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Where do you start with Employee Experience?

There is no right or wrong place to start. The most important thing is to start at all. 

Ask: The easiest way is to ask the employees. What does your day look like? What gets in the way of you being productive and accomplishing your goals? What are the small irritants that, if solved, would remove the barriers between you and doing your best work? What would an ideal workplace look like for you? And really listen, without judgment. You might hear big “pie in the sky” results but more likely you will have a whole collection of small improvements that cost nothing or require little effort to make a change. Once you have a list, prioritize it. Better yet, involve employees in prioritizing it. 

Act: Start small and go from there. Address the main irritants first. Use design thinking principles to take action. Create a better understanding of the individual (persona) whose problems you are addressing and really get to the bottom of what they are thinking, doing, feeling, and saying. There are plenty of tools and resources you can use to organize this work. What motivates them? What are they coming to work for? You can repurpose existing constructs of assessing the elements of value from the consumer world. For example: Do your employees want a simple workplace environment where things just work? Are they looking for a community to belong to? Do they want to grow and build skills? Understanding the motivating factors will greatly help your solutioning process. 

Understand their journey by observing a “day in the life” from the moment they wake up till they check out for the day (if they do). What does that experience look like? How are they interacting with your organization (refer to the components of the framework above)? Whom are they interacting with? What are they doing and what stops them from doing it better, easier, and more impactfully? How can you use technology, communication, simplification, the human touch, and other tools you have at your disposal to make a meaningful change in that journey? 

Assemble teams: The best way to ensure that things get done is to assign accountability for the results. 

Some organizations create task forces with diverse representation and use them as a way to not only solve specific problems but also develop the up-and-coming leaders with hands-on experience (versus classroom-based leadership development programs).

Some create dedicated organizations where the leader has the responsibility to integrate across all the participating silos.

At some organizations, the employees form agile groups to solve specific problems.

Whatever organizational construct you choose, the key is to start. Somewhere. Anywhere. Give employees permission to make changes and watch the momentum pick up. 

Advertise: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Throughout the entire process. There is no better way to show due respect to the process than to be very transparent and open about the changes you are making, why you are making them, and how you are making them. People need to know that you care and listen. That alone will create a positive impact on the experience. 

Assess: Measure your progress. It is important to think early in the process about the way you will define success and how you will track progress. These success measurements will help align stakeholders, open doors for additional funding or widened scope of transformation, and more importantly, show you where to focus next. 

There are plenty of analytical tools and capabilities in modern organizations to enable you to aggregate data across the full lifecycle and understand the relationship between improvements to the employee experience and organizational outcomes (be it financial results, brand image, client satisfaction, or anything else that matters to your business).

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