The Strategic Employee Experience Virtual Summit – Day Two Summary

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And that’s a wrap! Day two of The Strategic Employee Experience Virtual Summit has come to an end and so to has the event for this year. Let’s look back at a few of the main ideas presented today!

There is an EX strategy to EX execution gap

Why is it that EX strategy doesn’t always translate to execution? Recent research has demonstrated that EX is a top priority for CHROs and has been for a while. The importance of EX is only predicted to keep rising through to 2021, and yet there is a consistent lag in adoption of the practices that often lead to a better experience.

There is one significant reason why this my be the case. HR leaders are often and understandably tasked with leading a strategic EX plan, yet if we’re honest, EX ideally should be a CEO driven action plan (if we’re talking about the ultimate in implementation potential). In the absence of this option, EX often ends up being essentially an HR service function which may add barriers to effective implementation – for logistical, technical, structural, financial, or conceptual reasons. So while HR is often tasked with EX execution plans, as many HR professionals know, it doesn’t always possess all the cards in the deck to make it all happen. This leads us to…

Don’t ignore the manager experience

There are many critical touch-points that contribute to overall company-wide EX, many owned by HR, but a significant amount owned by non-HR business actors. What binds these touch-points together is the manager – the person who links teams, sets daily or weekly goals, and has one-on-one time with employees. Why is this important? Managers and their experiences are often overlooked – even in the context of EX’s focus on intentional systemic design.

If you want great execution on EX strategy – as Volker Jacobs suggests – don’t overlook the experience of managers and how that can be improved along the way. Managers can have a multiplier effect on overall EX, as they translate objectives and goals from higher up in the organisation and apply them directly to individual employee actions. If this link is hindered by a manager whose experience at work isn’t what it could be, that strategy to execution gap just got bigger.

Employees can and do adapt quickly

Over the last few months, employees of various organisations around the world have experienced significant disruptions. At work, this disruption has manifested itself in the shift towards remote work, digital collaboration, updated heath and safety regulations, and in more serious cases – furloughs, layoffs, and unemployment.

What is noticeable however that that people have been generally very quick to adapt. Employees have shown a lot of resilience when faced with shifting work demands – sometimes even outpacing their organisation’s ability to adapt to the scope of new-work. What this means on a practical level, is that HR professionals and people managers should feel confident in their mandate to guide and shape the scope of work in their organisation today. This is especially true if they have the systemic ability to quickly and consistently collect data on employee sentiments, engagement, feedback, and the most important insights from positive/negative EX touch-points.

Workplace design will change

Today, workplace design will likely change as a result of some of the shifts in workplace behaviour. As open offices become less popular, social spaces, collaborative rooms, and semi-open layouts will likely increase in popularity. Combined with the rise of remote and digital work, it’s fair to say that the office experience is evolving.

What does this mean for EX? Well, HR needs to work with facility management professionals and other related parts of the organisation to come up with appropriate work-spaces for their people. As employees slowly return to the office, adding valuable new experiences will be high on the list of tasks for HR. This doesn’t mean frivolity, rather that Covid-19 has given us all a chance to intentionally re-design the spaces that we will inhabit at work. More space between people, sure! Dedicated rooms for teams? Collaborative areas? There are a lot of options, so now is the time to have that discussion.

The work-space is of course just one part of the overall EX, but as the world returns to the office, factory, or work site, it will re-emerge as constituent part of how we feel, act, and relate to the organisations we give life to.

EX is about removing barriers

Building a great EX is about making the holistic, human, and material interactions that the constitute the work experience as painless as possible.

This of course doesn’t mean making the work experience conflict free – far from it. It’s about giving employees interactions with their employer that create a sense of belonging, enable better performance, and build stronger business outcomes. Barriers to EX are inefficient parts of the overall experience – and we all know what most of them are – poor management, outdated technology, bloated bureaucracy, poor UX, silo mentalities, exclusive mindsets, and opportunity crushing policies – to name just a few.

A good EX is not about efficiency of interaction, but it is a kind of efficiency. It’s an economy of action and a focus on human service dedicated to making the lives of employees better. We know that EX is a priority for CHROs and that it should be a priority for all business leaders – now is the time to demonstrate the business case with clarity and act accordingly to bring it to life.

Thank you!

The HexaSpirit team would like to thank all of our attendees for joining us over the last two days at the summit – without you, there can be nothing! Of course, we would also like to thank our speakers for taking the time to share their insights and experiences, and extend a huge thank you to our sponsoring partner for their generous support! Make sure you check them out to learn more about how to make innovation a core component of your high performing teams and a great EX.

You can read the summary of the first day of The Strategic Employee Experience Virtual Summit here!

The HexaSpirit team is hard at work developing a range of upcoming virtual events, including The Culture and Organisation Virtual Summit on July 29-30. Read more about our new virtual event portfolio here!

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