“Work is a social experience”. Do companies go out of their way to make sure it’s not like that?

This is a quote from our latest report, “The Missing Link”, which examines the importance of the employee experience and how companies so often neglect this fundamental concept, or fail to consider it as a strategic priority – is this your experience?

Our research also highlights a number of developments that have further underlined the importance of the employee experience and the need for business leaders to rebalance their priorities and not to regard culture, brand, purpose and engagement as something that can be delegated to others; whilst they get on with what they regard as more business critical activities. These developments include:

·         An ever enlarging generation of less deferential, independently minded, digitally savvy employees looking for, and expecting, more purpose and meaning in their work. Employees who want more say and inclusion in the decisions which affect them and towards which they believe they have a valid contribution to make.

·         Employees who are ‘empowered’ by digital and social media, both internally and externally. They have a platform to both express and share their views. They can extoll positive virtues but also fatal deficiencies. They can be both ambassadors and fifth columnists. Which means that it is much easier for people outside an organisation to get a sense of its culture which, if at variance with the external brand promise, will undermine its credibility. If left unmanaged an organisation’s culture in the outside world could become defined by Glassdoor and Facebook.

·         Employees whose trust, and respect, for business leadership in general is at worrying low levels and who are more inclined to monitor and believe stories about their organisation that they read in the external media. Leaders have to get to grips with the harsh reality that they have to earn trust and respect and just not vice versa.

·         Any communications that are shared digitally with a wide employee audience can be assumed to be in the public domain, which means that anything going on inside a company can almost instantly turn into a conversation outside.

·         Attitudes to CEO and leadership behaviour are shifting and have been for a while. Employees expect leaders to be visible, genuine, fair and to engage with them openly and with some degree of sincerity. This is less about authenticity (maybe not a good idea for some leaders and too much of a struggle for others) and more about honesty and decency.

All these factors underline the fact that any leadership team that takes the trust, commitment and overall engagement (however that may be defined as an outcome) for granted, does so at their peril.

Are the leaders in your company cognisant of the fact they need to earn trust and respect from their employees. Are leaders beginning to show more concern and interest in the overall employee experience and it’s correlation with culture? Does this matter to your CEO? We would be interested in your thoughts below.

If you would like a copy of “The Missing Link”, please let us know.

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