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Meet the people behind the employee experience movement

Samantha Gadd and Jenny Busing are the founders of Excellent, a platform spearheading the employee experience movement – and it’s already raised $2 million NZD in its pre-seed round. With investors like Blackbird, Icehouse Ventures and more, Gadd and Busing are helping leaders in the industry unite with employees to redefine the modern workplace.

Following a tumultuous few years during the pandemic, workplace culture has flipped immensely, putting more focus on the employee experience.

During Covid-19 many working styles have been introduced such as flexible working, hybrid working and others. Gadd says after experiencing the multiple ways of working, “we can’t go back.”

Employees have really enjoyed having more flexibility and for some cutting out the commute, and doing their laundry in the day, has made life easier. They are going to want to continue having some of that,” she adds.

Through employee experience design, Gadd and Busing are creating workplaces that allow employees to share and chime in on what they think is best for the organisation.

Busing adds that employee experience design at its core is allowing everyone to have a voice about their working experience, “instead of a one size fits all practice”.

With the numerous ways of working introduced over the past few years, in a lot of cases productivity has not been affected.

Read more: Is working anywhere in the world the culture we need?

“Excellent was born out of this movement where we believe employee experience isn’t something leaders alone should be deciding. It’s the people in the company that can best understand and design the ideal work experience,” says Gadd.

“Businesses who embrace this shift will ultimately retain the best talent and enjoy the most success.”

Excellent is a platform helping organisations to implement EX design, giving employees a voice to create a modern workplace alongside their employers to create a more satisfying, productive, and happier environment to work in.

Already, Excellent is working with large New Zealand companies such as NZTE and Sharesies.

In any workplace, employees can range from different ages, ethnicities, and genders, however at the core of any working environment is humans.

“Different companies have different challenges, but we still have humans at the core,” says Gadd.

“If employers want to attract and retain the best talent, no matter what generation it is, we know the balance of power is shifting.”

Employees want to be heard and want to have a voice which is “empowering” for them, says Busing.

Over the next few years, Gadd and Busing believe that employee experience design will be an important capability in every workplace.

“We believe that employee experience design is going to be a core capability in every organisation. We believe organisations will want to learn different approaches to create an experience that enables them to attract and retain the best and drive great performance,” they say.

Gadd and Busing both say that there will always be a space for employee experience design as the idea of working is subject to different trends and evolutions.

“As trends move and change, there will be things that will evolve. What we do know now is that we’re not going backwards,” says Gadd.

The much-discussed phenomenon of “quiet quitting”, a concept in which employees are returning to only working and engaging within their dedicated work hours, doesn’t hold anything positive for employees or employers, says Gadd.

Samantha Gadd and Jenny Busing.

“At the end of the day, organisations must trust and respect employees, have open communication and create an environment where people thrive,” she adds.

“If people are quietly quitting there is a huge, missed opportunity for employees and employers to codesign a work environment and conditions that meet the needs of all parties.”

Busing adds that the quiet quitting trend is a ‘lose lose’ situation for employers and employees and shows that the employee experience is not working for many.

This is something Excellent is working to solve by tailoring the employee experience to fit the needs and wants of the employees.

But what an employee wants and needs is likely to change in the next three years and that is why it is important to have communication with employers, says Busing.

“Essentially the evolution of ideas, principals, mindsets, policies, and ways of working, means it is about always listening. The reality is we don’t know what tomorrow holds, I think 2020 showed us that,” they say.

“The great thing is when you start involving your employees, you know you’re going to stay up to date, and they are going to keep telling you what is needed now.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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