“Our candidates today are not looking for a career, they are looking for an experience.” Josh Bersin from Deloitte.

This quote was used to open an event – A Work Life Less Ordinary – I attended recently, led by Kursty Groves, Author and Innovation Consultant, and Jo Taylor, HR Consultant. What Josh says really resonates with me and it got me thinking about my worklife and the sheer number of opportunities there are to improve the employee experience.

What is the employee experience?

It is what happens when an employee interacts with your organisation. This starts from the moment a potential employee hears about your organisation, through to when they apply for a job and enter your office and meet you.

Providing a beautiful office space, meals at work, access to a gym and flexible working may appear excessive perks but organisations offer these things because employees want them.

Gone are the days that people stay in a job for life. Research suggests people are working longer and harder than ever – there’s a blur between home and life and as a result people look for more from their employer. People want to have a positive experience at work.

Jo and Kursty talked about the likes of Google, with their sleeping pods, and Innocent’s fruit tower – these organisations have raised the bar in terms of employee expectations. Whilst not every organisation will provide sleeping pods, nor will they name you after a fruit, what these organisations have done is open the eyes of employees to see possibilities.

The 5 E’s

During the workshop we explored the 5’Es we need to address in order to create a positive work environment:

  • Evolution
  • Engagement
  • Expression
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency

According to Kursty and Jo empowerment is key to success. It’s up to the organisation to create a positive culture and put the foundations in place to create a 5* employee experience. But every one of us, regardless of our role or level, has a role to play in creating a positive work environment and the worklife we want to achieve.

Sadly very few organisations really succeed in empowering their employees. According to Kursty and Jo organisations make three common mistakes when it come to creating a positive work environment:

  1. Shift the blame

Everyone is quick to shift the blame or responsibility when in fact we all have an opportunity change things.

The future starts with you – employers need to empower people to make positive change…

  1. Label obsessed

We live in a society obsessed with labels, from the clothing we wear or car we drive to our job title. This obsession with labels can prevent organisations from looking at the real needs of the people they are supporting.

Take it back to basics – what do employees need to fly and achieve their potential.

  1. Hyper Inflated change

Elevating change to the point of abstraction – try to keep things simple. Change can be positive, exciting and is often needed.

Kursty said, “People don’t just want to go to work and then go home, they want an experience. Employers need to take this on board if they are to future proof their work environment and this means thinking about everything from the space itself to how they engage with employees.”

On a personal note I agree. Always being connected through technology means there is a huge blur between home and work life but this has also provided me with more freedom and flexibility.

I don’t look at them as two separate lives – they are very much integrated. Empowerment has certainly played a key role in helping me create a workspace that works for me, where I can really be the best I can be.

Kursty and Jo are right – the future starts with you, the power sits with you…