Katie Banks is Employee Experience Manager in Nitro’s EMEA HQ. She Irish danced for 21 years and performed at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival and the Olympia Theatre Dublin. Katie has a knack for writing a kickass CV and coaching people for interview--she’s become the go-to resource in her circle of friends and beyond.
Today, caring about your organization’s Employee Experience (EX) is no longer a choice. Ignoring EX is detrimental to not only the success of your employees and your HR team but to your entire organization. Employee benefits like relevant life policies (click here to find out more) have become the norm is a company that isn’t looking after its employees will often struggle with a high turnover rate and low productivity. It requires more than engagement in the here and now – the more significant returns come from a long-term EX organizational focus. Go beyond what engagement survey scores say to do and create a place where people want, rather than need, to work long-term. But what does that mean, and what does it look like in reality?
At Nitro, EX is the glue that holds everything together?, helping us achieve the best outcome for both our people and our business. We’re passionate about creating a culture of real engagement and commitment. So much so, that we were asked to contribute to Ben Whitter’s book ‘Employee Experience’, alongside Airbnb, Sky, and Starbucks (and other great companies).We talk about what makes exceptional EX beyond the surface perks.
If you’ve visited the Nitro blog before, you’ve likely come across our EX team and you’ll know that we don’t have a traditional HR function. Building a great place to work is due largely to the efforts of our EX team and goes beyond salary and vacation days. To define our EX Strategy, we’ve focused on three crucial elements in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – the must-have, the important-to-have, and the nice-to-have. We believe these elements frame an employee’s experience in the workplace. We translated these into what we call the 3 F’s – The Fundamentals, The Fringe, and The Fun, respectively.
Here’s an illustration of how EX at Nitro is structured:
The Fundamentals. We consider things like competitive salaries, solid benefits offerings, and clear company vision and values, to be fundamental to any job, anywhere.
The Fringe. Thisincludesimportant aspects for many employees that aren’t necessarily offered by every employer-career development opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and gym subsidies, for example.
The Fun. The third ‘F’ is not something you can prescribe. Telling employees that it’s mandatory to attend the team outing to the Jameson distillery or summertime company picnic defeats the purpose of trying to make something “fun” to begin with. However, the EX team feels that providing the opportunity to have fun is essential when asking people to work hard. We’re not forcing fun on anyone, but we’re certainly encouraging it!
An EX model looks great on paper but without employee buy-in and support across all functions, departments and, levels it won’t get implemented.
Tips for establishing a successful EX Function
Put your people first. Ensure that they are considered in every business decision even if you think that it only affects the business. If ignored, the longer-term impact may damage how your employees feel about the business.
Make your HR or People team approachable. Break the current stigma of HR that prevents employees from working with your people team to achieve business goals. They should also be approachable so that any employee who has had a disturbing or upsetting experience in the workplace will feel comfortable enough to speak up about it. Many times, instances of things like sexual harassment go unreported in the workplace which leads to a culture of denial of this being a real thing that can happen anywhere. Someone who has been affected by this kind of thing might want to consider reaching out to a sexual harassment lawyer for help with seeking justice for what has happened to them. If there is a health and safety hazzard putting people at risk in the office environment, you want your staff to feel like they can come and discuss this with you. Once again this will prevent any employees from looking at how they go about getting legal advice to get this sorted. Be open with your staff. Treat them with respect and they will likely do the same back. Performance should definitely increase if employees feel a sense of security and safety in the workplace – this also links back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory.
Appoint and develop cultural ambassadors. These people will be key to rolling out any EX program changes.
Establishing the 3 F’s as the EX standard at Nitro helped us articulate what we strive to provide for every Nitronaut. This level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail ishard to define and hard to quantify. But what’s not difficult is understanding the effect it has. Your team will be confident that you’ll support them as they shoot for the big goals in the future. Better yet, employees feel like trusted, integral players in continuing your organization’s story.
A culture of true engagement and commitment, in turn, yields excellent business results – it’s a win-win for everyone! ?