Is 2018 the year of employee experience? by Jeff Wellstead

If you had to create a list of the companies you’d like to work for – how would you go about assessing which ones would be the best fit for you? 

The problem with things like the Best Place to Work surveys is that they tend to look at tick box criteria: how well people are paid, their benefits, training budgets, if they comply with employment legislation etc. What they don’t capture are the more important things that are harder to measure, like whether someone’s work is intrinsically interesting or meaningful.

Forbes, in partnership with Just Capital, has just released a rather more compelling list to think about. Their research has gone deeper to try and identify the companies that deliver a compelling employee experience that connects with our most ‘human’ needs. Factors like whether employees care about the product or service being produced; how companies treat their customers; whether they’re sustainable and ethical; and whether they have a positive impact on the world.

These things have always been important to us, but my sense is that we’re giving them more weight than ever. Frankly, I think people are fed up working for Machiavellian executives, that are only interested in their own reputation and remuneration and who create companies that act unethically, only care about the short-term and produce mediocre products or services.

As I look ahead to 2018, I sense we’re approaching a tipping point. Let’s be honest, people have been talking about their Mission, Vision and Values or their Strategic Narrative for donkey's years, but it’s all been rhetoric. Truthfully, only a tiny minority of companies are actually managing to live what they believe in.

What’s different now, however, is that more and more companies are starting to apply the lens of employee experience to translate their story into the reality of day-to-day working. Instead of trying to retrofit people into the machine of the organisation, they’re taking a design thinking and human centred approach: starting with the person and building the organisation around them to create more natural and engaging ways of working. Perhaps most importantly, they’re doing it in a way that not only connects with what matters most to employees but which also delivers demonstrable improvements in customer experiences and business outcomes.

In my opinion, it’s these compelling results that will drive the tipping point. Pretty soon there are going to be many more companies worthy of the Forbes top employers list. And when this happens more and more employees are going to be able to vote with their feet. If you think that attracting and retaining talent is critical to your success, 2018 needs to be the year you wake up to the importance of employee experience.


The Business Transformation Network has posted this article in partnership with The Pioneers Blog


Jeff Wellstead is the founder of - an employee experience design consultancy.  

As an Employee Experience Designer who brings the promise of the "future of work" today, Jeff works with businesses of all sectors and maturities, who are urgently seeking rapid adaptation and digital transformation.

He engages with a number of human capital, agile, OD, recruitment, product & innovation and productivity specialists who have been schooled in lean startup and lean enterprise methodologies.