CHAPTER 2Employee Experience: The New Why

“I hate the word ‘experience,’” the CHRO of a global consumer products company told me. “It's difficult to define and there's no way my CFO will pay for it.”

What Exactly Is “Employee Experience”?

I get what she's saying. For many leaders, investing resources to plan and create an outstanding employee experience may seem difficult to justify. After all, how do you convert purpose, agency, belonging, and recognition into goals? What would you measure? How does it align with business outcomes? How would you budget for it? Who would determine if you've succeeded?

A useful definition of employee experience comes from my colleague at SAP, Dr. Steve Hunt, an industrial-organizational psychologist who has explored this topic through his work with more than a thousand companies around the globe. “‘Employee experience’ refers to the beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors resulting from one's job experiences,” says Steve. “Three basic types of experiences influence how people feel about work.”

  • Task experience: Is it easy to get things done? This is about providing employees with the tools and resources they need to accomplish their goals at work. Good task experiences make employees feel efficient and productive; bad task experiences create frustration and a sense that the company doesn't appreciate the employee's time or skills.
  • Social experience: Do I like the people I work with and how we work together? Creating effective team climates ...

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