Prioritize and redesign key areas of the Employee Experience in order to attract and retain the best talent

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By Gary Flood, Senior Journalist, The HR Congress


In the interview, Kevin Empey, the founder of WorkMatters, is discussing the importance of redesigning the employee experience in the changing world of work, with a focus on key areas such as recruitment and onboarding. He emphasizes the need for HR and business leaders to adopt new ways of working and user experience design to attract and retain the best

Founder Of WorkMatters

Things are shaping up very well for our first real-world HR Congress learning and networking opportunity for far too long—the upcoming Employee Experience Impact Forum in Amsterdam.

Confirmed for 16-17 May, we hope you will be joining us to add your voice to the HR practitioner community’s shaping of the future of EX against the superb canvas of the famous nhow Amsterdam RAI.

However, you may not be aware of a hugely important aspect of the conference: the two excellent Masterclasses we’ve set up for you on the official ‘Masterclass Day’ of the 16th.

There, we have two world-class speakers lined up for you, starting with (from 14:30 pm for two hours) Masterclass 1 with the Netherlands’ leading expert on EX, Heleen Mes, Founder and Managing Director of HXWork.

Heleen will be telling us all about designing great experiences at work, and we have a preview of that coming—but here we’d like to briefly preview the companion tutorial, How HR is Shaping a Better (Hybrid) Employee Experience through new ways of working – Case Examples & Lessons Learned.

This is being delivered by two colleagues from Dublin-based future of work consultancy WorkMatters, the organization’s Founder, Kevin Empey, and WorkMatters Senior Consultant James Ryan. To get a sense of what these experts want to help us work on, we’re sharing a brief Q&A: and if you like what you read, don’t forget to book your Masterclass and Forum tickets here!

Hi there Mr Empey, thanks for agreeing to talk to us today. So: who is Kevin?

Happy to help all The HR Congress supporters. I’m founder of WorkMatters and a future work expert, author and 30-year practitioner in HR organization and leadership development. I support and enable HR and business leaders to shape a changing world of work.

What’s WorkMatters all about?

WorkMatters is an international organization whose purpose is to support and enable HR and business leaders and their employees to navigate and thrive in the changing world of work. We’re based in Dublin, but we work globally.

Sounds great. What are you going to be educating us on in Amsterdam?

Before I say, I do need to mention my co-tutor in the Class, James Ryan, who is a very experienced COO and CPO/chief people officer who is also an agile HR expert, practitioner, and educator. We’re doing a double-hander here so we can add in his practical experience and case studies with my theory.

What should I expect from this combination, Mr Empey?

What we’re providing is a working session on shaping the employee experience in the new hybrid world of work. We’re going to look at key elements of the employee experience such as recruitment, onboarding, and team working, and show how these experiences are being redesigned using new ways of working and user experience design for HR.

Is this content being created in light of recent events, Kevin?

In the new world of work, the whole employee experience is being reimagined and redesigned because we’re now dealing with more flexible and hybrid work experiences as opposed to in-office work experiences. As a result, HR is having to prioritize and redesign key areas of the employee experience to attract and retain the best talent.

I read stories about big companies making us all go back to the office, though.

There is a bit of that going on, but there’s no doubt the shift to a sustainable and feasible hybrid model is on. Inevitably, that inevitably involves some return to the office versus the largely remote experience we all experienced in the pandemic.

The question is how far, which is dependent on the culture and operating model of those organizations. Some are saying, ‘Just pop in for a couple of days a month,’ others are saying two, three days a week, others are saying I want you back four or five days a week and we might be we might give you a little bit of flexibility on the Mondays and Fridays, but in the majority of cases—even for people going right back to the office—there is a sense of a post-COVID rethink regarding the employee experience.

That’s all about people craving flexibility and something different from their work experience. And HR, of course, is in the position of having to be chief architect and chief facilitator of that new employee experience. We’re doing that through new ways of working in HR that will not only deliver better employee experience, but also will make HR’s work easier, and more enjoyable.

So I pay my check to go to Kevin and James’s great workshop: what should I expect?

What we’re suggesting is that, traditionally, HR would have taken it upon their shoulders to completely reengineer and redesign, say, the recruitment or the onboarding process and take on all the responsibility.

What we’re saying is no, you cannot afford to do that anymore: you’re going to have to come up with more agile, collaborative design thinking, you’re bringing new ways of working in the HR delivery of those new employee experiences—and in doing so, you’re sharing the load, you’re sharing the design work with other stakeholders, including the employees themselves, and line managers and so on.

This is all about sharing accountability for the design and implementation and very new ways of working for HR.

OK… so in essence, you will teach me in essence how to deal with the complexity of delivering a great employee experience in a changing work landscape—something like that?


Great, I’m in. How should a delegate best prepare?

Given that it’s very much a working session, I think people coming along to this session should think of priority areas of the employee experience that are of concern to them right now. That’s to say, the challenges they are facing in the rethinking or redesign of those and considering how they might have been done, or they might have been designed in the past and the pain and challenges those traditional ways of working might have produced for you.

You’d probably also benefit from a willingness to look at a different perspective and how would they like to see the HR work? How would you like to see things work differently in designing new employee experiences into the future: So, how would they like to see things differently? What are the challenges they have right now? How would you have done this in the past?

Finally, I’d say think about your current priority areas and bring all this plus an open mind—and be ready to get involved in a discussion.

Sounds terrific! I am sure The HR Congress readers will get a lot out of this. Thank you, Mr Empey, and see you in Amsterdam next month.

Tickets for one or both Masterclasses and the full Forum are available here

Written by: Eva Mezosi

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