- By James Lundquist
Focus on employee experience is at an all-time high as organizations look to gain a competitive advantage by being labeled as a great place to work. Yet organizations and leaders still struggle to know exactly what this means or how to do it. In fact, we can’t even decide on whether or not we should focus on employee experience, engagement, or satisfaction. As with anything, the more complex and ambiguous it seems, the less likely we are to take action.
Driving a positive employee experience is something we all can do for ourselves and with others by focusing on these 4 contributing factors: Personal Commitment, Connection with Others, Quality of Leadership, and the Work Environment.
First and foremost, the experience we have at work starts with each of us. Understanding what we find motivating about our job and how our work has an impact on the organization is critical to feeling personally vested. Beyond that, the attitude we bring in to work each day has an impact on the experience we have. All too often we expect the organization to provide the motivation we need; however, this is more in our own control than we may believe.
Connection with Others
Developing strong interpersonal connections within the workplace allows us to feel as though we’re part of something bigger. Knowing that we have people we enjoy spending time with means that we’re more likely to look forward to coming to work. Additionally, having strong peer relationships increases learning opportunities and helps us build a network that allows us to perform better in our roles, ultimately leading to a better experience.
Quality of Leadership
So much of our experience at work comes directly from the relationship we have with our leaders. Leaders provide direction and support on the work we do, but that’s not even half the job when it comes to ensuring our experience is a positive one. Leaders that truly engage their employees do so by building a strong connection with them. Our experience is enhanced when we feel as though our leaders understand who we are, what we’re good at, and what we want to get out of our work. Leaders that just focus on the tactical, day to day work create a transactional relationship that may not necessarily diminish the experience we have, but certainly won’t help it.
Traditionally this is the avenue that most organizations pursue to engage their employees and to be sure, these are great ways to create a more positive experience. For some organizations, this has to do with creating a more flexible workplace. For other organizations, it’s ensuring that the environment is safe and that controls are in place to keep people out of harm’s way. Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment that gives each individual the opportunity to do their best work.
A true positive employee experience will come when all of these factors are addressed. It’s also worth noting that they aren’t necessarily compensatory either. Trying to make up for poor leadership with a few extra benefits may provide some immediate positivity, however, it’s unlikely to be sustainable and will eventually result in your best performers seeking a new job. When employees are engaged in all of these factors, the workforce will be more motivated and committed to helping you achieve organizational objectives.