by Jeff Berk | June 25, 2019

Employee Experience (EX) is a hot-button issue for companies looking to retain top talent. As important as departments like HR and finance are, somewhat surprisingly, they're not necessarily the employee-experience change drivers in an organization. Therefore, it's important for all business leaders to pay attention to EX in an effort to retain their top performers.

What Is Employee Experience?

EX is the redesign of an organization to put the employee at its center. Putting employees and their needs at the top of a company's priority list not only increases overall employee happiness, it helps companies outperform their peers. EX-focused organizations can generate four times the profit and two times the revenue of comparable companies, according to a study published in Harvard Business Review. They also receive more coverage from outlets like Fast Company and Forbes, who recognize them as leading employers. 

That begs the question:

How Do You Create an Employee-Centric Workplace?

Be human-centric

Think of your team as individuals and realize a one-size-fits-all approach will not cut it.

Listen

Focus on what motivates your team. For some employees, it might be money. For others, it could be a flexible schedule so they can get home in time to make dinner for their kids. Ask questions, listen to answers and make things happen to address what drives your team.

Speak up

For leaders who manage employees, it's not enough to leave something so important up to HR departments alone. Many top performers are aware of their value and have an expectation for recognition beyond their salary. 

As a leader, you need to speak up on behalf of yourself and employees. If you see innovative approaches, champion them for your company. 

What Are Some Effective Ways to Recognize Workers?

Travel

For those on your team who travel often for work, this can be a huge area of improvement for employee experience. In fact, 36 percent of hiring managers report candidates asking to see the company's travel policy during the interview process. Most Millennials and Gen-Zers want flexibility and value experiences. Unsurprisingly, strict corporate policies don't work for them. My company, Tripkicks, helps reward business travelers for making choices that save money. Seek out innovative companies like ours and share with top decision makers.

Employee well-being programs

There are a number of programs out there, such as Virgin Pulse and Welltok, which can encourage teams to make healthy choices and improve their life in and out of the office. If your organization doesn't offer this type of program, it might be a good place to start looking at each person on your team as a whole person.  

Recognition

Recognizing employees for exemplary behavior isn't anything new, but there's proof it can go a long way. From a bonus day off to a quick thank you or a public (or private) shoutout, it doesn't have to be earth-shattering, but it does need to be heartfelt, should be a regular occurrence and, most importantly, timely. Timeliness demonstrates to the employee that they are top-of-mind and helps to connect the recognition with a specific action. 

There is a common saying that you cannot change a company's culture by trying to directly change culture. Change starts by defining and reinforcing behaviors. Change also starts with individuals, and as managers, who better than we to lead the charge?
 
Jeff Berk is the CEO of Tripkicks, an innovative addition to company travel programs that enables employees to be rewarded for going above and beyond. Business travelers who save the company money by making less expensive travel decisions such as staying at an Airbnb or taking a cheaper flight can now share in the cost savings. Before Tripkicks, Berk was a managing director at Acquis Consulting Group, where he inspired high-performing and diverse project teams to help them solve complex business problems.