This is how IBM’s management and others think the epidemic has always transformed EX.

Even before the phrase “Work Experience”, or simply abbreviated EX, became the standard part of the payroll, computer giant IBM established a reputation as a leader in understanding what it takes to make its workforce happier and more productive. Since 2002 From a global enterprise training called Values ​​Jam, which allowed ordinary employees to prepare a new mission statement for a tech giant, IBM strengthened the reputation of two-way communication, including broad open conversations through which novice programmers could email. CEO directly.

But the firm’s propensity to talk about the basics became especially valuable when the employees’ experience changed in 2020. , just like their kids in the adjoining online classrooms amid the storm of Zoom conferences.

Related: How do you define EX? Create an “irresistible organization”

During the closing weeks of the COVID-19 office, the online conversation about these new stresses related to family responsibilities while working from home expanded to include senior executives and the development of an innovative document called IBM Work from Home Pledge. The document clearly shows that it was not right to turn off the camera or to turn off the camera for some meetings to fight the household crisis, or that a bad horse had mocked the walls of the partner’s wall.

Related: Here’s a look at today’s fast-changing EX technology

Damon Diner, IBM

“Because more people are going home,” even before the epidemic, “” we have always focused on the idea of ​​work / life integration as a mainstay, “said Damon Deaner, IBM’s director of փորձ experience and design. “But since the epidemic, we have shifted our focus from one species to another [workplace] travel և more to health և well-being: physical և mental. ”

The unique guarantee made IBM a follower in the corporate COVID response. But the collaborative process that created the document also showed that Big Blue was on the verge of a broader review of what it really meant for employees’ experience to move to a post-pandemic final workplace. Keys include not only a new emphasis on employees’ health, both physical and mental, but also a greater sensitivity to understanding what they need to be happy.

It is likely that the epidemic has dramatically changed the real meaning of employee experience for senior management, many of whom began to see the concept as a logical progression of customer experience in the mid-2010s. Initially, technology companies such as Airbnb, which viewed all human management activities as “Employee Experience”, largely embraced EX, focusing on remodeling offices where employees spent most of their time focusing on open space. on spontaneous stimulation. interactions, including rest (remember the football tables) or ethnic weekly meals?

The epidemic not only complicated the logistical support of work experience. Zoom meetings raised more privacy issues than spontaneity, but also shed light on more existential concerns. Top human resource managers and experts agree that the new workplace puts employee experience at the heart of the business strategy, as companies not only listen more closely to their employees but also make changes based on what they hear, which fosters a culture of well-being.

See also: Why should employee experience be a complete, personalized journey?

Andy Walker, executive director of the Willis Towers Watson Talent Awards, says his consulting survey found that during the first 18 months of the epidemic, employer perceptions of employee experience growth increased from 52% to 92%. . “The epidemic has, in fact, created a stress test for employee experience,” says Walker, explaining that many companies have taken steps to keep their doors open during the initial tight shutdowns in 2020, which required more attention from employees. human needs. sad journey.

Indeed, the abrupt interruption of daily life created a situation where millions of workers suddenly reworked everything from their career choices to where they were supposed to live. The key point of the epidemic was that some Baby Boomers retired earlier than planned, while other employees returned to school or changed occupations. Suddenly, the companies that offered these restless employees the strongest reasons to stay on the plane would gain a business advantage, not only from that continuity, but also from the enthusiasm of their employees.

Elizabeth Kihner, Capgemini Invent

“Instead of looking at the workforce as a body of employees, now that I think about employee experience, I need to focus on the individual level,” said Elizabeth Keehner, vice president of enterprise transformation at Capgemini Invent. About: “For a smaller staff,” he says, “it can be awful.”

The solution for key people is to take a more proactive approach to engaging employees, making better use of data on employees’ problems and concerns, as well as through executive training to better help company executives.

Alexandra S. Wood, an associate partner of McKinsey and Co., prepared in 2020 COVID-19 և employee experience. How can leaders take advantage of the moment?– Do you agree that open communication between managers and their employees is possible? But he emphasized the need to “make sure leaders take action on employee issues and share progress.” “Often we see organizations launching surveys or asking for feedback but not reporting results և action plans, which only makes matters worse.”

Will Bunch is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who writes about human resources and other business topics. It can be reached at