Employee experience is by definition experiential: it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Without someone to process it, it’s not a thing. If a tree falls in a forest, etc etc. More than that, we don’t all experience the same thing the same way. Our personalities, preferences and past experiences all play a role in how we interpret and react to the situations we find ourselves in.
So when we talk about employee experience, it’s a bit of a misnomer. There’s no one employee experience; there’s exactly as many experiences as there are employees, and we need to start considering experience on the individual level. This is the disaggregation of employee experience.
One size doesn’t fit all when designing employee experiences
Everything you do is going to be filtered differently by everyone who works for you. Install a foosball table? Company softball teams? Friday drinks in the office? Free lunch?
Nothing will work equally well for every employee.
Because, and here’s the thing.
What if I hate the noise from the foosball table? What if I have a bung knee and can’t play sports? Or just don’t want to? What if I don’t drink? Or I have meetings on Friday afternoon? Or I leave early to beat the traffic? What if I go to the gym at lunchtime? Or just need some downtime from the office and typically eat somewhere quiet?
Forcing these things on me may actually make my work experience worse, not better (even if Tim in accounting loves them all). So it’s probably best to focus all that time and money on something that’s going to make a positive difference for the majority instead of titillating the few.
Here’s a few ideas.
Make work meaningful
Everyone wants to work on something that matters, that gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Not everyone’s looking for awards and recognition, but nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting their time.
Treat everyone fairly
Be excellent to each other
Build a supportive company culture, where everyone plays a part in developing a positive working environment. Hire right, encourage conversations on project and performance, and celebrate successes.
None of which requires anyone to take part in a physical team building exercise or awkward cocktail evening, thank goodness.