“As we shift to the future of work where organizations are focusing on the reasons why employees want to work versus need to work, EX is important,” says Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage. A company that’s got a head start here: Airbnb. They replaced the traditional HR department with one for EX.

EX or Employee Experience is the sum of all the interactions an employee has with the organization. “We believe that everything that is setting our employees up for success and has an opportunity for us to bring our culture alive, should fit within the employee experience,” says Mark Levy, ex-Global Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb. Whether it’s building a healthy and satisfying food program, providing employees with the latest technology, recruiting the best, or ensuring that their spaces serve as optimal work environment, the company’s EX touches every facet.

It makes a difference

According to a survey, though 80% of executives rated it very important, only 22% reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated EX. As more organizations begin to experiment with creating a great EX, here’s a look at what goes into its building blocks:

1. Physical environment includes demographics, layout, design, and atmosphere. Research shows effective workplace design can supercharge any work environment and that spaces must encourage focus, collaboration, and drive innovation through choice.

How Airbnb does it: by constantly experimenting with different layouts and floor plans. Employees ‘belong anywhere’ and can work from any part of their facility, even the kitchen counter or dining room table, in isolation or with people.

2. Technology. The tools used to get work done can enable next level EX by solving the workforce’s challenges. 71% of employees surveyed want their organization to provide them with the same level of technology as they use in their personal lives.

How Airbnb does it: through collaborative technologies. They live stream meetings; create virtual visits to different offices by sharing photos and insights on Whatsapp instead of a traditional ‘all hands’ meeting.

3. Culture. Some workspaces energize, while some drain. Culture is the vibe, the leadership style, or the sense of purpose that employees feel. As you define your culture, ask employees what they value and how they will contribute to your culture. Create balance – prioritize work as well as make the workforce feel good.

How Airbnb does it: by ensuring everything at work is “a continuation of what it’s like to be a guest at somebody’s house.” Transparent interactions. Celebration of employees. In-house food. Chances to give back to community. It’s all there.

As talented employees look for more than mere benefits, EX will determine how engaged they feel. How will you incorporate it at work?

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