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June 4, 2024

Crafting an Authentic Employee Experience

By IT Revolution

In today’s competitive talent landscape, companies must go beyond surface-level perks to create an employee experience that truly resonates with the right people. Dr. André Martin’s book Wrong Fit, Right Fit provides valuable insights into how organizations can cultivate an authentic and compelling employee experience that attracts, engages, and retains talent who are the best fit for their unique culture and ways of working.

Making Your Work Principles, Practices, and Platforms Explicit

One of the key takeaways from Dr. Martin’s book is the importance of being transparent about how your company operates on a day-to-day basis. He argues that talent wants to know upfront what it’s really like to work at your organization—not just the aspirational vision, but the actual principles, practices, and platforms that define your way of working.

By making these elements explicit, you can differentiate your company and attract people who will thrive in your environment. This means clearly articulating your work principles (the overarching guidelines for how work should feel), practices (the methods and models for how work gets done), and platforms (the technologies that support the work).

Crafting Honest and Compelling First Impressions

Another crucial aspect of the employee experience is the first impression your company makes on potential talent. Dr. Martin emphasizes the importance of being authentic and transparent in your career site, job descriptions, and early interactions with candidates.

Rather than painting a purely aspirational picture, show candidates who you really are as a company. Provide a realistic preview of what it’s like to work there, including real examples of how current employees operate. This can include videos, employee profiles, or “day in the life” content that showcases your culture and ways of working.

By being upfront and honest, you’ll build trust with candidates and help them determine whether your company is the right fit for them. Remember, fit is a two-way street—just as you’re evaluating candidates, they’re assessing whether your organization aligns with their values, working style, and career goals.

Replacing Job Descriptions with Realistic Previews

Traditional job descriptions often fail to provide a true picture of what a role entails, leading to mismatched expectations and early turnover. Dr. Martin suggests replacing generic job descriptions with realistic job previews that focus on the top deliverables for the position over the next 18-24 months.

These previews should clearly explain how the role fits into the larger organization and adds value to the company’s mission. They should also highlight the specific capabilities and experiences required for success, as well as the key challenges and opportunities the new hire will face.

By providing a more accurate and compelling picture of the role, realistic job previews can help attract candidates who are well-suited to the position and more likely to thrive long-term. They also set the stage for a more productive and fulfilling employee experience by aligning expectations from the start.

Embracing the Reality of Fit

One of the most powerful insights from Dr. Martin’s book is that no company can be the perfect fit for everyone—and that’s okay. Rather than trying to appeal to every candidate, he argues that companies should focus on attracting and selecting talent whose working styles and values align with their own.

This means being honest about your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the types of people who tend to succeed there. It also means being willing to turn away candidates who aren’t the right fit, even if they have impressive qualifications on paper.

By embracing the reality of fit, you can build a more cohesive and engaged workforce that is united by shared values and ways of working. This, in turn, can lead to higher productivity, lower turnover, and a more positive employee experience overall.

Studying Successful Teams to Define Your Employee Experience

So, how can companies go about defining and shaping their employee experience? Dr. Martin suggests starting by studying your most successful teams to understand what makes them tick.

Look for teams that consistently produce great work, collaborate effectively, and have high levels of engagement and retention. Observe how they operate on a daily basis, including their communication styles, decision-making processes, and problem-solving approaches.

By identifying the common principles, practices, and platforms that underlie their success, you can start to define a consistent employee experience framework that can be scaled across the organization. This framework should provide enough structure to create a shared understanding and minimize friction, while still allowing for some degree of team-level customization.

Communicating and Evolving Your Employee Experience

Once you’ve defined your employee experience, it’s crucial to communicate it consistently across all touchpoints—from your career site and job descriptions to your onboarding process and ongoing employee communications.

Make sure everyone in the organization understands and embodies your core principles and practices, and provide training and support to help managers and teams put them into action. Regularly seek feedback from employees to understand what’s working well and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Remember that your employee experience is not a static thing—it should evolve over time as your company grows and changes. Make a commitment to continuously monitor and adapt your approach based on feedback, industry trends, and business needs.

Conclusion

Crafting an authentic and compelling employee experience is essential for attracting and retaining right fit talent in today’s competitive landscape. By being transparent about your ways of working, creating honest first impressions, providing realistic job previews, embracing the reality of fit, and learning from your most successful teams, you can shape an employee experience that truly resonates with the people who will thrive in your organization.

As Dr. André Martin emphasizes in Wrong Fit Right Fit, this process takes effort and intentionality—but the payoff in terms of engagement, productivity, and long-term success is well worth it. By investing in your employee experience, you’re not just building a better workplace—you’re setting your company up for sustainable growth and impact.

- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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