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Jacob Morgan - The Employee Experience Advantage

How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces They Want, The Tools They Need, and A Culture They Can Celebrate

Jacob Morgan is a three time best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist., TotalPicture interviewJacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan is a three time best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist.

His latest book is The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate, based on an analysis of over 250 global organizations.

Jacob's work is endorsed by the CEOs of: Cisco, T-Mobile, Best Buy, SAP, Nestle, KPMG, Schneider Electric, and many others. Welcome to a Leadership Channel Podcast on TotalPicture, I'm your host, Peter Clayton.

I met Jacob recently in New York at a CrossKnowledge event called Welcome to the Future of the Amazing Workspace, where Jacob was the keynote speaker. CrossKnowledge, which is owned by Wiley, is one of the new breed of customized digital learning solutions, partnering with organizations to help drive business outcomes by educating and engaging their employees.

Backed by an extensive research project that looked at over 150 studies and articles, featured extensive interviews with over 150 executives, and analyzed over 250 global organizations, Jacob's book clearly breaks down the three environments that make up every single employee experience at every organization around the world (culture, technology, and physical space), how to design for them, and what the tangible ROI is. Filled with case studies, examples, and frameworks, The Employee Experience Advantage guides readers on a journey of creating a place where people actually want to show up to work.


Jacob, welcome to TotalPicture. Tell us about your background. You're a young guy, what got you interested in researching HR and employment issues?

Tell us about CrossKnowledge, you're a member of their faculty?

Marshall Goldsmith, who wrote the foreward to your book, has been a guest on this show many times. I've always marvelled at the timing of Marshall's books. Jacob, how did you meet Marshall and why did you want him to write the foreword to The Employee Experience Advantage?

I'd like you to discuss the process you used in researching and writing The Employee Experience Advantage. As I mentioned in my open, you looked at over 150 studies and articles, conducted extensive interviews with over 150 executives, and analyzed over 250 global organizations. How were you able to pull all of this together?

Your book highlights the obvious billion-dollar problem. Employee engagement. What did your research uncover?

When you began this project, you thought employee experience needed to replace engagement - however, you changed your tune. What caused the shift?

How do you define employee experience? What is it?

Talk to us about the Employee Experience Score (ExS) you created and the 17 attributes which make up what you call the Reason for Being.

Based on your research, you believe that cultural environment, technological environments, and physical environments, each contribute to the Employee Experience. So I'd like you to break this down for us a bit, starting with Cultural - which you say contributes 40% to the employee experience.

What about Technological? And is this factor weighted to millennials?

And finally, I want you to talk about physical space. Several years ago I interviewed Joel Spolsky, the CEO of Stack Overflow - there's a very good reason they have a $15k espresso machine in their office! How does the physical environment contribute to employee satisfaction?

You address The War For Talent in your book, a term, I'm afraid has become so cliché is practically meaningless. However, as your research confirms, it's more real than ever.

A couple of recurring topics on the conference circuit this year: AI, machine learning, augmented reality -- all of which are rapidly changing employment, companies, jobs, even the definition of work. What can you tell us about these emerging technologies?

I want to return to this idea of The Reason for Being. Let's talk about transparency, and mission statements. My favorite on your list, by the way is Airbnb: Belong Anywhere.

Facebook scored highest out of all 252 organizations on your Employee Experience Index. What makes them special or unique?

So the pushback I often get on what you've been describing is from recruiters working in highly regulated industries: Defense contractors, healthcare, pharmaceuticals -- tell them about companies like Facebook or Zappos that allow you to bring friends and family to work to tour their offices and you'll get a lot of eye rolling.

Something I've been thinking about lately, Jacob (and you bring this up in your book), we are a list and survey crazy society -- and I think a lot of this is driven by social media -- there are tons of "Best" lists, like The Best Places to Work, The Most Admired Companies, the top 10 this or that. You really need to look at who's conducting the survey, what is the size and quality of the data they are they using, and what is their objective. (Freakonomics did a great podcast recently on choice architecture). What are your thoughts on all of these surveys?

Another topic on the recruiting and HR conference agenda is diversity - you delve into this, siting work done by Sodexo.

Why do you think it's important for companies to invest in employee experience? What's the ROI?

What did you learn in your research and writing The Employee Experience Advantage that surprised you?

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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