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How do we experience our work relation? Well, it depends…

Vannessa Uhlein
March 1, 2023

Experience design covers any relation between human beings and an entity or process (User Experience, Patient Experience, Audience Experience…). Ultimately, Employee Experience (EX) Design and Research are growing demands. Why?

High rotation always affected the work climate and recruiting & onboarding processes cost the companies money. Work relations are changing in the last years:

  • Needs & expectations for a job have changed: e.g. flexible timetables and flexible desk locations made possible thanks to technology and the world health crisis.
  • More demand than professionals available in niches related to technology
  • Experience design tools are more established and more professionals available to apply them

Hence, companies need to deeply understand the human behind the task execution and empathize in order to be attractive for the workforce and retain talent.

However, EX design is more complex as a simple UX design, as the engagement is higher. The relationship between the employee and the employer is intense, it can cover up to the most time our working days. The touchpoint may be several hours daily, for years. Furthermore, the subject itself is of utmost importance, as our job usually provides us with the means to survive, so it is really necessary.

Employee personas are very variable

Furthermore, many variables influence our expectations and perceptions of frustrations. Employee personas can vary according to

  • the phase in their process / career (the candidate, the new, the one who’s looking to ascend…), junior / senior, time with the company…
  • Personality: the workaholic, the minimum-effort…
  • Personal situation: big social circle and hobbies, just married / just separated, kids, pets..
  • Type of contract/engagement: employee/freelancer, project-based / always-on, home office / in situ, contractual hours
  • Demographics: age, income (expectations), residency, gender, sexual preference…

As you can already see, there is no one-size-fits-all Employee Persona. This diversity has to be understood by qualitative research. E.g. moments of Truth may be very different.

Imagine the needs and expectations for yearly 1-to-1 meetings with the supervisor for Sam, a junior employee whose partner is expecting a baby and for Mary, who feels stagnant in her career after 4 years with the company and is thinking about changing to freelancer life.

In consequence, Employee Journeys vary, according to the persona and the scenario: looking for a new job, onboarding, looking to ascend…

Common needs and pain points as a starting point

However, after all, we are all humans with shared feelings, so if you are interested in improving the work experience of your employees, you may pay attention to the following common needs:

  • recognition
  • feeling seen and listened
  • get a fair economic reward
  • respect their free time
  • belonging and being treated with respect
  • auto-realization
  • purpose

Taking this into account, common pain points that have been detected are

  • Politics
  • Communication
  • Office/premises
  • Tools and means for work
  • Bosses and colleagues
  • Training
  • Motivation

If you are now intrigued and would like to know more about the state of happiness of your employees, and how to convert their pains into opportunities for long-lasting and satisfying relationships, you may consider running some EX Research in your company.

These are the resources and websites we encourage you to look at if you feel like you’d like to dig deeper into the topic:

Employee Experience by Design: How to Create an Effective EX for Competitive Advantage – a very interesting book by Emma Bridger and Belinda Gannaway, if you look for a practical guide in the world of Employee Experience
Use Employee Personas To Design Employee Experience For A Hybrid Workforce, an article by Denise Lee Yohn for Forbes, full of examples of how Employee Personas can be used in practice
Employee personas: examples – this short article by Caroline Duncan will explain to you how to create an Employee Persona just in a few steps
We also recommend you to watch this OpenHRTechTalk if you want to understand qué es el Employee Persona y qué aporta a la gestión de la comunicación interna.

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