13 Qualities Of A Top-Tier Workplace Experience Manager
As the workplace experience (WX) becomes an even bigger priority for business leaders, the role of the workplace experience manager is gaining more recognition.
Demand for the position has grown more than 300% in just the past three years — from 4,500 open positions listed worldwide in 2019 to more than 19,000 listings in August of 2022.
Here is a look at some workplace experience manager best practices, what the role entails, tips on finding the best position, and how to land a job in this lucrative field.
What is a workplace experience (WX) manager?
Workplace experience managers are responsible for improving the overall employee experience and the various elements that influence it.
In many ways, workplace experience managers evolved as a hybrid position between human resources (HR) and facilities management (FM). They are expected to make employee experiences better by evaluating individual engagement in terms of the wider working environment.
But it’s not just about employee satisfaction.
Over the years, a growing body of research has attempted to decipher some of the complexities of the workplace experience — including the impact of the physical workplace, technology, and policies that shape a company’s culture.
Workplace experience managers care about the big picture, too.
Since they are looking at engagement in a variety of contexts — throughout numerous interactions and within different environments — they obtain a better understanding of the dynamics at play within the workplace.
By paying close attention to the overall success of the organization, they’re able to tailor strategies that foster collaboration and boosts 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 will vary. Depending on experience and the size of the organization, the total salary and compensation will also vary.
That said, the best workplace experience managers have these 13 qualities in common:
- Warm and welcoming disposition
- An ability to solve problems without a manual
- Skilled at planning and project management
- Facility management experience
- Data driven
- Skilled at communication
1. Warm and welcoming disposition
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. An 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.
Being able to seek answers and solutions for unexpected issues is one of the most powerful skills workplace experience managers have.
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.
That level of care and attentiveness serves leaders well in this role.
4. Skilled at planning and project management
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.
Being able to balance all the demands of the job tends to differentiate the leaders in this role from the rest of the pack.
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 workplace experience managers don’t necessarily need to come from an IT background, they do need to have a good understanding of workplace technology and how it impacts the employee experience.
Workplace experience managers need to be able to work with IT teams to choose the best solutions for the organization and have the ability to help 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 allows business leaders to optimize the environment and better support their employees.
A workplace experience manager should be able to analyze data from space management software, service request systems, utilization sensors, and more.
Then, they should be able to identify patterns and see trends.
As someone tasked with encouraging collaboration in the office, a workplace experience manager should be skilled at breaking down silos across departments. After all, this is a cross-functional role.
Workplace experience managers should be able to take charge and manage cross-functional teams to accomplish the overall goals of the business.
9. Skilled at communication
Managing internal communications is one of the most critical parts of the job description. A great workplace experience manager should have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
It’s not always what you say. Sometimes, it’s how you say it.
Like any good workplace leader, a workplace experience manager must be able to remain calm while coping with with difficult situations. They need to be able to understand and address immediate needs while keeping their eyes trained towards 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.
By continuing to learn and seek out the freshest solutions and latest news, workplace experience managers can keep up with the rapid pace of change that occurs in modern organizations.
Being curious is a good start, but to be truly effective as a workplace experience manager, that curiosity needs to culminate to taking action.
The right person for this role will be daring. They’ll dare to try new technology, new ways of working, and new processes.
As the workplace experience becomes a greater priority to businesses around the world, this position keeps growing in value. Workplace experience managers serve an important role in fostering positive experiences, driving employee engagement, and improving customer service.
If your organization is growing, 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.