As the workplace experience (WX) becomes a top priority for business leaders, the role of the workplace experience manager is gaining more recognition.
Demand for the position is growing, with nearly 4,500 open positions advertised globally on LinkedIn. Here’s a look at what the position entails and how to find the best (or land a job in this lucrative field.)
What Is A Workplace Experience (WX) Manager?
In many ways, a workplace experience manager is a hybrid role between an HR manager and a facilities manager. They are responsible for the overall employee experience and the elements that influence it, including the physical workplace, technology and policies that shape the company culture. But it’s not just about employee satisfaction. Workplace experience managers are expected to foster collaboration and boost productivity with the ultimate goal of improving customer relationships.
Consider this job description from BGIS, a property management company in Toronto:
“We want people to dream big, be bold, and curate experiences in the workplace that will make employees feel valuable, part of the community and a champion for their customers. WX will transform the way employees work to drive collaboration, innovation, productivity, and deliver a great customer experience.
These experiences will drive people-focused practices that will empower the workforce, break down silos and work towards a common focus – Customers.”
At many organizations, the workplace experience manager is also the person responsible for scaling company culture. As more organizations expand globally, they don’t necessarily need a different office manager at every location. What they really need is someone who ensures every employee has a consistent experience no matter where they go. They often plan company events, oversee workplace perks and manage internal communications.
In a job description for a workplace manager at ticket platform SeatGeek, the position involves overseeing employee programs while developing “a scalable vision for the future.”
Qualities Of An Exceptional Workplace Experience Manager
A workplace experience manager can come from a variety of backgrounds, and their individual skill set may vary. The salary may also vary depending on experience and the size of the organization. That said, the best workplace experience managers will almost certainly have these 13 qualities:
- Warm and Welcoming
- Ability to Solve Problems Without A Manual
- Detail Oriented
- A Skilled Planner and Project Manager
- Facility Management Experience
- Data Driven
- Skilled Communicator
1. Warm and Welcoming
Creating a warm and inclusive environment is the primary role of the workplace experience manager. They have a knack for networking and making others feel comfortable.
2. Ability to Solve Problems Without A Manual
If the printer breaks down, you can consult a manual or call a technician. But there’s no precedent for many of the issues a workplace experience manager encounters.
It’s often the little things—like fresh-brewed coffee and a comfortable seat—that add up to a great workplace experience. For a workplace experience manager, no request is too small to warrant their attention.
4. A Skilled Planner and Project Manager
While workplace experience managers will have to put out little “fires” every day, they also need to be able to juggle long-term projects, such as planning the annual company retreat or developing a competitive benefits package.
5. Facility Management Experience
A workplace experience manager may not know how to install ductwork, but they should be able to recognize when poor ventilation is impacting employee productivity. As one job description puts it, this person should “know enough about facilities and IT to be dangerous”—or at least be willing to learn those skills.
While they don’t necessarily need an IT background, but they need to have a good understanding of workplace technology and how it impacts the employee experience. They need to be able to work with IT to choose the best solutions and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled workplaces to stay more connected and collect more information than ever before. When used intelligently, this data offers a continuous feedback loop that can help workplace leaders optimize the environment for employees. A workplace experience manager should be able to analyze data from space management software, service requests, sensors and more and identify trends.
As someone tasked with encouraging collaboration, a workplace experience leader needs to be able to break down silos across departments. They should be able to take charge and manage cross-functional teams to accomplish goals.
9. Skilled Communicator
Managing internal communications is an important part of the job description. A great workplace experience manager should have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Like any workplace leader, a workplace experience manager needs to be able to cope with difficult situations while remaining calm. They need to be able to address immediate needs while keeping an eye to the future.
Flexibility is essential in a modern, agile work environment. And it’s an essential quality of a workplace experience manager, too. An agile leader is one who can quickly adapt to the ever-changing needs of the workplace.
The best workplace leaders constantly ask questions and never stop learning. They subscribe to blogs and podcasts, and they attend industry conferences, sharing important takeaways with the rest of the organization.
Being curious is a good start, but to be truly effective as a workplace experience manager, that curiosity needs to lead to action. The right person for this role will dare to try new technology, new ways of working and new processes.
As the workplace experience becomes a greater priority, this position will be even more valuable. They serve an important role in fostering positive experiences that drive employee engagement and improve customer service.
If your organization is growing and attracting and retaining talent is a top priority, it might be time to consider hiring a workplace experience manager or promoting someone to this position. And if you are a forward-thinking office manager or facilities leader yourself, it might be time to think about expanding your role!