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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Love

Employee Experience is the new black

The great awakening has reached the workplace. Following the global talent shortage hitting Aotearoa (think 20,000 skilled people leaving for Australia and the UK) the new evolution in business is what’s called the Employee Experience.

When I say employee experience, I’m talking about the holistic experience one has at work, that combines all aspects of leadership, benefits, remuneration, relationships with colleagues, technology, wellbeing, hours, location, office / site, commute, tea and coffee facilities, communication, systems etc. the list goes on!

Traditionally people valued job security and receiving a regular income. But times have changed, the talent shortage has meant the power has shifted to the hands of the employee and during the pandemic people have had the opportunity to reflect on what’s important to them. This is particularly true for the generation entering the workforce for the first time now who may have watched their parents in the 90s and early 2000s work long hours, weekends, multiple jobs, and spent a lot of their childhood in childcare. They don’t want the same for themselves, they work to live, not live to work.

People with a choice are choosing flexibility over 9 to 5, autonomy over hierarchy, creativity over transactional work, meaningful work over paper pushing, environmentally friendly over cheap, outcomes-based over hours-based, ethics over capitalism, fairness over performance-driven, empowerment over dictatorship, freelancing over set hours, rest over hustle, life over work. You may say we are introducing more feminine energy into an environment that has previously been masculine energy dominated.

So, this brings us to a bridge, between how the traditional organisation is set up, to what people want and expect now. Understanding what contributes to the employee experience can help reduce this gap. But who is responsible for this?

In a recent LinkedIn poll, I asked “who do you think is responsible for the employee experience?”

  • 4% said HR / People & Culture / PX

  • 17% said the employee

  • 79% said org leaders and managers

Which is a real relief! It doesn’t matter how much money HR throws at someone’s remuneration package, increasing KiwiSaver contributions, implementing free fruit, increasing paid leave, becoming “tick” accredited, if your leaders still treat people like resources, they aren’t going to want to stay. Business leaders – it takes courage to reflect on how your behaviour may contribute to people’s experience of work, especially when the environment deprioritised this compared to other goals. But know this, you are supported every step of the way on your journey to putting people first.

I was reminded that there are still a large group of people who need a job and will take whatever’s on offer because they have bills to pay and dependents to feed.

So those of us in positions of privilege have a responsibility to expect and ask for a better experience of work for all and give a voice to those who may not have the same level of financial privilege.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.

If you or your organisation is ready to embark on your Employee Experience journey, give me a shout. My stocktake tool, People First Index, can provide opportunity to evaluate where exactly you are on the spectrum and provide recommendations to put the Employee Experience at the heart of your business decisions.

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