September 26th, 2017

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It is clear that the wider employee experience covers much more than the traditional employee lifecycle, however, it is still important to acknowledge core people operations as consequential.

Employee experience describes the feelings and thoughts employees have about their interactions with work, including leadership, daily operations, environment and tools.

When all elements are designed, and executed with care the results can be inspiring, as I saw on my recent trip to San Francisco.

Linking this blog with our earlier writing on what employee experience is and why great leadership is difficult to achieve and yet is so vital, we are keen to share our thinking on the next key element of employee experience, Operations.

Operations covers many of the core people processes/stages in an employee’s tenure with an organisation.


How does focusing on employee experience change the way we design core people operations? It means looking beyond just putting a process in place to make our job easier and thinking instead that if we treat people well not only is it the right thing to do, but you will actually get the results you want for your business. Here are a couple of examples:


It is important to understand that employee experience begins before the first day. When was the last time you considered how the recruitment process leaves your candidates feeling? What information do candidates need to have their best chance of showing their full potential? Is your process technology enabled and slick, or is it cumbersome, with long, difficult to fill in application forms?

Interviews are an opportunity for you to assess the candidate, but remember this is a two-way decision-making process. What are you doing to sell your opportunity to the candidate and will this be backed up by the experience they have, if and when they actually join your team? Take the time to consider how will they feel when attending an interview with you. This slight change in thinking can have a real impact on the way the candidate perceives both you and the brand.


Onboarding is not just a great opportunity to set someone up for success, it’s a great way for them to feel like an important and valued part of the team. I love to imagine new employees finishing their first day/week/month feeling more excited about the opportunity than when they signed the offer. How do we achieve this?

Unbelievably too many people have an experience that is simply left to chance – technology not ready, no structured plan for the first day, time filling in forms or reading manuals, too much alone time, uncertainty and awkward moments. How about using the opportunity to build meaningful connections with those they will be interacting with daily – informal meetings over coffee or lunch? Visits to client sites and hearing about the back story from the CEO/Founder including purpose, strategy and values can make such a great impression in the early days. The most impressive on-boarding activity I have seen recently was when the new CPO of Crimson, Penelope started – what a way to make an impression!

Performance and Development

Any reviews or development planning should be supported by a framework which is easy to use for managers and adds maximum value for the employee. Unfortunately, many systems are still cumbersome, annual (which is simply not frequent enough) and focus far too much on the past. Regular feedback and goal setting should be part of any manager-employee relationship. We need to think about our performance and feedback discussions as one-size-fits-one – everyone wants different things from these discussions. Why is it that experiences in our personal lives are fast, hyper personalised and easy to use, yet when it comes to the workplace most activities are being done the same way as decades ago? We wouldn’t put up with this at home.

Many people might describe operations as simply basic people processes, in truth – people operations are incredibly important to the commercial success of every organisation. Just as having the right leadership capabilities in place and having a fit for purpose work environment is critical, so too are getting the operational components right.

We all need to put a bit more time and thought into why each part of the employee lifecycle is important to an individual and their ability to hit the ground running, understand what it is they are there to achieve, add value and feel valued by you. Being deliberate in the design and execution of all core people processes, considering how your people feel, will not only provide better employee experiences but of course better business outcomes.

We would love to hear your thoughts on what is important for great employee experiences – please let us know what you think, or contact us direct.