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Humankind | 9 August 2019

Employee experience is as much about people as it is the design we wrap around them.

Erica Keswin went from discouraged consultant to workplace strategist.

Like many of us, she found herself working on projects that weren’t going anywhere. So she threw in the towel, went back to school to do an MBA and focused on organisational behaviour, management and leadership. Her book, ‘Bringing your Human to Work’ talks about why the human side of employee experience is so critical for an organisation’s financial success.

Be real

Having a human voice within your organisation is critical for strong culture but also for attracting top talent. This means being clear about your values and communicating them with intention so that your team can behave in ways that contribute to your success, without you having to remind them.

Curating deeper connections facilitate better relationships and increased wellbeing

Think about it. Before technology, we finished work at 5pm, went home from the factory and then got to spend our time connecting with our friends, families and with ourselves. Now we are building tech-based micro-connections more than our in-person deep connections. And because of neuroplasticity – the study that has proven our brains continue to develop in the direction of our behaviour and thoughts – we’re finding it difficult to work through the deeper emotional responses required for managing our hyper digital-connectedness.

Think about space as a lever for increasing productivity and perspective

Inspired by Game of Thrones, Erica interviewed an organisation that created a ‘Day of Reaping’ where on certain days throughout the year, their employees are required to pick numbers out of a hat and then select a new desk to work from. Switching up physical spaces also switches up perspectives. With open plan offices, organisations forget the distraction this creates for their employees. Remember to design spaces so there are a number of different ‘focused’ options will allow full productivity.

Support your people to grow 'sideways'

Traditional structures and thinking paved the way for role promotions and pay rises. Now, new flat organisation designs and flexible working environments are giving rise to the part-time and gig economy and therefore need leaders who understand intrinsic motivators and are willing to develop their people laterally. If an employee wants to develop their public speaking skills, support them to attend an improvisation class. A NY Times article attributed a study that showed employees who are developed in this way are applying these skills to their work and are shown to be staying longer.