From engagement to experience: how does Baltic Amadeus create people organization2019 10 25
Author: Darius Dužinskas
The only constant thing is change. Old story, but very important today and especially in the context of talent acquisition and retention. For many years one of the most important indicators of HR (this is the only time I use HR conception, because I strongly believe that we cannot call ourselves resource managers in the context of employee experience) success was employee engagement index, however, today keeping engagement in our mind we start focusing on the concept of employee experience – a holistic, multidimensional way to raise, inspire people and release their potential.
For us engaged employee is the one who has the freedom to act, who is able to accomplish his or her goals, who can make decisions on his/her own, knows his/her responsibilities and tasks. However, none of us exists in a vacuum. Every single employee is surrounded by the environment, the relation between it and the employee is the creation of unique, personal experience.
Human is the core of the organization
The majority of general and people managers would agree that creating employee experience is crucial for contemporary organizations. However, I would like to start with the most important part of every business – human being. For many years, we have been calling our employees resources, today it sounds not only inappropriate but also it is flawed. People with differences and unique personalities creates the value for organization, not generalized resources. Every employee experience strategy should start with the understanding that experience must be tailored for specific people and those people is our biggest value.
Employee experience is defined by everything a person feels, sees and interacts with during his professional journey at the specific organization. This is a multilayer concept, so I will tell about employee experience referring to Baltic Amadeus experience.
First of all, we are adults. So, we act with each other like adults do. What does it mean? I believe that being an adult means having a freedom to make decisions but also not to be afraid of the responsibility that comes along with those decisions. Being a grown up is to fail and learn from the mistakes, it is respect and time management. This is how we think about our employees.
This grown up person, in the center of organization, is surrounded by three dimensions: physical environment, technologies and culture.
Physical environment that is not defined neither by space, nor by the time
It is everything that we can see, hear, smell, touch or taste. It is everything starting with work desk and chair, art on the walls and the street noise. In summary, everything that can make an impact on employees‘ wellbeing, productivity and performance. Our goal is to create he space our people can be proud of. We imagine the space that is completely open not only for our employees but also for their families, children, friends and pets. Community is important, being the part of the community is one of the fundamental need we have. Building communities inside and outside Baltic Amadeus is an essential part of our employee experience strategy.
Another important aspect in the context of physical environment is the opportunity to create your own workspace, where the values of a person and the organization meet.
Work environment erased the boundaries of physical office long time ago. Time and space do not belong to office walls because the main goal is to release the potential of an employee. We embrace our people to choose the environment where they can do it easily and comfortably, no matter if it is home or Bali. Your schedule is also the matter of your choice. We believe that adults can agree on space and time while the manager and his/her team member can hear and understand each other.
Tools and technologies – from daily life to work
World is becoming more and more digital, labor market greets people who are already digital natives, so organizations cannot let themselves stay behind. Tools we use every day are simple, intuitive and clear, if we do not have such kind of tools, we can always create them. If we foster employees’ mobility, our technologies must be accessible 24/7 in any device, anywhere in the world.
Digital generation wants the tools that it uses in its daily life, so it is important to ask ourselves if the tools we use in our work life, we communicate, share knowledge, delegate tasks with are the same as our daily technologies.
Culture is much more than free snacks
Creating and developing internal culture is a difficult and time-consuming task. Employee experience concept pays a lot of attention to the role of organizational culture.
We ca define organizational culture as a unifying system of values and beliefs which helps member of the organization to understand the way organization works. Culture is a living, changing social construct because culture itself is piece of work of humans and it shared by those humans. In other words, it is a complex social phenomenon which is impossible without a group. At the same time, the existence of this group relies on the mechanism that helps to understand how the social reality works.
One of the main conditions culture needs for existing is community that shares common history and experience. Culture is everything the group learns in certain time. It contains behavior, emotions and knowledge. Organizational culture is not a fact, but a movement best characterized by the desire of organization members (especially the new ones) to consciously or unconsciously learn, accept and adapt to the so-called rules of the game. I am sure that our task is to empower people to create organizational values, culture, goals because only then we assure that the culture will be alive not only in theory but also in practice.
Let’s start with manager’s role. We believe that culture starts from the fundamental mover of society and business – constant growth and learning. Manager is not an absolute ruler, but a mentor who notices the strengths and identifies the weak sides. His or her mission is to know, understand and educate.
We believe that it is crucial to keep in mind human and values perspective. No culture can be strong if we violate the principles of fairness and equality, if we are not honest, if we do not hear the opinion, if we do not give the instant feedback (we refused yearly performance interviews, we solve problems and evaluate results in real time) or if we underestimate our employees‘ view and experience.
I have mentioned earlier, that we act with each like adults, so we let our employees to decide what and when to learn, we give training budget we have agreed upon and BA people use it where they want.
When we say that we care about our people we understand that we cannot divide them into small parts and care about only those related to work. We care about our people physical and emotional health, well-being and happiness. Therefore, we protect employees‘ health, promote active and meaningful leisure time and healthy, valuable lifestyle.
We know – we have a long way to go toward full employee experience. We can hardly expect fast results and from the first sight it is frightening. On the other hand, while helping the members of our organization to feel good, find themselves we, people management professionals, accomplish our professional mission – create value not only for business, but most importantly for the people.
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