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Five keys to optimizing employee experience


Successful organizations boost productivity by evaluating and enhancing their employees’ environments

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The battle for the hearts and minds of employees is played out daily through their workplace experiences. Organizations are now turning to creating environments conducive to a more engaged and productive workforce. They are designing employee experiences that not only attract and retain crucial talent, but that optimize the individual and the collective potential in the workplace. By optimizing experience, they optimize workforce productivity and business potential.

To better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with this trend, we conducted in-depth interviews with more than 30 individuals who had expertise in different facets of employee experience, including executives, providers of services and software tools designed to enhance employee experience, IBM subject matter experts, and seasoned researchers in this field.

Our research shows that employee experience is an important and complex issue, requiring companies to evaluate the close connection between employees’ physical, social, and cultural environments, as well as the tools and relationships they need to accomplish work on a daily basis.

In this report, we explain how our findings that the employee experience is created by interactions across three spheres, called the core components, which we define. We then delineate four methods of enhancing employee experience, based on our interviews and research findings. They include making potential changes to physical workspaces and to software tools.

From our discussions with experts, we identify five key practices that successful organizations are using to create more effective experiences for their employees.


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Meet the authors

Meredith Singer

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, Associate Partner, Global Talent & Change Center of Competence


Janet Mertens

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, Global HR Research Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value


Maria-Paz Barrientos

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, Vice President and Partner



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