and give them the “time and space to manage home life.” That realization led to serious changes within the business. “They now require strategic communications from leadership about their support for employees, empathy, and guidance on technology to support them as they work from home,” Smith said.
As a takeaway, Smith advised business leaders to equip WFH employees to be proactive and self-motivated, encouraging them to take breaks when necessary, for example. Leaders should be transparent and empathetic. If the dog barks or the kids get loud, no worries. It’s happening to the best of us.