The way we work is changing.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen three major trends transform the world of work: AI, the globalisation of businesses, and the rise of the ‘gig’ economy. Each of these trends has had a profound effect on the way we see ourselves and our people in the workplace.

For example, AI has led to a whole lot of hype around whether or not intelligent machines will make our jobs easier, or redundant. The rise of global organisations has led to workforces spread across multiple countries, boosting the appeal of employee relocation, but often making it harder to drive innovation. And the gig economy has resulted in more employees wanting to work and develop autonomously, with the freedom to take learning into their own hands.

All of that means expectations for what work could and should look like are changing rapidly. And as a result, what it takes to deliver good employee experience is changing rapidly too.

So what does it take to deliver great employee experience today? To answer that question, we need to take a step back and decide on what employee experience even means. It turns out, the answer depends on your perspective:


The HR view

If you ask the HR function to define employee experience, they might talk about employee lifecycle touchpoints (recruitment, onboarding, training, development…) hey might also talk about the idea of turning employees into employer advocates.


The employee view 

Ask an employee, however, and they are likely to  define employee experience very differently. They may l agree that the HR view is a part of the employee experience – but not all of it. In fact, they’ll probably say that a lot of what makes up employee experience isn’t even HR related.

So what’s missing from the HR view?


The data

To get a more concrete answer about what employee experience actually is, we decided to do our own research. We asked over a thousand employees what employee experience means to them today, and unsurprisingly, the results went way beyond the traditional HR view. In fact, the majority of people said it means getting answers to questions like:


  • How do I collaborate across disparate technologies?

  • How do I work as a team and showcase our collective results?

  • Am I being recognised right now? Am I getting feedback that I can act on right now, instead of waiting for my annual review?

  • How do I learn and develop my unique skills?

  • How do I actively develop or change my role?


Clearly, the traditional mandate of HR is not enough to drive employee experience.

Which means it isn’t just HR’s responsibility to deliver – it’s also the responsibility of departments like IT, who can not only answer some of the questions above, but act on them through better technologies.

So, back to you. How can your organisation act on these insights, and what should your priorities be when it comes to transforming employee experience? Based on the questions above, four main areas are standing out:


  1. Recognition

  2. Self-service

  3. Frictionless experiences

  4. Personalisation

Since these are big areas to cover, we think it’s best to split them up over a few blog posts – we’ll add the links to the end of this post when they’re published. The rest of this post will focus on ‘recognition’.


Recognition – the key to a more motivated workforce

During our research we asked our survey participants what motivates them most at work. They had four options to choose from:


  1. I’m empowered to make decisions

  2. I’m recognised for my efforts and recognise others for their efforts

  3. I have growth potential in my role

  4. Knowing that what I do contributes to the success of the company


Overwhelmingly, 56% of respondents voted for option B.

That gets more significant the more you think about it – it means recognition for the work your people are doing already is seen as more important than their development in the future. It also means your people are keen to actively participate in the reviews of others.

It also means there’s a pretty quick, painless fix to fuelling employee experience: recognising your people more.

Here’s one way to do that – it’s a simple tactic we’ve deployed ourselves at Salesforce: don’t make your people wait for their next annual performance review. Give them feedback as and when they do good work.

This demand for a more consumer-like experience at work was a major theme at this year’s HRD Summit. At the event, we heard HR leaders speak about their efforts to give employees self-service, any-time access to the information and resources they need to get their jobs done. Some organisations are even using gamification tactics to engage their people – the more feedback they give, the more access they get to their own 360-degree feedback.  

Breaking away from an inflexible, periodic review system is a small, relatively simple tactic to execute, but it’s an effective one. And it’s made all the difference here at Salesforce - see how in the video below. 



Other ways to fuel employee experience

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what it takes to deliver good employee experience today. We'll be covering the following topics in upcoming  blog posts:


  • Two smart ways to attract talent and build lasting connections with your people

  • Make employee experience self-service


In the meantime, download our free report to learn how productivity and satisfaction can be boosted with technology, the importance and impact of the growing demand for equality, strategies for attracting, recruiting, engaging talent, and enhancing the wellbeing of employees.