The Employee Experience…Not Just For Millennials

July 13, 2011

Our expert series continues as we look deeper at the survey results released in the Millennial Generation Today: Impact of economic environment on recruitment, retention and engagement white paper.  We are speaking with Bob Dean who is the Director of the North American business for Profiling Online, a global talent management solutions company. Bob has served as a senior executive for learning and talent management for Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton and Heidrick & Struggles. In 2006, he became one of the first ten people in the world to be certified in the models and frameworks of the The Experience Economy.  Bob uses this certification to design, develop, and deliver transformational customer and employee experiences for his clients.

Q: What are your initial thoughts on the survey results?

A: The survey covered information that is relevant today.  When you consider the financial meltdown and all that has happened in our country, and the world, information or articles on one generation from three years ago may not necessarily be as relevant today.

Q: Where or why have companies lost their way in engaging employee over the last few years?

A: Many corporate cultures have failed to adapt in the last 10 years.  Companies need to get back to their core values and what they stand for.  Companies should consider what culture they currently have and if it is the type of culture they need to sustain their businesses.  If it is a sustainable culture then the communication with employees has to change and have substance.  Communication has changed dramatically and communicating with employees is more than just an intranet or Facebook page.

Companies, especially large ones, have historically thought anything they needed to know as an organization they could find by tapping into their employees, their inside collective knowledge.  When they needed to know something they went to their employee source.  But what happens to companies when a large number of the employees leave through a layoff?  That company’s collective knowledge is now out in the market place.  And the marketplace now mirrors what the company once was in terms of knowledge. 

A company is either a closed culture or an open culture and those that are closed have lost their way and are not quick to understand the value of talent and tapping into collective knowledge. 

Q: Explain the employee experience concept?

A: Millions and billions of dollars is spent on corporate learning and development.  If you assess the retention and application of what’s covered in training sessions – it is maybe 20%.  So, much of the training has become a “check the box” activity.  Companies, spending that kind of money, need to get more out of their investment, should want to get more out of their investment.  The idea of the employee experience is to design learning experiences that deliver and make an impact.  Think about getting coffee at Starbucks versus your home.  It is the personal experience that differentiates what you remember and apply (in this case choosing to return to Starbucks).  The employee experience was adapted from The Experience Economywritten by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore in 1999.  I was certified in this book in 2006.  The concept started with differentiating the customer experience through customization and has been adapted for the employee experience. You can learn more at www.strategichorizons.com.

Thank you Bob for your time and expertise.  I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with our readers.


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