AB Thinks  →  5th July 2022

What can organisations learn from festival season?

It was hard to miss the epic return of Glastonbury Festival this year. The event is heralded as one of the greatest festivals in the world and boasts a jaw-dropping musical line-up, a diverse mix of revellers and a long list of otherworldly activities to explore.

But if you want to dust off your wellies and head to Glastonbury, you’ve got to act quick. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tickets sell out in far less than an hour.

Amongst a sea of other festivals taking place over the summer months, what is the one core feature at the heart of its success? The experience promised to ticketholders.

Welcome to experience culture

Human beings – particularly the younger generations – seem to be eschewing ‘things’ for experiences. A study carried out in the US found that more than three quarters of millennials (78 percent) would rather spend money on an experience or event than a new possession.

This ‘experience culture’ is quietly influencing how and with whom we choose to spend our time. Forbes reported in 2019 that 65 percent of millennials are saving money to travel – higher than average compared to other generations.

Nowadays you can swap a simple trip to the cinema with an immersive 3-hour cinematic experience with set builds and actors kitted out in costumes. You can swap a trip down to the pub with a cycle around your city on a moving bar, you can even take a trip down the Thames in a hot tub bar.

Experience culture in the workplace

As the distinction between work and personal life blurs, employees are looking more and more for a fulfilling experience in their workplace too. Everything that a person encounters, feels, receives and contributes at work forms part of their employee experience.

Right from the get-go experience is everything. From the first impression you give potential employees – through to recruitment and their experience of the interview process. Through those crucial onboarding days and how their day-to-day experience in the role plays out. Even the exit experience is one to be considered.

McKinsey has defined nine categories which make up the employee experience:

  1. People and relationships. Are employees’ contributions valued by the people around them?
  2. Is there trust, collaboration and care?
  3. Social climate. Do people feel they belong within a team or community?
  4. Work organisation. Are employees equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to be successful?
  5. Work control and flexibility. Can people work efficiently with the flexibility to integrate work in their life?
  6. Growth and rewards. Are employees incentivised and rewarded appropriately?
  7. Do people feel they can make a meaningful contribution?
  8. Does the company’s technology enable good work?
  9. Physical environment. Is there safety and comfort?

How the employee experience affects the bottom line

A recent McKinsey study showed that people who rate their employee experience positively have 16 times the engagement level of employees with a negative experience, and they are eight times more likely to want to stay at a company.

Other research demonstrates that the companies that get their employee experience right score twice as high for customer satisfaction and innovation, and generate 25 percent higher profits than those who don’t.

When employees are fulfilled by their work and feel valued by their employer, they do their best work and will be more committed to their organisation. That’s why companies who think holistically about the experience they offer to their employees are the ones who will be more likely to keep their best talent and succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Experience culture in action

There are several companies offering best-in-class ‘employee experiences’.

Looking at Innocent Drinks, they offer their employees ‘Innocent scholarships’ – a £1000 voucher which encourages employees to do something that they’ve always dreamed of doing. Wiser hosts an annual Summer Festival which brings industry leaders together, Wiser Awards, where they celebrate each other’s achievements in a ‘weird and wonderful style’. It’s these initiatives that help build a strong company culture and ultimately make employees feel valued and appreciated.

It’s time to make it personal

So how can you create the best employee experience possible and keep colleagues engaged in what matters?

#1 Improve your communication models
The key to building relationships with your employees is through strong modes of communication. Review your communication models and question whether they could be stronger.

#2 Put experience at the heart of your business
Focus on employee experience at every step of the employee life cycle – from when they’re onboarded to when they depart. Are you focused on their values, growth and development? Do they feel supported?

#3 Create a positive work environment
Finally, ensure you’ve considered all aspects of your work environment, from flexibility to inclusivity and diversity. A positive work environment has proven to increase productivity, health and job satisfaction while decreasing stress and even costs.

Is it time to revamp your employee experience? Get in touch to explore how we can help.