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Interview: Carolina Cortés Sotomayor- Director of Content and Employee Experience at 13th Floor Studios

We want to highlight employee experience influencers from all over the world by sharing their stories and points of views here on our blog. Carolina lives and works in Austin, Texas as Director of Content and Employee Experience at 13th Floor Studios. She bridges the gap between HR/IC departments and Marketing for internal audiences trying to inspire employees, through engaging content, to develop their maximal potential and to help corporations attract and retain the best possible talent.

EEX Bootcamp: What does “Employee Experience” mean to you?

Carolina: It means to build a relationship between employee and company based in a real and genuine interest to know what makes people wake up every morning and makes them vibe in life, and integrate this into their job. I strongly believe the success of any organization today is based on the ability to create genuine relationships not only with their customers but also with their employees. But building a relationship requires more than just good intentions and HR programs, it requires a long-term commitment and to truly know your people, understanding their stories, experiences, and real motivations.

EEX Bootcamp: Why should companies care about their Employee Experience?

Carolina: Because the work force is changing and is demanding stronger missions and values from companies. So, in order to attract and retain the right talent, companies, they not only need to just win their minds, they need to win their hearts too. To capture and retain best talent companies must give meaning to their talent.

EEX Bootcamp: What are the keys to designing a compelling Employee Experience?

Carolina: The first step is to know your audience well, but not just the demographics (gender, age, location, background, years of services) but also to understand their real motivations, interests, attitudes, opinions and lifestyle. This is something that marketers do well for external customers but not for internal customers (employees). Second is to create a dynamic communication strategy, which is active and evolving. Consider trending marketing strategies that produce results. Clearly communicate your values and mission. Use content marketing, communication via useful and engaging content. That is going to be the glue to design your unique employee experience.

EEX Bootcamp: Which pitfalls should companies avoid when designing their Employee Experience?

Carolina: One common mistake companies make is when they design experiences for just one group or a specific target of the organization. For example, it is easy to think that the Employee Experience is most popular and effective for Millennials, but this could be a big loss of resources and ineffective at the end. The value starts when you design an experience that can be a link between different target employees as well. Another very common pitfall is to not listen enough the voice of the employees, because some companies are afraid to open the dialogue. The reality is that people want to participate and be part of a group or cause, it’s just about having a space to be heard. The best feedback is going to come from your people.

EEX Bootcamp: What’s the best EEX idea you’ve seen a company roll out/attempt and wish you’d had that idea yourself?

Carolina: I have travelled to different countries and heard a lot stories about people quitting their jobs and then start travelling and do the things they really enjoy. However, I remember one time in Guatemala, I met a girl from Canada in a coffee farm and she was working as a volunteer for one week, then she told me she was there thanks to her company, because that year the company decide to give to all the employees an extra week of pay vacations to do something that they really, really wanted to. They called it the “best week of your life”. For her, volunteering in another country was her dream. For others, it was to surprise their kids with a Disney trip, or to climb a volcano… For me that is a great example of the meaning of Employee Experience, because they are innovating in bringing benefits that provide connection with each employee’s unique life style. And in order to create this sense of community and sharing experiences, they created social media platforms.

EEX Bootcamp: How can leaders contribute to a positive employee experience?

Carolina: Leaders create Employee Experiences every day in any interaction they do with their teams, so leaders need to be developing communication and empathy skills in order to connect genuinely with their employees.

EEX Bootcamp: What three suggestions would you give to companies looking to create a great employee experience?

Carolina: Firstly, create effective communication channel with relevant content that really help you to catch your employee attention and allow you to talk with your employees. Secondly, start small but be consistent, design and create an Employee Experience is an always ON process, that is going to start to take shape with time and with the interaction of your people and the value of what you provide. Finally, measure all forms the beginning.

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