In a context in which organizations, business models, professions, and skills are constantly changing, human resources is also changing. In fact, in the last few years, HR has leaned towards a new approach known as employee experience (EX), where employees are seen not as “the workforce” but as individuals to be valued, so they can give their best for themselves and the company.
Now that permanent positions have almost completely disappeared, and that a career is no longer a tiring ladder climb that stops at the achievement of a final goal, but rather, a continuum of experiences which enrich our identities, HR as an executive department which only manages hiring and layoffs is a legacy of the past, and is focusing more and more on the so-called employee experience.
Employee experience is everything that workers experience when they interact with an organization. The more rewarding and positive the experience, the stronger a person’s bond, or engagement, will be with a company. In an era where people can work from anywhere, creating a strong employee experience is necessary to keep and attract top talent. Designing a rewarding experience is a constant work in progress that must consider different factors. It is a tailor-made path to support the growth of different employees at all levels.
This means considering candidates or employees as “internal customers,” offering services and experiences that meet their needs. An added bonus is that employees who are engaged with their work are good for business: a company with more involved employees earns 147% more than its competitors, according to the Harvard Business Review. Because we are thinking of employees as internal customers, we can use customer experience strategies to increase internal employee engagement.
One employee experience success story comes from the high-end, organic, and ethically-sourced supermarket chain, Whole Foods, which boasts a low turnover from employees as compared to its competitors. Some of its employee experience wins, which take cues from customer experience, starting from management and the CEO level who are dedicated to spreading the company’s philosophy, motivating employees to follow a common cause. The company’s decision-making processes involve the entire staff who are organized in teams without rigid hierarchies. Each team acts to interpret and respect the company’s values and each decision must have full consent to be ratified. And one of the hallmark’s of Whole Foods, employees are free to express their personalities at work, extending to how employees dress and show their creativity.