Employee Experience work focuses on the physical, social and operational environments that collectively impact employees and their relationship with their workplace. The heart of the work is bringing our company culture to life through designing and nurturing these spaces.
PayScale is the only business I’ve worked at that has a dedicated Employee Experience team. I was the first member of the EX team and today, I lead that team. Our leadership believes that by leveraging Employee Experience, we can make a huge impact on retention, engagement, productivity and brand.
Because EX is a relatively new focus for many businesses, I often get asked questions like, “What does your team work on?” and, “What does it take to create a successful EX program?” In this piece, I’ll answer these questions and share my experience.
Charter for PayScale’s Employee Experience Team
My team oversees all efforts related to our workplace environments, and our goal is to ensure a welcoming, positive, clean, inspiring place where people can thrive at work. On a day to day basis we seek out ways to spark connection, free-up roadblocks in productivity, and surprise and delight employees. My team is agile, empowered, and an anchor for all employees. We’re living our core values and inspiring everyone around us.
We work cross-functionally to ensure a seamless experience for employees, partnering with leaders across the organization, Human Resources, Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition, IT and Executive Administration partners.
Components of a Successful Employee Experience Program
When you work with people, there is never a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and there shouldn’t be. Early in developing EX strategy and programs at PayScale I learned that asking questions with the intent to understand the reality of #LifeAtPayScale for every employee is key.
This work is about amplifying what’s working within your organization and fixing what’s broken. It’s amazing how powerful asking honest questions can be. I’ve found low-hanging fruit that my team can impact right away, with very little budget or effort, simply by proactively asking for feedback (not just waiting for it) and engaging it with honesty and curiosity.
One example is our coffee program. We offer different coffee roasters on each floor of our building, to encourage employees to visit other floors and get active. Instead of picking roasters and blends that we liked, we hosted a coffee-tasting event, asking for feedback on the various options. Through this activity we learned that we had a much larger tea-drinking population than we first assumed! So we’ve tweaked our offerings to provide greater quality and variety to those PayScalers. It was simple to proactively ask for ideas/feedback and employees have been very grateful for the opportunity to influence the coffee/tea offerings that start each day at work.
Our leadership understands that we can leverage EX to impact everything. From retention, employee satisfaction, productivity, to our ability to attract talent, my team is empowered to be creative and fluid in the ways we do our work.
In my experience, getting curious about the unique needs and styles of each team has unearthed the most potential. People on the phone with customers need different things than our engineers or HR managers. Everyone likes to connect, celebrate and work in different ways. Instead of forcing fun or function on anyone, we prefer to highlight our unique subcultures and provide the work environments and events that really fit for those teams.
The programs, processes and resources we create are only part of the employee journey. As an EX team, aligning with HR, IT, Talent and L&D teams is key. Manager-employee relationships also have incredible impact on experience as well; that’s something to keep in mind. We try to think about how we can impact that indirectly by supporting our company’s managers in new ways. Whether it’s coffee-chats, or getting manager feedback prior to rolling out a new event, my team is in constant communication with our managers to ensure our efforts are landing and representative.
The heart of our work is bringing PayScale’s culture to life through nurturing the physical, social and operational environments that make up the overall experience. If we didn’t start at the “Why” of our specific company and culture, new processes and programs couldn’t effectively meet that goal!
Five Steps for Setting Up an Employee Experience Program
1. Calculate the Return on Investment
How will focusing on removing roadblocks and opening up communication channels positively impact talent, retention, development, engagement and productivity in your company?
2. Align with Leadership
Your EX strategy will just be some nice words on paper if you don’t align with the teams and leaders in your organization that relate with your employees. Talk with leadership in every corner of the company about the benefits of focusing resources on EX, and how exactly you envision partnering with them on it.
3. Ask for Feedback on Existing / Potential Programs
Don’t create a program unless it makes sense for your employee population. Get the data you need to showcase what needs to be amplified or fixed. Surveys, AMAs, executive panels, brown bag lunches, ambassador programs, taking folks out to coffee are some ways to get ideas and feedback.
4. Listen with an Open Mind
What are employees saying or not saying about their physical, social or operational environment? Are there things we used to do that don’t serve us anymore? Are there great new ideas we’re shying away from because that would require us to re-think an old strategy?
Put an idea into motion with a commitment to review it in 30, 60, 90 days. Get more feedback at those points. Have flexibility in your strategy to pivot if needed. People and the way they interact with work are changing every day!
Tell us what you think
How does your organization focus on the employee experience? What programs or tactics have you implemented to foster connections, improve productivity and employee engagement? Tell us your ideas and stories in the comments below, or share them with us on Twitter.