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Winning employees’ hearts & minds: What the last 3 years taught us about employee experience

November 21, 20223 min read

*This article was first published in Frederic Joye’s LinkedIn newsletter, Culture-Focused Outsourcing*

As I’m writing this, I am in a total mood to reminisce. Could it be because of the lull of a familiar holiday tune that quietly signals the start of the holiday season?

Maybe, but it could also be because it cues the imminent end of another year. Which further makes me realize that it’s been nearly three years.

That’s how long we’ve been riding this wave.

Of readjusting what work means to all of us. 

Of fine-tuning processes and rediscovering what employee experience (EX) genuinely means.

And oh boy, has it clicked. And have we learned a lot.

Providing employees with a positive work experience isn’t just about free lunches, unlimited coffee stations, or a gaming room. 

It doesn’t necessarily take extraordinary company perks to make it happen. It doesn’t even necessarily entail spending money at all.

Sure, those kinds of perks were an integral part of our office lives at Arcanys but it can only go so far. The past three years and the switch to a home-based office setup have taught us that EX is much, much deeper than that.

We’ve come to learn that EX is how employees feel about how they are treated by their leaders, teammates, and by the rest of the company

EX encompasses every step of the employee’s journey, from recruitment to their day-to-day all the way down to the exit interview, and plays a significant role in employees deciding if they want to stick with the company in the long run.

It is established in the way that leaders:

  • Respond to needs and concerns;
  • Support talent by ensuring enough availability of projects and training programs that contribute to skill development; and 
  • Treat their team members to ensure that they thrive in the workplace. 

EX is about humility in leadership and in asking, “What do employees need to make their time at work enjoyable and as pleasant as possible for them? What can we change and how soon can we implement these changes?”

All in all, it’s redirecting the focus on people. 

Because I can never say it enough: they are the most important part of your organization.

So what ultimately makes people enjoy their overall work experience?  

We’ve found that these four key elements need to be felt by every employee:

  • Trust and respect. Empower employees with the authority to speak from their expertise to become meaningful contributors to their project’s success. This fosters autonomy and the confidence to give the best service possible.
  • Fairness. People need to see that they are treated the same regardless of department or how they are classified in the organization. Benefits and allowances, and perks need to be available and applicable to all to demonstrate inclusion and belongingness.
  • Being listened to. Listening is not just about acknowledging concerns or suggestions. It is in the constant searching and implementation of the best ideas that will work for everyone in the company. Employees want to know that their ideas are not just listened to but considered when decisions are made.
  • Engaged leaders. Positive EX almost always starts with leaders that support and inspire employees to collaborate and find the purpose in their roles. Successful leadership promotes and sustains a positive EX and prioritizes talent development.

All things considered, it is important to note that EX is heavily focused on the individual and less on the company itself.

EX does not promote activities or policies with the goal of improving productivity or reducing costs. 

It destroys the assumption that employees will try to fit your mold to become “good enough” to work with you. EX forces leaders to look internally and ask “is the organization attractive or good enough for great talent to come in and stay?”   

EX is centered around personal benefits and getting granular about everyone’s goals (like health or weight management, improving financial savviness, public speaking, etc.) and how the company can provide these opportunities to make them happen.

How do you define employee experience? Did the last couple of years in any way modify the way you approach EX?

Frederic Joye

Frederic Joye

Arcanys co-founder

Frederic Joye

Arcanys co-founder

Fred had been working on IT and operational projects in the finance and software industry in Switzerland for 10 years before co-founding Arcanys in 2010. With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, Fred is now leading the worldwide sales and marketing efforts of Arcanys.

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