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As a research consultant, I blend expertise in workplace research and hands-on management consulting experience.

I provide evidence-based alignment of people and business strategies, integrating diverse experiences across talent, strategy, learning, and organizational development.

I also conduct original research on human behavior in complex organizational systems, addressing critical business challenges and providing innovative insights and thought leadership.

Knowledge: organizational change management, employee engagement, competency modeling, leadership theory and development, organizational culture and climate, organizational development, performance and talent development, and human resources management

Skills: quantitative and qualitative research design and analysis, organizational diagnosis and assessments, survey design and implementation, data management, strategic planning, group facilitation, and training.

Adam Grant and Greg Stevens


For companies looking for an edge, the employee experience is increasingly a key area of focus. This article, originally published on HR Daily Advisor, provides insight into what defines the employee experience, what it takes to create it, and the benefits companies will reap if they successfully incorporate it into their culture.

A New Competitive Reality

Companies that are successful in today’s global marketplace are adept at responding to complexity. They understand the full scope of their customers’ experiences and expectations—customers who now not only include those directly interacting with the company and its products or services, but entire communities as well.

Critically, these companies possess the agility to be responsive and even anticipate the changes required to meet those expectations. Changes that often span business processes and strategies, partnerships and supplier relationships, and of course the workforce itself.

Recent data from IBM show a positive correlation between a top-rated employee experience and three-times greater returns on assets (ROA) and two-times greater returns on sales (ROS).

For companies looking to get an edge, the employee experience is increasingly a key area of focus as an enabler of this type of capability.

What Is the Employee Experience?

Much like the customer experience, the employee experience is defined as the full set of perceptions that an employee has interacting with an organization, with colleagues, and with the work itself. It is broader than either engagement or commitment, which have tended to emphasize how organizations can get more out of their human capital—a notion that still lingers from the Industrial Revolution.

Instead, a positive employee experience is about organizations creating a human workplace where employees can bring more of themselves to their work. It is about environments that support a holistic sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor. It is about the power of humanity when higher level needs are met.

What Creates a Positive Employee Experience?

Alongside the development of the first validated measure of employee experience and understanding its outcomes, research from Workhuman Analytics and Research Institute and IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute also sought to more fully understand the drivers of that experience. In that research, a set of Human Workplace Practices emerged from the data that provide insight into the ways in which companies can create a positive employee experience.

Six core principles emerged to comprise the human workplace practices, which together form a powerful and integrated philosophy of management. Based on the results of a key driver analysis, meaningful work emerged as the largest influence on the employee experience, accounting for 27%. It was closely followed by empowerment and voice (17%), feedback, recognition, and growth (16%), coworker relationships (16%), organizational trust (15%), and finally, work-life balance (9%).

There are often exponential benefits to designing work in such a way as to touch upon multiple practices. In one example from that research, a culture of social recognition increases the employee experience by 11%, tapping into the feedback, recognition, and growth driver. For a more powerful result, social recognition can also be aligned to core values, a critical piece of meaningful work, which leads to an additional improvement of 17%, or a 31% improvement over the baseline of no recognition platform.

Many such initiatives in the workplace today can be framed through the lens of these drivers, and what seems like small adjustments can lead to out-sized impact on the employee experience.

How Does the Employee Experience Benefit the Organization? 

The employee experience is no longer a nice-to-have, but increasingly a source of competitive advantage. The data from research by IBM has shown that employees with a positive experience are 32% more likely to perform at a high level and 52% less likely to leave. Critically, they are also 73% more likely to go above and beyond in their roles and devote the kind of discretionary effort that leads to business success.

It’s no secret that the level of organizational change required in an agile organization can place a strain on even the best performing employees. By emphasizing the employee experience, those stresses can be transformed into positives. Against a foundation of belonging and purpose (especially when other-focused, such as on the customers of the company or other key stakeholders), dealing with such change is easily reframed into a sense of achievement that provides energy rather than saps it away.

There are many other potential settings in which a positive employee experience benefits the employee and organization alike.

The Employee Experience and the Bottom-Line

New research from IBM has found positive relationships between the employee experience and performance, for individual employees and the business’ bottom line.

Specifically, recent data show a positive correlation between a top-rated employee experience and three-times greater returns on assets (ROA) and two-times greater returns on sales (ROS).

The employee experience is foundational in creating an organization that is agile, change-ready, and responsive to customer expectations.

Employees with positive experiences at work are more likely to approach each day with a sense of achievement and energy, which translates into downstream efficiencies revealed in positive returns on assets. They are also in a better position to meet customers where they are, working with a sense of purpose and positivity that can keep pace with changing stakeholder landscapes and achieve positive returns on sales.

For the full report, click here.

Greg Stevens is an Analytics Manager at

Workhuman Analytics Research Institute

As a member of the Strategy & Consulting Services team, responsible for contributing to the development of thought leadership in employee social recognition with supporting research and advanced analytics, delivered in a compelling way for multiple client audiences. 

He blends expertise in workplace research and hands-on management consulting experience by providing evidence-based alignment of people and business strategies, integrating diverse experiences across talent, strategy, learning, and organizational development.

Logo PrimaryPeople can learn to increase their originality, developing creative ideas to improve the world around them and seeing those ideas through to reality.

That’s the idea at the center of Adam Grant’s book, “Originals.”

It’s also an idea that reinforces one of the key pillars of the Workhuman movement – the value created when employees bring more of themselves to work. Instead of conformity, employees express diversity of thought and perspective, ultimately contributing their best work through a positive employee experience.

One way to amplify these benefits is to harness the power of the crowd to “pay attention” to originality.

Complementing several strategies Adam discusses (e.g., having leaders speak last, seeking out authentic dissenters), paying attention means more people are on the lookout for originality and more people get noticed for those same qualities.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to create barriers preventing that from happening, stifling both humanity and originality. Those barriers frequently stem from two interacting forces: an easy default of not doing or saying anything; and the complex process of converting an opportunity to give voice to a new idea into reality.

Regarding the latter, research generally supports the idea that individuals form judgments about the relative efficacy (probability of success), risks, and benefits associated with contributing.

These judgements occur against the backdrop of internalized norms and socialization experiences – a complicated way of saying that the range of acceptable behaviors are learned over time, based on what an individual has observed or experienced.

Responding to each specific moment and work situation, employees will face a choice to either contribute or remain silent, to recognize others or to ignore them.

So how can organizations encourage more contribution and not less?

Social recognition provides a practical and actionable way to leverage these research findings. The more employees are paying attention, the more likely they are to notice and recognize colleagues for their original contributions – unique ways of approaching a challenge, bringing divergent thinking to complex problems, or implementing process innovations.

Each moment provides reinforcement of shared norms where unique perspectives are valued by one’s colleagues and the organization. The collection of these moments works to decrease perceptions of the risks, raise perceptions of the benefits, and shift the default toward decisions to contribute.

There are also broader social dynamics to consider. Our research with clients has consistently found that those receiving recognition are more likely to recognize others. In other words, having someone pay attention to your original contributions may mean you are more likely to pay attention to those contributions of others. Where originality appears to be a numbers game, having these dynamics works to everyone’s advantage.

If we want to encourage more originality in our organizations, learning how may be as straightforward as having everyone pay more attention.