Lessons about employee experience best practices are everywhere, including many places you might not even think of, such as nature. It makes sense really. Because the natural world is in a constant state of change, it’s the perfect teacher for organizations trying to navigate a digital workplace transformation.
Let’s be honest -- creating an effective employee experience, one that delivers bottom line value to the business and helps attract and retain top talent, isn’t easy. But it also isn’t impossible, especially if you follow these common-sense rules for tubing down a river:
Effective planning alone doesn’t guarantee success It goes without saying that you need to do a significant amount of thoughtful up-front planning if your employee experience initiative stands a chance of succeeding. Proper planning is just the start of the journey, however. Think about the countless hours of planning that go into any type of trip – investigating tour companies, making packing lists, communicating with the people you’re traveling with etc. But when the time comes to actually leave, there’s always that sinking feeling that you haven’t done enough, that some critical detail has been forgotten (like omg, did I leave the stove on?!). As stakeholders of an employee experience project, you will no doubt take care of all the upfront planning needed to ensure success – being aware of the threats and trends, understanding employee challenges, establishing goals, researching technologies and technology partners, etc. But your work won’t end there. In fact, it will only have just begun. Actually making it all happen is an entirely different challenge that will still lie ahead of you. It’s an intimidating feeling but don’t let it deter you, because starting means success is just a few miles up river.
Always be aware of what’s happening and how things are going No matter how perfect the conditions are on the river, you can never let your guard down. In some places it’s shallow enough to see the bottom, yet in others it’s a dark, murky mystery that’s hiding countless rocks, boulders and other dangers that can threaten your safety and change the course of your progress in the blink of an eye. The same is true with your employee experience initiative. It’s a process of continual improvement and one that can only succeed if you’re tuned into what’s happening around you. Employees will tell you what they want and need. If you ask for feedback, listen consistently and act on what you hear, you’ll have a lot more success navigating the bumpier parts of your journey.
Expect that just when you think you have it all figured out, conditions will change Like nature, business and technology are always in a state of flux, with changing conditions throwing up roadblocks and obstacles when you least expect it. Just as soon as you learn that the middle of the river is the best place to be in terms of the current, a downed tree in your path forces you to skirt the bank so you can get around it. As sudden rain shower – despite the promise of a clear forecast – might force you to run for cover. Your environment, as well as the technology that powers it, is always evolving. There will be times when the status quo is enough, but to preserve the employee experience that your staff deserves, you’ll need to plan on staying ahead of changing conditions, especially when it comes to innovations in technology and experience best practices.
Involve the right team Whether its on the river or in a conference room, you cannot overstate the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. On a trip down the river that likely means fun people you can trust to pull their own weight and who wouldn’t complain the whole time. In the case of an organization looking to modernize the digital workplace, however, involving the right team includes every cross-functional department that has a stake in the success of the project. That means IT from a technology perspective, HR from an employee advocacy angle and even the internal communications team, a group that has a lot to gain from a more effective communication mechanism with employees. Senior business leaders who will sponsor the initiative will also be key and should be given insight from the earliest stages.
Understand what equipment you need and don’t shortchange your investment There’s a reason the saying “up the river without a paddle” exists, and that’s because you are in serious trouble if you forget a paddle on a tubing trip (although it should be noted that flip flops will work in a pinch, they aren’t exactly the ideal solution). There’s no shortage to the types of tools and technologies that organizations have available to them to improve the employee experience. While there’s no right answer in terms of which technologies are right for which types of companies, one thing is for certain – there are plenty of wrong types. Understand what your organization needs for your unique circumstances and get exactly that. You’re trying to elevate your digital workplace – its not a time to cut corners.
Let the experts do the heavy lifting There are some things that are just worth paying for – like letting certified experts deal with all the gear and logistics that go into what appears to be a simple three mile journey down a river. There is nothing simple about it, but that’s the mistake many people make – thinking it’s easy enough to do themselves. Now you might be tempted to try and build your own employee experience “float,” but let’s be honest – that’s just not a great idea. Creating an intelligent employee experience is a complex endeavor that requires major investments in money, time and expertise. Sure, you could do it, but at what expense? It would be a huge distraction from the core nature of your business and likely wouldn’t be worth it in the long run. Face the fact that this is a job for the experience technology experts. Find a technology partner you can trust and leave the project in their hands while you focus on what you do best.