Category All The Journey from Employee EX to Human EX: Addressing the Need to Feel Connected, Valued, Accepted, and Engaged With organizations looking to upgrade their workplace EX, the focus is on elevating the human EX. Read this blog to know more. May 9, 2023 By Mary Madhavi Reddy For a long time, most organizations treated employees one-dimensionally as “resources” that traded their skills for compensation. Eventually, organizations realized the effect of experience (EX) on employees productivity and overall well-being. Thus employee experience (EX) came into being to manage employees’ perceptions and feelings about working for their organization. As the modern workforce evolves, taking in more recent generations such as Gen Z, a restructuring of values is again emerging. Employees these days value human qualities such as empathy, a sense of belonging, equality, fairness, purpose and reciprocity as much as other aspects of their work. Organizations are leaping forward from employee EX to human EX. So what is Human Experience, and why does it matter? What is employee experience? Why is it important? Before delving into the human experience, it’s essential to understand what employee experience means. Employee EX deals mainly with employees’ connection with their colleagues, the teams they work with, the technology they use, the leaders and the work environment. Its focus was the success, joy and fulfillment that work brought them. In essence, employee experience is about making work better for people and making people better at their work. While factors such as benefits and perks make employees feel great, what has a better influence on employee EX are job design, job fit, work life balance, and organizational support. Gaps in employee experience While the effect of employee experience has long been known to boost employee engagement, plenty of gaps in employee EX need to be addressed. As evident from the Great Resignation, which followed the 2020 pandemic, employees quit in droves as they felt disenfranchised. Some of the most frequent gaps in employee EX show up as: Lack of connection Lack of connection is when employees feel separated from their peers, tasks or their roles. It increases disengagement, anxiety, loneliness, feelings of depression and makes it difficult for employees to find purpose and meaning in their work. The remote work setting has also exacerbated employee connection. Inadequate recognition It is a normal human tendency to want to get recognized for good work, and companies that do poorly in employee recognition, risk demotivating their employees. Often, the incentive for employees going the extra mile is recognition and not just payment. Limited growth opportunities In a world that is being rapidly transformed by technology, staying updated is critical to staying relevant. Most modern-day employees consider growth opportunities crucial before applying for a job. Inadequate work-life balance Working extra hours, stressful roles, and challenging targets can make maintaining a work-life balance difficult. Little things like not receiving work emails after work hours and focusing on meaningful aspects of life can significantly boost employee engagement. How does the human experience help in shaping minds & careers? Humans are highly emotional beings, and our choices, preferences, likes and dislikes are driven by a complex set of emotions that also makes us imperfect and inconsistent. Not appealing to the human side of the employee at the workplace can lead to disengagement. When feeling disengaged, employee productivity can hit rock bottom. On the other hand, driven, motivated and engaged employees can reach the pinnacle of their roles and push the organization to new heights. Effective human experience management can help employees consistently contribute to the company in meaningful and impactful ways. Meeting employees’ basic need for social connection, interaction, engagement, and acceptance elicits a positive outlook on their work and the organization. Such people become more intrinsically motivated to work and motivate others to perform their best. The positive influence of such an environment stays with them for a long time, influences their choices at work and defines their career. Benefits of deploying a Human EX at the workplace Deploying the human EX reflects both the productivity of the firm and the quality of work and life of employees. Here are three ways in which organizations can see the benefits: 1. Grow valued emotions amongst the workforce Regarding positive emotions at work, the top of the list includes joy, gratitude, pride, hope, inspiration, passion and awe. These positive emotions can only occur in motivated and enthusiastic employees in a supportive environment that propels them to achieve their best. Human EX brings out the best in people and increases positive emotions in all employees. 2. Enrich bond beyond office hours Employee bonding has several benefits, such as improving team performance, boosting employee morale and building creativity. Activities such as team building games, lunches, tournaments and events create organic employee bonds. Extending the human EX beyond the workplace fosters positive employee relationships beyond office hours. 3. Better understanding of customers Happy employees also treat their customers exceptionally well, and they are more receptive to listening to their pain points and empathizing with them to improve the customer experience significantly. These dedicated employees are attentive and hard-working at their jobs and understand their customers’ needs to serve them better. How to improve Employee EX with Human EX? Improving the human experience has several overlapping ideas with the employee experience. However, the difference between the two is subtle. Here are tips to enhance the human EX in your workplace: 1. Build a people-first workplace culture Creating a people-first work culture is the foundation for an excellent human EX, that includes recognizing employees and helping them feel more connected and motivated. This includes meaningful appreciation, instantly gratifying and timely rewards and building a culture of democratic peer recognition. Employees who feel connected are also more engaged and willing to establish a positive atmosphere for their peers. Recognizing contributions and putting people over profits is a people-first culture that gains the employees’ loyalty and steady support. 2. Leverage technology to design & deliver amazing human EX Technology plays a crucial role in designing and implementing the human EX strategy, collecting essential information and creating the right experience at every organizational touchpoint. An efficient employee engagement tool with communication can go a long way in delivering an incredible human experience. The tool would then become an extension for the employees to connect with the rest of the organization and feel that they are part of the bigger picture. 3. Listen to employees and act on feedback using their input Creating multiple opportunities for reflection and feedback are part of the bigger employee listening strategy which is crucial to the human EX. Company wide surveys are a great place to start gathering feedback, for gauging the overall employee sentiment. Your listening strategy needs to encompass every stage of the employee lifecycle, from onboarding to exit, and should go beyond just collecting inputs to gaining insights and acting on feedback to fix problems. 4. Measure success and aim for continuous improvement While people analytics is one way to get a read on the success of your people initiatives, there are several other methods to quantify your human EX efforts. You can use surveys, interviews and focus groups on gauging the success or identifying areas of improvement for your employee experience or engagement initiatives. Deriving actionable insights from every possible input enables you to improve the human experience continuously. 5. Promote professional development Investing in their professional development is one of the most compelling ways to show your employees that you care for them. Career development programs aside from supplementing training can significantly improve employee value, making them an essential asset for the company and opening up their growth prospects. Contrary to what businesses often worry about, professional development can also improve employee retention. 6. Create a sense of belonging Human beings are social animals, and a sense of belonging is one of our most vital needs. The sense of belonging with the organization and its people boosts employee morale and performance. Through fair treatment, you can build the sense that they belong to the whole as respected members. Finally, you can demonstrate your care through a total rewards strategy focusing on physical, mental, emotional, and financial wellbeing. Conclusion The human experience cannot be seen as a ticked and forgotten box over time. It takes continuous effort on the part of the organization to ensure initiatives and protocols are put in place that promote an incredible human experience. Through effective communication, a listening strategy, recognition and rewards, comprehensive perks and benefits, a strong employee engagement technology, and a supportive culture, organizations can deliver great human experience and create a workplace that truly prioritizes the well-being and satisfaction of their employees. So, start improving the Human EX today, and watch your organization thrive. About the Author Mary is a content marketer with 20 years of experience. Her career spans GE Money, Google, and some growth-stage startups. At Xoxoday, she handles product messaging and positioning for Empuls, an employee engagement platform.