My job title has changed a lot over the years - Organizational Change Consultant, Organizational Development Specialist, Self-Management Trainer - the list goes on … Despite the always-changing career descriptions, I continue to do virtually the same work I’ve always done because all these jobs have the same area of focus:
See, “EX” (Employee eXperience) isn’t a specialty of work that defines what I do, but rather, it is why and how I do what I do. EX is not a specific set of tasks one can accomplish, it is a dedication to a belief and vision. To show you what I mean, let’s look at EX as a whole, without considering specific job tasks. What are some of the things that greatly improve the experience of being an employee?
Transparency and open communication
Well-thought-out and properly implemented changes (i.e., avoiding drastic transitions and change fatigue)
Being trusted and trusting others
Regular feedback, both positive and constructive
Purpose-driven (i.e., working toward something more meaningful than profits)
Being able to be one’s self
Personal and professional growth and learning
Freedom and autonomy
Fairness and equality
Ability to innovate
Job security and freedom to make mistakes without fear
There is certainly more, but even with this as a starting point, we can quickly see a few things. First, we can see that all of these bullet points would be hugely beneficial for an organization as well as its employees (though getting there is easier said than done). Second, we can see how many different skills it would take to make any of this a reality. Many of the aforementioned items are fundamental principles of self-management and self-organization, which require large-scale and long-term organizational change, with a need for effectively training and educating the company on the new processes through organizational development. That’s not even taking into account the software, business tools, leadership training, etc. It can sometimes feel like you need a handful of different experts to get any real change to stick, and that can sometimes be true.
However, there is often another option: You can find someone whose focus is employee experience. Again, the difference is not what work is done, but why and how the work is done. For example, someone can easily help you restructure a department as an Organizational Change Consultant, but the work of an Employee Experience Consultant isn’t done unless they have implemented the restructure in a way that inspires and benefits employees while also creating long-term solutions to prevent the need for a restructure in the future. For someone focused on EX, the goal isn’t simply, “How do I do what I’m being asked to do?”, but rather, “How do I do what I’m being asked to do in a way that’s truly beneficial for the employees?”
I believe that the future of work is one where every job, process, and rule within a company is based on how it impacts the employee experience. In a perfect world, everything is EX. From how the janitor cleans the office to how the CEO distributes his wealth and power amongst the staff, everything should be based on how it positively impacts employees and creates a more positive space for them to do their best work. I would love for job titles and initiatives involving “employee experience” to become obsolete because that is at the core of every position and decision already and everyone knows it.
Until then, “Employee Experience” can be a great indication that a job is looking not only for a specific set of skills but also a specific and meaningful goal behind those skills. That is why, despite nearly all my work focusing on change management and self-organization, I typically sum up the work I do by stating:
“I’m an Employee Experience Consultant.”