This is a Guest post by Bertrand Duperrin, Digital Transformation Practice Leader at EMAKINA.

In a previous post I introduced employee experience as the future of employer branding (or its extension, depending on what employer branding already meant to you). As a matter of fact, in the same way that customer experience is often shown as the future of branding, the same logics leads to a similar approach to employer branding.

Starting from employer branding may be the easiest way to introduce employee experience but it rapidly appears that employee experience is bigger than than, or that it turns the terms of brand into something bugger that it’s ever been. It’s not about what a business claims but about how things actually are, how they’re being delivered and supported over time.

More broadly the shift from branding to experience is a shift from a promise to what’s done to keep it in a transparent and result focused world where both customers and employees judge businesses on facts.

So that’s why I bet that employee experience is going to be the next big thing, and give employee centricity an unexpected importance, far beyond the usual scope of HR.

Employee experience will be :

  • The future of Customer experience.

There is no customer experience without employee experience. Customers won’t get what employees are not given. It’s a matter of sens and alignment. If, as many businesses, you consider the customer experience will make your business succeed or fail in the digital era, you’d better pay attention to customer experience.

  • The future of Employer branding

Enough said about that. Just refer to my above-mentioned post.

  • The future of work

Work is an experience or, rather, should be. The difference between services and experiences is personalization and it applies to work too : how personalized are the services a company provides to its employees to fully support them in getting their work done and making them engaged ? The workplace is not a one-size-fits-all environment anymore. It’s not about flexible and and personalized work environments for the sake of flexibility and personalization but about making employees efficient and engaged in an unpredictable and fast moving business context.

I once wrote that digital transformation was about making things easier, simpler, more engaging and enjoyable for both the customer and the employee. That’s exactly what employee experience is about and how any touchpoint between the employee and the enterprise should be designed for.

  • The future of management

It’s pretty much linked with the future of work but it emphasis the fact the the most important touchpoint for employees is managers and colleagues. You can’t expect a perfectly designed employee experience to bear fruits when people are not trained, empowered and supported to make it happen in real life. Processes, services, policies, digital tools will help but nothing will change until things change when people interact in person.

We all know that no matter a brand can delivers us an exceptional digital customer experience, everything can collapse when we interact with employees unable to deliver the same level of experience. It’s the same in the workplace.

  • The future of the employee lifecycle and career management

An experience worth the name is seamless, end-to-end and consistently delivered over time. Today there are huge gaps between the candidate, employee and alumni experience. And even bigger ones inside of the employee lifecycle. People are moved from one step to the other like boxes in a warehouse, nothing fluid, nothing consistent and every time a change happens they have to restart their story with the enterprise from scratch.

You can recognize leaders in employee experience by how often people experienced changes in their career, how much they were happy with and how strong and thankful their alumni community is.

  • The future of engagement

Engagement is not about employees deciding whether to engage or not or a so-called love story between employees and a business. It’s about businesses having an honest promise, hiring people buying it (and not being more or less) and delivering on it. Period.

The more engaged employee I meet, the more they describe they workalike as an experience, as something they’re living, as something unique that is both empowering and transforming them. It has very little to do with perks and off-work things. On the contrary it’s about what they feel and experience on the job.

  • The future of the workplace

Either digital or physical, work happens in a workplace. Think again about making things easy and enjoyable. Does it relate to the way your offices and buildings are designed ? You apps and intranet ? Do people need to do 10 clicks to perform a newly digitized process when they only had to fill a (paper) form and send it by snail-mail mail before ? Employee experience will affect both your digital and physical work environment, not because it’s nice, just because it matters .

Employee experience is about performance. Sustainable performance. Some may say a good employee experience is costly, I’d respond that the hidden costs of a poor employee experience are even more costly.

But it’s true that employee experience comes with a few challenges

– making all those who can impact the employee experience work together and understand they all own a small piece of a bigger stake

– identify all the relevant touchpoints and make the experience consistent over all of them.

Let’s discuss it in my next posts.