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Craft a Powerful Hybrid Employee Experience

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Wed Sep 06 2023

Craft a Powerful Hybrid Employee Experience
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The most successful organizations today—and in the future—will be those invested in understanding and positively influencing the employee experience. The wisest organizations understand that talent is their most valuable asset. And talent today has high expectations of its employee experience.

But employee experience is a chameleon of a phrase, taking on different meanings in different situations. It is sometimes disguised as a platform or a program; other times, it’s confused with free food or foosball tables. It’s often considered an extra—a thing to attend to once the “real” work has been done. But in reality, it’s none of these things.

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The employee experience is not an afterthought to the “real” work. Crafted wisely, it fuels, rather than follows, work. It answers mission-critical questions like:

  • How do we get more done with less or fewer resources?

  • How do we build connections across our hybrid teams?

  • How do we effectively grow our teams so they can do more while feeling more engaged?

  • How do we better capture customer insights?

  • How do we keep burnout at bay?

What Key Elements Underlie a Meaningful Employee Experience?

A meaningful employee experience stands on a solid foundation, which means your hygiene factors—your basics—must be sound. Baseline compensation should be fair for the market. Your workplace must be safe, your policies equitable. These are necessary for—but do not alone constitute—a positive employee experience.

The employee experience that triggers a virtuous cycle for employee, customer, and business is the experience designed to create the conditions in which employees can:

1. Deliver: Gallup research regularly demonstrates that employees want to do great work. “The ability to do what I do best” remains a top engagement driver. But so often, inadvertently, organizations obstruct that work. So, creating the conditions in which people can deliver their best work—executing, generating ideas, making decisions, accessing tools and resources—is key to the employee experience.

2. Develop: Employees strive to grow new skills and capabilities, to take on new challenges, to feel stretched and invested in. And organizations benefit when team members can take on more. A meaningful employee experience provides a blend of formal development programs, coaching and feedback, mentorship, on-the-job opportunities, and, critically, the time and space for these activities.

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3. Connect: With work less bound to a formal time and place, the need for connection is greater than ever. People want to connect with their teams, with a sense of purpose, and ultimately with the customer. They want trust and transparency. While the practices that drive connection may differ for remote, hybrid, or co-located teams, a resonant experience of connection matters deeply to the employee experience.

4. Thrive: Finally, employees need to feel appreciated, respected, well, and whole. The ability to set and hold boundaries, to keep burnout at bay, to speak up, and to believe their work has mattered ladders up to an employee experience that drives loyalty and engagement.

Using Listening Sessions to Define Action Plans

Many organizations rely on employee engagement surveys to evaluate how engaged people are and to define what actions to take.

An alternative approach is to use those surveys to assess engagement but use real-life listening sessions with employees to define and prioritize actions. A facilitated small-group conversation can yield tremendous insight in a short time. And collecting recommended actions does not require statistical validity.

Here are some areas to explore:

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Deliver

  • Clarity of roles and expectations

  • Speed and quality of decision making

  • Focus and consistency of priorities

  • Access to tools and resources required to do the work

Develop

  • Quality and consistency of feedback and coaching

  • Availability of forums for open discussion and debate

  • Perception of career advancement and growth potential

  • Quality and diversity of programs on the LMS

  • Ability to carve out time for learning

Connect

  • Understanding of how daily tasks affect results and customers

  • Practices that build community

  • Psychological safety to speak up

  • Collaboration across teams

  • Sense of authenticity from peers and leaders

Thrive

  • Rewards and recognition

  • Balance and boundaries

  • Wellness resources and programs

By asking and listening, drawing out key themes, and taking small, regular actions—tying them back to the employee experience—leaders and organizations can move the needle quickly and meaningfully. And if implemented well, employee experience and organizational results will soar.

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