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Employee experience: the new human resource management approach

Josh Plaskoff (Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




Organizations must reframe their approach to how they relate to their employees. The new multi-generational workplace demands a new way of thinking about human resource management. Putting the employee’s total experience at the center produces a very different approach, beyond increasing perks or “funifying” the workplace, to engaging the employee in the workplace. The purpose of this study is to reframe the traditional approach to human resource management that better fits that modern workplace and enables the empowerment and engagement that organizations so desperately seek.


Design thinking is applied to employee experience in an organization. By viewing employee experience as a set of holistic perceptions of that relationship, human resource management transforms into a more strategic process for engaging the employee through meaning and providing value. Six principles for employing this methodology are specified in this paper.


Perks are not the answer to employee engagement. An organization must understand each employee more deeply and co-design experiences with them that demonstrate care. It must embrace expansive and holistic thinking, face the intangible aspects of organizational life and use tools to help make them tangible, experiment and iterate, building solutions organically, while recognizing that the process is just as important, if not more important, than the product.


Organizations recognize a need for change and struggle with engaging employees. Most modern approaches to engagement and retention foundationally stem from old ways of thinking that will not work in today’s workplace. Design thinking has been applied successfully for customer experience and user experience; it is just beginning to be recognized as an approach for employee experience.



Plaskoff, J. (2017), "Employee experience: the new human resource management approach", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 136-141.



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