Uplift 2020: Ushering in a New Era of Employee Experience

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alexi speaking at the uplift 2020 conference

How can organizations foster a richer, more impactful employee experience (EX)? This is the question we asked at Uplift, our annual customer conference, held this year at the Claremont Club & Spa in Berkeley, California. And the timing couldn’t be more appropriate.

As Alexi Robichaux, co-founder and CEO of BetterUp explains, “The white water world of work that we live in today is ever changing, hyper connected, and highly ambiguous. To thrive in this new world of work, it is critical, now more than ever, that our workers are equipped with the right creative capabilities—rapid decision-making skills, learning agility, a growth mindset, the ability to creatively solve problems, and compassionate leadership. To stay competitive, organizations must invest in these capabilities and the overall employee experience.”

Over the course of three days, we explored how business leaders are enhancing EX to drive productivity, reduce turnover, boost job satisfaction, and make measurable improvements in the customer experience. Leading companies also shared their innovative approaches to learning and development and investing in their people.

Here are just a few of the questions we tackled.

Is EX becoming a catch-all phrase?

Josh Bersin, one of the leading voices in the EX discussion, set the tone for the conference on the opening night with this important question. Has EX just become another problem to be solved, another checkbox for HR and onboarding programs? Or, does this view miss the mark on the true human value—the real ROI—that comes when you authentically seek to enhance your employee experience?

Why is a human-first approach to EX critical?

Joe Pine, author of The Experience Economy, reminded us that employee experiences go well beyond concepts of engagement or traditional one-size-fits-all HR approaches. Rather, he highlighted the fact that employee experiences always begin and end with the individual. Organizations that hope to improve their EX (and, by extension, business outcomes) must remember that employee experiences of any kind—and particularly transformational ones—are inherently personal.

This is just one of the reasons organizations are finding such success with our platform. Hyper-personalized, 1:1 coaching allows our customers to create truly meaningful and purpose-driven experiences at the individual level; giving employees an opportunity to reflect on their value and allowing them to feel important and included in a bottoms-up way to the success of the company.

Is EX more than engagement?

Evan Sinar, PhD, Head of Assessments at BetterUp, shared findings from our research that demonstrates engagement is only one piece of the broader EX picture. Working with data from our proprietary Employee Experience Index, he revealed six elements that have measurable impacts on EX and business outcomes: authenticity, engagement, optimism, purpose and meaning, social connection, and belonging. 

Two of our customers, Mars and Hilton, offered evidence for what happens when companies go beyond just ensuring that employees are engaged and enhance the employee experience with 1:1 coaching. After rolling out BetterUp's coaching to its employees, Hilton saw a 21% improvement in team performance and a 23% increase in employees' sense of belonging. Mars offered BetterUp coaching to its line managers and found that 78% of these employees were more likely to stay with the company.

Hyper-personalization matters: Introducing Identify AI and Coaching Clouds

Today’s workforces are more complex than ever, and it’s becoming clearer each day that no one “employee experience” works for all. Having a way to respond to employees, not just by demographics or title, but also by their individual needs, preferences, attitudes, motivations, and where they are in their career will help organizations deliver highly-customized—and thus highly effective—learning experiences. 

This is exactly why we were so excited to announce the launch of Identify AI and Coaching Clouds at Uplift. Identify AI assesses the development needs of an organization’s entire employee population by understanding where each person is in their career, their mindsets and behaviors, learning preferences, and their readiness for coaching. Based on these insights, organizations can determine who are the right people to nurture through coaching, and the appropriate level and type of coaching needed. Our three new Coaching Clouds then delivers tailored coaching to frontline employees, emerging leaders, and senior executives—allowing organizations to offer hyper-personalized growth and development programs at scale to employees at all levels.

Where are we now: A new era of EX

In today’s white water world of work, one thing is clear: companies that invest in EX outperform those that don’t. But, as we heard over and over again during Uplift, the type of investment matters. To be effective, people leaders need to start with a human-centered, individual-first approach, taking advantage of tools and technology that can help personalize experiences and measure ROI. 

As Grammy and Tony Award Winner, Leslie Odom, Jr. wrapped up the conference, he shared about his role in the Broadway hit Hamilton, saying, “I hope I’m remembered as a useful player on a championship team,” punctuating what incredible things can happen when individuals and organizations work together to create experiences that benefit each and all.