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Creating an Amazing Employee Experience

Insights from Shane Smith, CHRO for Tailored Brands, Inc.

In his 45-minute insideMOBILITY-Atlanta keynote presentation, “Creating an Amazing Employee Experience,” Shane Smith shared his perspectives on why creating an amazing employee experience is so important for an organization, and how to move forward to attain that ideal.

Shane, the current CHRO for Tailored Brands, Inc. and former HR executive at The Coca Cola Company, is a Global Human Resources executive and consultant with 28 years of experience across the beverage, manufacturing and software industries. He’s known as a progressive leader who creates inspired, winning organizations that accelerate business performance in start-up, mid-size and large global organizations (please read more about Shane in his LinkedIn Bio).

From the outset, Shane emphasized that “employee experience” should not be seen as “squishy” or a purely altruistic endeavor on the part of the organization. The reason organizations should strive for happy, internally motivated employees is that:

What happens inside your company with your employees is felt outside your company by customers and potential customers. They’ll perceive and experience you in a fundamentally positive way.

He added that creating an amazing employee experience is imperative for organizations today, and it needs to be a conscious, evolving organizational focus. Surrounding this effort, Shane shared four of his fundamental principles:


1. People are an organization’s competitive advantage

Investing in employees can be a game-changer for an organization’s performance and success. The audience clearly agreed. In a Word Cloud poll asking to identify elements that promote an organization’s competitive advantage, 23% indicated “people” or “employees” as their top choice. The related concept of “culture” was the next most popular answer chosen by 17% of the audience.

Shane pointed out that throughout the decades, the typical organization’s engagement with their people has evolved: first, taking a utilitarian approach (“What do they need in order to work?”); followed by advancements related to productivity; then progressing to the more emotional aspects of employee engagement; and finally, the focus on addressing the employee experience.

To a large extent, this progression also tracks the evolution of the external customer experience. Shane noted how the tactics and focus of customer experience (CX) are related to strategies for employee experience (EX), even if the immediate goals are not (CX drives purchase decisions; EX drives performance).


2. Improvements in employee experience aren’t going to happen on their own

Creating an amazing employee experience requires a strategy and a systematic approach. Shane provided the framework for accomplishing this—one that addresses the three distinct environments through which employees interact with their workplace.

Of these three environments, Shane suggested that individuals can have the biggest impact and drive the highest level of experience improvement within the Operational Environment.


3. Get clear on your (internal) customers and the “Moments that Matter” to them

Many of the opportunities to create an amazing employee experience lie in the Operational Environment (the right-hand side of the graphic above). Shane referred to the incremental improvement employers can make in these areas as “Moments that Matter.” In a poll of the participants on key Moments that Matter, attendees suggested that “Onboarding” and “Recognition” are two prime considerations that matter to them. Shane stated that companies should avoid trying to tackle too many Moments that Matter at the same time – limit it three.

He also presented a five-step roadmap for bringing these Moments to fruition.


4. Continually listen to your internal customers. Measure the results and adapt your approach and priorities as necessary.

Listening and measuring are critical to delivering and maintaining an amazing employee experience. Shane shared a methodology for accomplishing this based on “KEIs” – Key Experience Indicators – that provide insights on the impact of Moments that Matter and related programs.

Given the linkage between employee experience and organizational performance, it’s fair to say that focusing on KEIs will inevitably drive an organization’s more traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as well. That fact was very evident in the KPI data Shane shared from companies that embraced this employee experience management focus.


Evaluate your Programs to Build Employee Value

The lesson for employers is to take on initiatives that improve the employee experience, and then evaluate the results of those programs efforts by asking these key questions:

  1. How easy was it to implement?
  2. Did it create the value or impact we expected?
  3. Did it lead to the employees, themselves, feel valued?

By evaluating a few key changes that you want to make in your program, and then evaluating them thoughtfully, you take the necessary steps to achieving your long-term employee experience goals.


Parting Thoughts

When a Mobility professional hears the phrase, “employee experience,” they naturally think of it in terms of an exceptional employee relocation experience. Shane’s keynote presentation was enlightening for us all to consider this concept in a larger, organization-wide context. After all, a focus on amazing employee experience must be evident in and practiced by everyone throughout an organization.

This imperative is even more applicable in our profession. By applying Shane’s suggested methodologies and asking yourself the three questions above in the context of your Mobility program, your entire organization can build the foundational elements of a sophisticated, impactful and amazing employee experience.