Ben Whitter of the World Employee Experience Institute is known as ‘Mr. Employee Experience.’ It’s a title he’s earned over the years as he worked in over 8 countries, giving him a unique perspective on work, employees, and leadership. Ben’s first book, “Employee Experience,” is due out soon, and today conversation dives into the heart of what the title promises.
Ben’s Path and Inspiration
Ben started work at age 14, and his experiences were on both ends of the spectrum. He points out a very simple way to gauge what kind of experience you’re having as an employee: the way you feel when you walk in the door. Do you feel like you belong, like you’re rewarded for your efforts? Do people ask you how you are? These are some of the basic components of a good experience.
Worldwide Perspective on Work
As we mentioned, Ben has worked as a consultant in over 8 countries, and he’s spent that time observing work across those cultures. He found some striking similarities. That we are all human is obvious, but we also crave the same things regardless of where we are. Ben shares in more detail what those things are, then contrasts how we go about getting those things we crave in different cultures.
How to Observe and Understand
Ben tends to go about observation differently. Where many consultants walk in with a pre-made plan, Ben immerses himself in the culture surrounding him. In other words, experience life as a local, because above all, a sense of community is incredibly important. He shares his experience as a minority in China, and the surprising way people took care of him.
On a deeper level, Ben understood the similarities early in his journey. Humans are very different, but our humanity remains the same. We are emotional creatures experiencing the world through our senses. He explains how being ‘human-centric’ has been his driving focus and what he’s seen that trips up otherwise good companies. He launched the World Employee Experience Institute to help solve these issues, and Ben shares the story of how the Institute was born.
The Employer/Employee Contract
The idea of this is simple: a work relationship provides one thing for the employer, and a different thing for the employee. But have you considered the psychological contract? This revolves around rewards, being celebrated and appreciated, and growing, learning, and thriving within an organization. It’s a relationship rather than a contract or deal. This is the holistic way to look at employee experience.
The Basic Element of Humanity
Belonging is at the top of the list and that’s why Ben has put community first. When you build something people believe in and unite them within the organization, you achieve that sense of belonging. It’s much deeper than perks and ping pong tables. Ben reveals what creates a real sense of community, and how he can ask one question and learn the state of the community.
The Vital Factors
Ben’s book, called “Employee Experience,” dives into some of the vital factors of creating a great work environment. At the center of a good experience, there is a simple, unwavering belief in what the organization is doing. Partly, it’s about the ‘why,’ the passion, but that’s not enough on its own. You also need the ‘how,’ the mission and values of the organization. Ben calls this the ‘truth’ of an organization, which you’ll find instantly when you walk in the doors. It has nothing to do with marketing gimmicks, and Ben shares how organizations can find their own truth.