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The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate Hardcover – March 27, 2017
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"Jacob's book shares case studies, research and unique models to demonstrate the incredible value of building amazing teams and transforming how work is done to positively impact business results."
"Companies that invest time and energy in the employee experience will crush those that don't. This book and the research behind it proves that. Wanna win? Read this!"
"An inspiring, thoughtful and practical book, filled with specific ideas and concrete examples that will make it an indispensable resource for anyone on the journey to building a purposeful, successful and vibrant organization."
"Well researched, intriguing, and practical. Jacob has written a book that any business leader should read if they want to learn how attract and retain the best and the brightest talent."
"The Employee Experience Advantage" is a must read for the leader of any organization seeking to create an employee experience that helps attract and retain top talent, drive innovation and outperform the competition."
"This book is an important contribution in helping us understand how to unlock and amplify the most important component of success; people. A must read."
"The Employee Experience Advantage is a well-researched book that helps organizations realize the value of employee experience."
"This book offers the data behind how and why culture, technology, and the physical workplace are so vital for success!
From the Inside Flap
If you've had a job any time during the last two decades you know companies are extremely interested in engaging employees. You may also know that engagement scores have been at an all-time low despite investment in these programs being at an all-time high. So what's going on here? Organizations around the world have been focusing on the effect, which is employee engagement, instead of the cause, which is employee experience. As a result most initiatives today are centered around short-term band aid solutions such as free food or flexible work hours instead of being focused on true organizational design. The Employee Experience Advantage provides the first comprehensive research-based look at how to optimize the three fundamental environments that shape employee experience. Thus creating an organization where people genuinely want to show up to work to perform their best.
Written by futurist, keynote speaker, and best-selling author, Jacob Morgan, this eye-opening strategy guide takes you step by step through the entire process of purposefully designing a work experience to create a truly engaged workforce that unlocks business performance. After a foundational primer on the history and the current state of the movement to optimize employee experience, the book dives into in-depth explanations of the three employee experience environments: the physical, technological, and cultural environments. Then, it makes a bulletproof business case for investing in the transformation into an experiential organization, complete with insight and proven metrics gained from interviewing 150 executives, reviewing 150 studies and articles, and analyzing over 250 global organizations. Finally, an entire section looks at every practical piece of building employee experience into the architecture of your organization in order to produce tangible business results. An extensive
collection of case studies and firsthand examples from the leaders working at the forward-edge of employee experience provides peerless understanding of:
- How developing amazing employee experiences gives you an unfair advantage over the competition when it comes to talent.
- What employees care about most when it comes to culture, technology, and the physical work environment and how to give it to them.
- Why employee experience is the next massive area of investment for organizations around the world and what you can do to stay ahead of everyone else.
Design amazing employee experiences, create an engaged workforce, and drive business results with The Employee Experience Advantage.
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Have you observed companies that have chosen to use new toolsets and bold efficiency strategies as a means to justify a pivot away from their workforce? I've read about them, and for my own self-conflict (working with cloud technologies), my various roles have been to bring about an awareness and adoption of these toolsets, squarely aimed at efficiency and optimization. So I went looking for ways to better position my own work, to understand the challenging future of work, and to balance the dystopian hype and headline about impending work replacement and layoffs due to automation.
I found a refreshing and positive take here, and actions I can share with others. Morgan's empirical and hands-on approach gives this book (and all of his other work) the examples and real-world stories that differentiate, qualify and reiterate the foundation of his message (on the future of work):
- the war for talent is real (as it always was)
- good talent is looking for significance within/beyond the role
- your company can do specific things that create the experience that great talent wants to become a part of
- companies that provide this experience thrive because of their employees
I want to warn you that this review has a lot of personal experiences in it because I want to make it clear that I am not just talking about what the book discusses, I am living it.
The book breaks down the employee experience into 3 environments. Physical, Technology, and Cultural. I will provide you with my experiences below broken down into these sections.
===== Physical =====
What drew me to the book was the emphasis on the physical environment. I have not seen the negative level of impact a physical environment can have until the last three years and I have not seen a book raise it up to its real level of importance until this book.
I am working in a torture chamber. When I started there our group was dedicated to special projects and each person had an individual cube. You could hear a pin drop. After several moves I ended up with a cube mate. At first it was fine because he didn't really have anything to do and was somewhere else in the building 6 hours of the day.
Then about 2 years ago he was given an assignment that has him on the phone, with a queue in our cube waiting to talk to him, and a partner in a cube across the hall he is constantly yelling over to. The people in the queue wait by sitting on my desk. Head phones make zero difference. I still got tapped and the "what's up?", which would be fine if it happened less than 10 to 20 times a day, but it didn't.
Over the next 2 years of fighting it I got at least 7 migraines from the noise. I burnt several vacation days on those migraines. I had to get FMLA just to go sit somewhere else in the building. Then of course there were several jackasses that had to make a big deal of that every opportunity they got. You know the type, they are always pointing out everything everyone else is doing wrong to take the spotlight off of themselves to help mask their incompetence. At first they didn't know I had a medical reason for going to a quiet area, but after they did, it still made no difference in their complaining about the special treatment.
Finally I said I was going to have to leave if the company didn't do something. They moved me about a month later. Where did I move? I moved over the wall under a vent with black dust pouring out of it. The first week there I had to leave early because my eyes where burning so badly. I reported it and maintenance assured me it is not mold. Just dust with broken down black ventilation duct work particles. Unfortunately the same maintenance team told us about 6 months earlier drinking the brown water in water fountains was fine to drink, so I am not really sure what to think about their assurances.
Temperature is another issue. Most of the full time employees in the office are 50 + years old. Most of those over 50 are also well over 60. We are now an IT department with 50% of the floor consultants from India. Everyone is always cold. The young and the old.
They say the try to keep the temperature between 74-76 degrees year round. I bought a thermometer and we have hit 82 degrees. In the summer the added humidity makes it miserable. I recently rode the elevator with a guy on my floor who has been with the company for a long time. He was complaining to a friend about the heat. He said "after 23 years of complaining about the same problem, you would think they could do something". He is in a very small minority with me. We sweat all day long and it is gross.
I could go on, but I think you get the reason for my attraction to the physical environment focus. I have 22 years of experience in IT and 16 of those were spent as a consultant. I have worked in well over 20 environments. I have worked at the print station, in the supply closet, in the cafeteria, in the freezing server room, in a meeting room that normally sat 6 with 12 people, most of which were on phones 1/2 the day. None of those environments touch the amount of physical and psychological stress this place has had on me in the past 6 years.
The biggest plus about our environment is that they do let us work from home 1 day a week. I work from home 2 days a week because of the FLMA and the noise level. I work Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I do 95% of my work at home. Because of the noise level, for the past 2 years I killed more time sitting in my work cube deleting emails and moving icons just waiting for the day to be over than anything else. Then I work when I get home and over the weekend to make up for it. I have been working from home -only - for the past two years, except when I sit on the other floor in the quiet.
===== Technology =====
So now let's touch on equipment. I am required to have virtual machines running several versions of SharePoint and Team Foundation Server (TFS) so I can proof of concept (POC) upgrade and customization scenarios. I also have to run 4 to 5 different Tomcat VMs for POC different upgrade and customization scenarios. Years ago I also lead an initiative to build iOS and Android native applications.
The company provides me with none of the equipment I need to do any of that. I have purchase 3 gaming laptops, a ThinkPad Twist, a MacBook Pro, my own developer license from Apple, 2 iPads, several Android devices, 100's of books and paid for my own hotspot internet connect for the first 5 years there. I have spent well over $15,000 on my own equipment since I have been there, and another $5,000 on books, training, software, and developer licenses.
The only thing my work computer is good for is checking emails, logging onto servers with remote desktop, and using the browser to manage SharePoint and TFS.
===== Cultural =====
Our environment is a closed door, top down, command and control environment. The book calls this an inExperienced environment. The lowest of the 9 levels the book discusses. Based on an employee experience survey we took about 9 months ago our C-Suite sent out a letter that said we had an 82% employee engagement rating, or 15% above the national average for our industry.
I didn't run into anyone yet not in the C-Suite that found that laughable. I would put us down around the 32% range, the average for the US, which at least beats the worlds 13% the book refers to in Gallup's research. Gallup's report said the best companies in the world are at 70%. That pretty much says it all when looking at our questionable 82%.
The book touches on salary and benefits, but I agree with the author in that they can only carry your level of loyalty so far. They can eventually become a ball and chain in the right circumstances. I have only recently switched over to our companies insurance. My wife and I were previously on hers. We have the best plan our company offers and the benefits I currently have are the worst I have had in my 30+ years of being in the workforce and carrying my own.
I don't know if it is Obamacare, our HR department, pharmaceutical lobbyist, or Capital Blue Cross that is at fault. It is probably a little bit of all 4. I currently pay for everything I can without using the insurance because it is cheaper than the copay. I cannot do that at the eye doctor or chiropractor because I would have to sign a waiver saying that I no longer will use my insurance for anything. Meaning if I am injured in a car accident I cannot use my insurance for eye or chiropractic care.
Last year during a town hall meeting they told us that each year health insurance costs go up 10 -12%. They told us that in order to maintain the same budget each year they shop for a new contract that provide less benefits to the employees, but that allow the company's budget to stay relatively the same. While I appreciated the transparency in the answer to all the questions about our poor health insurance, I almost fell out of my chair when I heard that answer.
Recently one prescription I paid $15 for went to $140 using insurance or $129.00 if I don't use insurance. When we switched to this insurance our chiropractor copay went from $10 to $35, and if I did not use my insurance it would be $33.50 a visit. My dog who has insurance with Pet Plan has 10X's better insurance than we do with Capital Blue Cross.
===== The Book =====
This book holds the key to what our company is so desperately searching for. The problem is they will never make the changes needed to get there. They are failing to recognize the importance of the digital revolution so in the next few years the hundreds of millions of dollars they have stock piled in investments will start to dwindle. We have a ton of people that are casualties of Peter's Principle, suffer from Dunning–Kruger effect, or just get to the point of where they have had enough and figure they have paid their dues. That makes it hard to change. They do not bring fresh blood into the C-Suite from the outside, only from the inside.
This book can help, and will help, but as the authors say - you have to care, really care. The authors say "If you, your managers, or your executives do not care about the employees or the team members you work with, then this entire book will be completely useless. This is one of the key distinctions between the truly Experiential Organizations and everyone else. They don't invest in employee experiences for the business value. They invest in them because they care, and the business value comes as a result."
I highly recommend this book to anyone, anyone at all, but especially C-Suite and upper management that genuinely care about their people and want to make their work life an experience that they can't wait to get to on the morning commute into the office.
He provides useful models for combining the concepts
This is a good reference book