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Event recap: LEHRN’s Turning Employee Experience into Reality

Attendees watching John Nielson's presentation at the LEHRN event.

Pivot’s John Nielson had an opportunity to participate in LEHRN’s April Event. Here’s what he has to share…

As a past LEHRN (Leading Edge HR Network) Board Member and current change leader at Pivot Strategies, where we believe better is possible, I was thrilled to share my five E’s for a thriving employee experience and our Manifesto for generating organizational change power at LEHRN’s April 13th event.

About 75 attendees were hosted by DQ International’s employee experience team, Danielle Dubois, Tammi Walgrave, and Vincent S. Botta. Presenters included Scott Berg, Sr. Research Analyst at Needham & Company; Nicky Hoyland, CEO & co-founder of Huler; Jenny Cotie Kangas, Director, Employee Branding and Awareness at PandoLogic; and myself (John Nielson, Principle Change Management Consultant at Pivot Strategies).

I’m calling this event the “Best Minnesota Blizzard of 2023.” First, the DQ team teased us about tasty, limited-time Blizzards arriving for summer! Then they shared an overview of the success they’ve had sweetening DQ’s employee experience, in large part, tapping the power of the HulerHub. (More on that later!) Huge shout-out and thank you to the DQ team for hosting LEHRN’s spring event and for the Dilly Bar treats!

What exactly is “employee experience?”

The Huler team defined employee experience (EX) as “everything your employee sees, learns, does, and feels during the different touchpoints in the employee life cycle.”

Tough to do well in today’s complex work landscape, right? So much has changed and is in flux: location and schedule flexibility, asynchronous communication, upskilling and digital dexterity, work/life balance & right to disconnect, hybrid working, and of course, ongoing digital business transformation itself.

But getting it all right by your people is critical to the success of your business. Consider these stats from Huler:

  • 87% of employees expect their employers to support them in their work/life balance. 
  • 63% of employees wish that employers provided them with more opportunities to find purpose day to day. 
  • 75% of employees agree that new technology has made their jobs easier. 
  • 62% say they feel more productive when working remotely. 
  • 75% of virtual teams worldwide say that remote collaboration allowed them to be more effective in their jobs. 
Ok. We have a lot of work to do! Here’s what our speakers shared that can help.

All is calm on the DEX platform front.

Scott Berg, Sr. Research Analyst at Needham & Company with deep experience in the HCM tech space, checked in with a virtual update of investment activity in the digital employee experience (DEX) space. “Not a lot going on there last quarter,” he reported. But do keep an eye on the big players in the space: Microsoft Viva, Oracle ME, and SAP Qualtrics, for example. They’ll continue to aggressively work to expand their enterprise footprint doing battle with other, best-in-class, DEX point solutions such as those named in this Huler post.

LEHRN is re-booting!

Marilyn Pearson Hendricks shared all the ways LEHRN is re-launching itself in 2023. While there is a lot changing for the better, one thing remains the same: LEHRN’s original, some would say now-world-famous, handshake which we all had fun extending to one another:

An image of LEHRN's handshake

Visit LEHRN’s website for a history refresher and to stay current on upcoming events.

DEX experts had us at “employee-first.”

My DEX take is through my change, culture and leadership lens. Nicky Hoyland, CEO & co-founder of Huler, and Jenny Cotie Kangas, however, are deep DEX SMEs who engineer strategy, execution and technology every day for people in companies large and small committed to a new future of work.

Here are key points Nicky and Jenny reinforced:

  • Keep it simple and find a place to get started.
  • Get the right people around the table early and keep them there!
  • Ensure leaders are your EX champions.
  • Design for the empty chair – always!

It was Jenny who reminded us of the “empty chair concept.” She explained it this way:

“The next time you’re working on crafting an employee experience, pause for a moment and place an empty chair within your line of sight. Let this visual reminder serve as a constant nudge to prioritize your stakeholders’ needs – not your own – in every decision you make.”

It was a powerful reminder that we need to keep a “people-centered, employee-first” mindset front and center in all the business transformation work we do.

HulerHub for all!

Your toolkit for enabling "how" from Huler

Free Dilly bars were sure nice but getting a free trial of the HulerHub was also amazing! Nicky provided a complimentary EX learning toolkit to help all of us deepen authentic employee experiences. Click here to get your own!

The toolkit offers Huler-recommended sample EX modules as starting points to consider: Recruitment, Pre-boarding, Onboarding, Wellbeing, Inclusion and Work/Life Balance. Each featured the opportunity to bring all of your tools, teams and content into one place with their new smart tiles: a multitude of live and dynamic integrations, feeds and widgets. How fun and valuable is that? Thank you Nicky and team! You empowered us to move forward as change leaders with eyes-wide-open about new technologies and strategies.

The LEHRNing continued at Happy Hour!

True, no LEHRN meeting would properly close without a trip to the pub. Thanks to Workday for sponsoring Happy Hour at the Fult Tilt Tavern. Most of the day’s attendees continued our employee-experience conversations and excitement about new connections with a favorite beverage in hand.

Welcome to a world of hyper-personalization.

Orange Huler-branded donuts

It was great being part of another LEHRN event. To me, LEHRN has always been a model of hyper-personalization for its members: with its timely topics, creative formats, open & inclusive access to intimate SMEs from around the world – and yes, thoughtful treats from the DQ team and YoYo donuts custom-frosted in Huler orange!

Maybe if employee experiences were on par with LEHRN attendee experiences, we’d all be in a much better place. 😉

Thanks to all! I look forward to continuing the people-centered conversation online and in person every chance I get.

Stay close to future LEHRN events hereAnd follow our Leading Edge Human Resource Network (LEHRN) LinkedIn pageAnd as always, if you need help tackling large-scale internal communications or change projects, connect with Pivot

About the Author

John NielsonClient Lead

“Think like a marketer. Act like a change agent.” It’s John’s mantra when working to accelerate the digital change journeys of Fortune 500 organizations for the past 20 years. Expect his deep expertise in developing and deploying organizational change-management strategy & readiness activities, building and writing communication campaigns, and managing sponsors, teams & projects to educate, align, and engage all stakeholders in critical business initiatives. John also brings a fresh energy that inspires everyone to have a little fun along the way and make change stick. Proven. Creative. Gritty. Count on John for digital change leadership that sparks business transformation.

Connect with John Nielson on LinkedIn →

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