The Employee Experience (EX): 5 Surprising Things That Matter Most

by Elizabeth Dukes on March 12, 2018

Don’t get me wrong: pizza lunches and field days are fantastic. (Hello, nostalgia!)

And it’s safe to assume most of your employees agree.

But perks like these, as fun as they are, provide only short-lived happiness. Once the grease has settled and the medals have been awarded, there’s not much of a lasting impact on the employee experience (EX).

When you ask employees themselves, however, there are a few things that impact the employee experience in a more substantial way. Here are five that might surprise you.

Employee Experience (EX) Fundamentals

A Commitment to Innovation

Working adults, especially Millennials, believe a commitment to innovation is essential for a positive employee experience (EX). And considering the rate at which technology is evolving, there really isn’t much of an excuse for a company not to be dedicated to modernization.

Unfortunately, a Harvard Business Review study found that only about half of U.S. employees actually feel encouraged to find ways to improve processes. Additionally, 82 percent of participants in a Capital One survey feel a company can’t support innovation without an innovative workplace environment and 63 percent said their current workplace design doesn’t support innovation at all.

No wonder less than a third of employees in the U.S. feel engaged in their jobs.

2. An Emphasis on Collaboration Over Competition

While some of your employees prefer to keep their professional lives separate from their personal lives, this isn’t the case for your entire workforce.

Gallup founder Donald Clifton is a strong proponent of workplace friendships. According to Gallup’s research, having a best friend at work leads to higher levels of focus, greater passion for one’s job and a stronger loyalty to the organization. Gallup also found that employees with a best friend at work are 21 percent more likely to say they have the opportunity to maximize their skills at work every day.

Supporting a positive employee experience means encouraging workplace friendships. These kinds of connections inspire employees to be more creative and feel more excited about their role.

3. Processes and Procedures Based on Logic

How many times have you heard (or had to say), “This is the way we’ve always done it”? Even if the process is inherently flawed and impedes productivity, making changes can be a struggle.

Forcing employees to follow protocols they know don’t make sense and be part of workflows in dire need of improvement is a quick way to kill their motivation. Even if revising a process is time-consuming, it will be better in the long-run since employees won’t be pulling their hair out after entering the same information into three different records located in three different databases.

4. Transparency Throughout the Organization

Obviously there will be news and updates that are on a need-to-know basis. But not every decision should be made or discussed behind closed doors.

If you want your employees to have an emotional investment in the company, make sure they’re kept abreast of any upcoming changes — be they big or small. If it’s a minor update, post an update in the company intranet or send a company wide email (be sure to remind everyone not to reply-all). If it’s a big update, schedule a meeting with the entire company and open the floor up to questions.

It’s difficult for an employee to feel trust in her employer‘s judgment if the employer doesn’t demonstrate trust in hers.

5. An Employee-Centric Workplace

You know what every one of your employees wants more than free snacks? A workplace that isn’t so cold they can’t type because their hands are numb or one that is so warm they’re pushing the boundaries of how little clothing they can wear without being inappropriate. And unlimited PTO is great, but you can expect to see employees taking an awful lot of time off if the workplace is overcrowded or still has furniture and paint from the ‘70s.

The workplace is a major contributor to the employee experience (EX). And the kind of workplace you provide shows your workforce how much (or how little) you care about their comfort. You shouldn’t forgo efficiency entirely, but it definitely shouldn’t be the driving force in design decisions.

It’s a little easier to show your employees you care about their short-term satisfaction. But you’ll see much better engagement if you demonstrate a commitment to their long-term happiness as well.

Discover how to elevate the employee experience with the Hummingbird EX App. 


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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