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Employee experience — Moments that make the difference

One subject that has been talked about a lot in human resources literature for years is that of employee experience. In the agency Parlons RH’s 2019 barometer, published a few weeks ago, 60% of HR professionals questioned consider employee experience as strategic in the long term and potentially able to improve the effectiveness of their companies in the short term. 91% of them reckon that it’s part of their responsibility.

Everyone talks about it, but few people do anything

And yet… Optimising employee experience, i.e. (perception of) interactions with and within the company, often remains at a theoretical level, a pious wish. According to the same Parlons RH 2019 barometer, only 25% of companies questioned had actually initiated a concrete policy, a figure that has shown little growth from year to year.

Strategic, useful, part of the realm of HR… but not implemented. A new paradox!

In point of fact, no one really knows where to begin on this subject. It encompasses a multitude of theoretical concepts (e.g. symmetry of attention, points of contact, etc.) and dimensions – between those relating more to employees’ career paths (recruitment, integration, mobility, departure) and those connected with their day-to-day lives (physical and digital workstation, tools for chatting and collaboration, etc.).

It is such a vast subject that it is difficult to imagine taking on the issue of employee experience without convictions, and especially without method. But that is exactly what is often missing. The following ideas result from our experience and our thinking.

Identify and optimise key moments as a priority

As for any “people” , policy, and beyond setting up a few surface indicators, the first step is listening – really listening – to employees,

so that the way in which they perceive this experience and each of the interactions that constitute it can be analysed without prejudice or preconceptions. Particularly to rank the issues and then identify key moments during their careers, whether they have been an irritant or, on the contrary, they have delighted employees and left a lasting positive impression in their minds.

It is important to focus on these key moments, in terms of both substance and, perhaps more pragmatically, form. Because, as we saw in the introduction, employee experience is also a question of perception. By tackling the form – i.e. the moments themselves, ritualising them and instilling them, according to expectations expressed by employees but also according to the corporate culture, with more relationships, listening, reassurance, valuing; in short, positive emotion – can prove to be an important part of the solution.

As far as employee experience is concerned, the so-called symmetry of attention is often called for: listening; ranking; dealing with irritants; creating privileged moments of relationship. The principle is similar to how many of them handle the question of customer experience. There are numerous examples, such as the way handing over the keys is treated as a ritualised special moment in many car dealerships. Except for one detail.

Who better than employees themselves…

But (re)designing each of the key moments identified, effectively removing irritants and ensuring that the career path is punctuated by positive rituals that are consistent with corporate culture is not done in secret in the HR Director’s office. It is vital for employees to be involved. They are in the best position to find solutions to irritants and create moments of enchantment.

The next stage will then be to roll out these reformatted key moments, provide support for those tasked with bringing them to life, and then regularly evaluate how employees’ perception is changing, and the reasons for any change. It will be an opportunity to identify other moments that can be optimised, if not ritualised. Why not? But that’s another story: one thing at a time.