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The Employee Experience: from Noise to Context

- longread.

Working from home, working remotely and virtual collaboration are becoming increasingly common. It goes without saying that the quality of the employee's experience to a large extent depends on smooth digital collaboration.

However, the amount and orientation of the information offered by today’s technology may become too much. Thereby, disturbing and lasting change would only reduce the learning ability of employees.

In order to thrive staff, a redesign of the entire Employee Experience is required to promote the sense of belonging of employees with each other and their business, but also to ensure that the right information and opportunities are visible at the right time.


With the volume of messages and instant messages that we receive through various channels, the amount of information in the modern workplace can be overwhelming.

No wonder American Millennials check their mobile phone 150 times a day on average, as shown by a recent survey by Qualtrics.

Data curation is the last resort for this data overload. Just like retailers, where digital advertisements are personalized to attract customers, today companies can also make the daily Employee Experience more relevant for individual employees (and therefore their focus).

By making the Employee Experience relevant for individual employees, they can grow and perform. By being more aware of what, when, which and how information is shared, you can monitor and manage it.

What helps employees thrive at work varies from country to country. Companies can help employees make choices about benefits, training, career paths and more.

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Content management - the unification of all communication via all platforms - is an emerging role for many in the HR function. From prehire to retire, the transition to people-centric knowledge management systems will definitely change the perception of it.


So Employees are often overwhelmed by information and choices. It confirms the statement "Less is more" and that makes it the ultimate challenge.

High performers are nearly four times more likely to work for a company that understands their unique skills and interests, and three times more likely to work for a company that enables rapid decision making.

Managers also see that value, because they have to identify and rank the need of the talent processes to optimize, in order to be high on the list of the top investments of the C-suite.

Helping people make choices is not just about giving more options. What employees crave is the advice that a seasoned mentor can give, but supplemented with the insights of data science that are available in the modern workplace.

Not like the cafeteria plans and flexible benefits, where too many irrelevant choices have led to little return. The same applies to self-management of the internal career path - navigating through the internal "jungle gym" of career paths can be a daunting step, making it easier to adopt a clearly defined job with another company.

Being overwhelming is also a danger for the Employee Experience. As Tom Haak (HR Trend Institute) already mentions in his article “The erosion of the Employee Experience”, several different interpretations of how the Employee Experience have led to a pandora’s box filled with Employee Experience Models.

Yet no one size fits all, it is the bottom up approach of the design that truely is the magic sauce.


A genuine digital Employee Experience for employees refers to their ability to remotely access work documents, perform intuitive HR tasks or simply collaborate and innovate with colleagues - amongst other KPI’s. Being authentic in these processes is an asset to the Employer Brand.

High performers say almost three times more that their organization offers the tools they need to do their job efficiently and fast-growing organizations are already further in their journey: they are twice as fast as moderate companies to become a fully digital Employee Experience for employees.

AI systems automate management based on known and learned information about employees, thereby ensuring relevance and impact for employees. To do this, companies must have information about what is important to the individual, what similar people value in the past, and when priorities can shift (for example, after three years in a role or after having a child).

Here is a perfect opportunity for technology to support managers, encourage them when certain conversations are relevant, and make suggestions to enrich the dialogue.

The use of Technology and AI to simplify, personalize and gamify the work experience is becoming more common. HR leaders already use AI for a large number of HR tasks: from hiring and onboarding to selecting and learning or benefits.

“When you hear about dissatisfaction, especially in technology, they are stories about people who feel isolated in the land of abundance. It is our job to establish the connection between the great place where they work, the great things we offer and how they are genuinely intended to enrich our employees. " ~ Christina Hall, Chief People Officer, LinkedIn

New Technologies are disrupting the HR Tech Market a few years now, bringing HR from Talent management to Talent Experience. New solutions, growing from startups to scale-ups, being funded or getting acquired, they are convincing organisations and companies to focus on their most valuable (and soon most wanted) resources: People.

By designing the digital Employee Experience of the Workforce the accuracy of the most important data could be guaranteed and it is the end-user that has to deliver that input - in the easiest way possible.

The Employee Experience Guide of Erik Van Vulphen (AIHR) is definitely worth mentioning here. Also check out the members of HR Tech Valley to see a sample of such innovative HR Tech providers.


With 51% of employees who show a willingness to gain experience through a single gig (an increase of 39% in 2018) it is clear that employees understand the benefits of learning at work.

It can be difficult to know which experience the correct trajectory is to promote a career(choice), yet pure career based selfservice is no longer suitable for today's working landscape, especially if the company does not facilitate the trip.

HR leaders agree: designing workforce careers,including career/talent development and (through) Internal jobplatforms, are on top of their priority list.

And there is room for progress in this increasingly critical area, with slightly more than half of employees indicating that their company makes it easy to sign up for short-term projects (55%) or investigations for career movements outside their position or company (57%). - These figures are the lowest in Japan (41% and 40% respectively).

Informed by all kinds of data, companies, managers and mentors can find support in the challenge of compiling a skill set that matches the aspirations of workers and their projectroles.

By layering in data on which experiences have been proven to drive current career progress, individuals are empowered to make sound decisions on how to grow their careers in the organization.

Effectively managing a profession is more than just giving advice; it also requires the activation of assets to realize this development. A strategy for building skills is to use (internal) talent mobility - especially for managers, but increasingly also further inside the organization and for a shorter duration.

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Managing careers thereby is impossible without an underlying career framework to structure guidance and gather new insights.

Effective talent development also requires identifying the skills needed for projectroles, challenging existing ideas about who owns talent, cataloging related learning and keeping roles explicit for development purposes.


In an environment where knowledge is broad and freely accessible, L&D needs a renewed focus so that they can continue to add value and stay relevant.

Curated learning is not new; what is changing is how it is used to shape content that is relevant to a particular ambition, to close a known skill gap or to establish connections between peers who can share expertise.

In an environment where learnability is valued and desired skills are a moving target, there is a renewed interest in not only defining valued skills, but also mapping what people have achieved.

Academic qualifications and previous assessments are poor proxies for what can bring a person into a role. There are skills that are not included in a degree (yet), because most educational systems can not keep up with the pace of the ever faster changing labourmarket needs.

According to EDX:

Top Technical Skills:

  • Machine Learning

  • Blockchain for Business

  • Deep Learning

Skills making your organisation future ready:

  • Digital Leadership

  • Digital Transformation

  • Agile Project Management

Essential Power Skills for learning to help close the gap:

  • Inclusive Leadership

  • Critical thinking & Troubleshooting

  • Business model Innovation

Employees shared that creative thinking and learning about technology are the two top skills that can help them stay competitive;

  • 56% expect their business to learn based on their level and career ambitions

  • 44% ask for a learning budget to be spent if they deem it necessary

With a Learning Experience Platform Market growing up, this challenge is an important part of the digital employee experience in times of transition.


Management Preferences are largely mapped to geographical differences. Employees in North America prefer the curated approach, while those in Asia prefer to go their own way.

The delivery may partly explain the difference - 70% of employees in Asia said their company provides advanced digital tools to support their training and development, while only 51% of employees in North America, says the same.

This data emphasizes the importance of using flexible, adaptive platforms that facilitate just-in-time, often open source, content as well as peer-to-peer knowledge exchange - because “there is no one size fits all”.

As a final statement: a combined approach with both employer and employee-driven training and implementation gives people more control over what and how they learn, while directly aligning their development with organizational goals. On top of that; they might even share their positive experiences with others..


In the search for simplicity, there will be existing blind spots. Putting it too far, it can create narrow thinking and stifle collaboration - the opposite of building broad skills. Just as automation, overmanagement also kills the experience.

Once we rid ourselves from traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future.

How do you start designing your digital Employee Experience?


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