Posted: 26 Jul. 2021 5 min. read

Employee Experience: how to design a more engaging and productive Future of Work

At its core Employee Experience (EX) is about making work better for humans and making humans better at work. For every organisation, no matter the industry, one fact rings true…our people are what drive our success.

In this blog, we explore why now is the time to have the conversation about EX in the context of designing a more productive and engaged hybrid workforce; we pose key questions to consider when designing EX and share ideas on how to embark on your EX transformation journey.

Why is EX more important now than ever?

At Deloitte, we have been talking to clients about EX for the past few years, but in recent months there has been increased engagement. We found that 61 per cent of executives are now focusing on reimagining work while only 29 per cent were doing so before the pandemic.

COVID-19 forced organisations into remote working overnight and we are now at the stage of designing new working models for the future. Companies are developing hybrid work experiences and EX needs to be central to building this Future of Work.

This accelerated workforce planning has coincided with a recognition of the tangible outcomes of investing in EX…

Great EX is a differentiator in securing and retaining the best talent, enabling organisations to achieve great results and embedding company culture for a workforce that is spending less time together in person.

Key questions to consider before designing great EX

1. Which stakeholder group is responsible for building and developing the EX agenda? Do you have a role in your organisation responsible for EX?

EX is a developing organisational priority, and to date, has typically been driven by HR. On a recent webinar, we straw polled a group of approximately 60 HR Leaders, and 62 per cent believed that EX transformation should be led from their function. While HR involvement is crucial for delivering successful EX initiatives, in order to engage employees in a new way of working, unifying a technology ecosystem or developing a new culture, sponsorship from executives and execution with input from multiple functions (e.g. HR, IT, Finance) is required.

2. Are you and your leadership team aware of the benefits to your organisation that EX can have, and the sentiments of your employees?

Forty two per cent of workers would like to work from home at least two days a week and around 70 per cent of employees expect their employer to be supportive of working from home. The demands of employees are changing and understanding these new requirements is critical to being employee experience-led in design. Organisations must also identify the value levers to pull when designing great EX to quantify the return on investment and demonstrate greater engagement and productivity of the workforce.

3. What do you want to achieve through developing great EX?

When we straw polled a group of HR leaders as part of a CHRO webinar series, 65 per cent agree that their organisation is investing resources in transforming EX. But what are the drivers behind doing so? Whether it is connecting a globally disparate supply chain, adopting a consistent culture across your frontline and office workforce, or better equipping retail staff to sell products, identifying the key drivers for EX transformation will help to initiate, shape and navigate your EX transformation agenda.

How to get started on your EX Transformation journey…

Beginning the EX transformation journey can seem daunting. It’s ok to start small. By following these three steps you can test and review EX initiatives, whether your organisation has a mature EX roadmap in place or not.

1.  Leadership conversations

Start building interest in EX across the leadership group to obtain buy in from the top. Ask the interesting questions… What does good EX mean for our company? Do we want to invest in EX? And why?

Share articles or start shaping an EX business case with leadership to generate the excitement of starting an EX transformation journey. We have found bringing perspectives from HR, Communications and IT to build a coherent business case, alongside gaining sponsorship from key business leaders, supports the long-term success of EX projects.

2.  Experiment with small groups

Get EX initiatives out there and trial it with a small group of people. This allows ideas to be iterated before they are shared with the rest of the organisation. We were able to get Workplace from Facebook into the hands of c.3,500 users at a Telecommunications client within four weeks. This enabled us to test and refine the use cases before rolling it out to the entire organisation.

3.  Give the people a voice

EX does not start and finish with business leaders; it is the people on the frontline that need to be heard. We worked with an Oil & Gas major and by being EX led in design, better engaged a diverse workforce from different cultures and geographical locations. We set the foundations for a new culture in the business by embracing local teams’ ways of working and empowering them to collaborate. Frontline staff were given access to a tool connecting them and leadership, in a human and authentic way, which simply had not been possible before.

Seek and act on constant feedback from users using emerging technologies.  This will make it possible to understand and act on pain points fast. What information are engineers in the field missing? How are factory workers obtaining their updates from management? Are knowledge workers able to keep track of all their apps? Use your workforce to generate new ideas and develop your EX initiatives of tomorrow.

To find out more about our EX perspectives, follow this link to hear from two of our team presenting at a recent event hosted by our Alliance partner Workplace from Facebook.

Alternatively, if you would like to talk more about the themes explored above, please contact Rupert Darbyshire.

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Key contacts

Rupert Darbyshire

Rupert Darbyshire

Director, Future of Work

Rupert is a leader in Deloitte’s Future of Work team, helping clients to understand and manage the impact of digital transformation on their business and workforce. He particularly focuses on helping clients build engagement and productivity with employees, enabled by social collaboration technologies. He is the Global Leader of Deloitte’s alliance with Workplace from Facebook. He works with clients across sectors, with a particular focus on Technology, Media and Telecommunications industries.