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Kalyn Ponti | 30 September 2022

The EX Manifesto

Shaping the future of Employee Experience (EX) for the world.

Excellent recently brought together influential EX practitioners, future thinkers, and ideators to create the world’s first EX manifesto.

Contributors included leaders from Warner Brothers, Patagonia, IBM, AirBnB, Uber, Netflix, Eventbrite, and our very own Kalyn Ponti (KP), Suzanne Cross and Jenny Williams.

Our Chief Executive, KP, travelled to Austin, Texas to take part and has written an update to share with our community. Sneak peak, the day was incredible!

It was an honour (and a lot of fun!) working on the world’s first EX Manifesto. There is still work to do to consolidate the incredible thinking, but the ideation and co-creation couldn’t have gone better. The energy and commitment to continue carrying this work forward together was energising and humbling.

The purpose of the EX Manifesto

It’s time to shift the global perspective and shared understanding of what EX actually is and what it does for the organisations who embrace it.

The EX Manifesto will;

  • define the principles that truly matter in EX design,
  • guide the next generation of practitioners in their work,
  • raise the profile of EX to its rightful place as a crucial function for every organisation, and
  • be freely accessible and distributable in perpetuity.

What we worked through

  • the highest priority in EX right now,
  • what EX done well looks like and how it’s measured,
  • the skills required to implement EX,
  • how to ensure the concept of EX is sustainable, effective, and evolving, and
  • who within an organisation owns EX.

Key discussions

The answers to many of the topics above will come with the published manifesto. While you wait on the edge of your seat for that, here are just a few of the ideas we discussed on the day:

  • The number of permanent employees is declining, and the gig economy is growing. One way to read this is that people are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the traditional model of work.
  • We had Millennials and GenZ in the room. They shared that they don’t want to work for other people unless the work fits into their broader life and community, including their purpose and personal values.
  • We asked ourselves how, as leaders, we can re-engage people with the concept of a community coming together to do work!
  • We agreed EX is a process, not a uniform playbook. At Humankind, we apply what we all know about Customer Experience and User Experience to Employee Experience. We start with insights and empathy for the user, often co-design with employees, and constantly test and iterate until we’ve achieved outcomes that move the needle. The approach was a smash hit with this all-star group, speaking to the interest of both organisations and their people to find mutual value.

A rallying cry

The world is changing, and the future of work is human-centred. The economy has shifted from being goods-based to being based on intellectual capital, driven by people.  Additionally, the generational shift with declining social institutions (such as church or rotary) means that people are now looking to their workplaces for a sense of meaning.

A strong EX is good for humanity and for organisations. Our experience at work directly impacts how we move through the world, and an engaged workforce directly impacts an organisation’s ability to perform and achieve its purpose or mission.

A first step in EX is articulating your organisation’s purpose and giving your people the opportunity to contribute and reflect on it regularly. At Humankind, we do this in our daily stand ups.

It is up to us as leaders to lead this important shift to human-centred employee experiences. ‘If not now, then when, if not me, then who?’ Malcom X

A blue sky question the EX Manifesto group is asking is what workplaces need to look like for people to want to work there for 30 years (or to keep boomeranging back)? A tall order…

Follow the EX Manifesto project and our work at Humankind, as we aim to shape the future of EX.

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