Employee experience (EX) is right at the top of the global business agenda in 2019 for the simple reason that it is delivering stunning results for brands worldwide. All business functions are getting their chance to craft and architect exceptional experiences that support people to be at their very best in work and life. When we talk about EX, we’re talking about every experience and interaction an employee has with a business. Everything. This is a broad and strategic approach that is challenging every support function, including HR, to take a stand on what really matters to a brand and ensure the EX reflects that. CONTRIBUTOR Ben Whitter
EX represents a bold new future for the world of work, yet in my research, I’ve found that EX is not even about employees. It’s about humans. More specifically, it’s about how companies are co-creating a human-centred and holistic experience, from pre-hire to retire, with their people that enables positive outcomes. This is a new lens and a business philosophy that is proving in practice that companies and humans can flourish together. As a result, HR has entered a major transition period. Often caught between employees and management, HR is now navigating the complexities and challenges that an EX mindset and mandate brings. A timely example that brings this all together and demonstrates how powerful an EX approach can be comes from Mynt, a company that I documented in my new book, Employee Experience.
Mynt, a fintech company, and its 620 employees have demonstrated the value an EX approach can bring to a new business in its hyper-growth stage. Based in the Philippines, the company was founded in 2015 to address the gap between people and financial inclusion in the country through mobile financial services, recognizing a big opportunity. According to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 2017):
> 66 per cent of Filipinos don’t have bank accounts.
> 35 per cent of Filipinos don’t have access to banks.
> 90 per cent of Filipinos don’t have credit scores (95 per cent don’t have credit cards)
> There is 20 per cent monthly interest from informal lenders.
With a population of 106 million, of which 50 per cent are unique smartphone users according to the Digital in 2018 report (Kemp, 2018), the Philippines market was viewed to be ripe for disruption. Traditional financial institutions have not provided a large majority of Filipinos with inclusive financial services. Mynt set out to disrupt mainstream financial services to serve millions of financially underserved consumers in the country. That’s the opportunity and resulted in the company’s vision of ‘a cashless nation leading to finance for all’ with a mission to provide secure, accessible, and convenient fintech solutions to individuals, businesses and organizations. The purpose and mission combined with Mynt’s values sum up what’s important (and expected) at Mynt:
> We are passionately customer-focused.
> We genuinely care for each other & care like owners.
> We are fearlessly innovative, doing more with less.
> We act fast & learn faster.
> We are deliberately inclusive & collaborative
> … with integrity, excellence and *Malasakit.
*Malasakit is an instantly recognizable and meaningful word in Filipino culture. It has no direct translation into English. It is somewhat of a superword that stands for accountability, compassion, ownership and putting the interests of others first.
Embedding an EX mindset and structure
In creating Mynt, the company had to really step back and consider how they affected outcomes in this innovative new company. This was a company far removed from the way a typical business in the Philippines would operate. The focus went to the holistic EX. At the very outset, the newly minted Vice President for Human Resources, Nico Angelo Mallillin, was already a committed follower of EX. Almost immediately, Mallillin made the case to his senior leadership team that EX would help unlock growth and deliver on business objectives. The EX agenda was welcomed by the company and the CEO. This included the rewiring of HR to EX, including the transformation of Mallillin’s role into Chief EX Officer, a role that reports directly to the CEO and is accountable for the holistic EX. With this mandate set, the future was clear. Experience is everything. EX was introduced as a discipline into the HR function and the group’s name is now ‘employee experience’ and not traditional ‘human resources’.
The company really had to define the EX in a way that aligned well with the people they wanted to attract to work within the business. With the initial momentum, Mynt started to establish an EX mindset. This meant the company would need to be enabled and empowered with ownership and control over the quality of EX with the understanding that EX was a long-term approach, led by employees and leaders to co-create experiences using design thinking and other methodologies. The onus was on putting humans at the centre of the business through EX. Mallillin said, ‘the Leadership team really understood that to grow at scale the company really needed to focus on the people and EX. This is entirely different from traditional companies in Philippines and we moved a lot faster because of senior support and sponsorship.’
EX was deeply structured into the business and was the predominant theme within HR. Mallillin, being positioned as a full member of the management team, had a significant advantage in leading EX from the top of the business and working with peers to effect and align positive change across multiple functions. Like most organizations starting the EX journey, Mynt built their approach from scratch alongside ensuring the core HR functions were in place. They realized quickly that the typical HR approach alone was nowhere near enough.
EX as a competitive advantage
‘We cannot compete on pay and benefits with the major international organizations, but we do compete through our EX. Our growth is a strong indicator of how EX has affected our performance and the fact that most of our roles are filled through referrals is further evidence that EX has been transformative for our business. The key business measure the business looks at is not revenue, but how people are using our products and services through their mobile phones to make their lives easier every day. Two years ago, there were less than half a million active users. Today, it has grown to almost six times that level with people using our products and services, which is a true measure of financial inclusion in a “cash is king” Filipino culture,’ said Mallillin.
A big part of this success for Mynt has been its ability to attract a workforce that is open to learn, passionate about making a difference and using their voice to effect positive change.
‘HR policy and process creation now revolves around the kind of experience Mynt would like to design for and with employees. It is no longer about starting with a policy or process to force or dictate an undesirable EX, but the other way around. This is a significant shift in HR practice. The company is focused on the emotions and feelings that employees would want to experience during each touchpoint or interaction with the business. Whatever is within our control, we apply EX as the basis to move us forward,’ said Mallillin.
The most impactful outcome of the EX? At Mynt, it is the way that employees have embraced their role in driving and championing how they should do things. They are not afraid of HR, which is common within a lot of companies. That’s because employees are now co-creating the EX and their feedback and involvement is key; an employee even named the company, and employees also co-designed all the office spaces, and co-create employee programmes, HR processes and policies within EX.
Mynt has experienced several notable results including a 6 × increase in its employee population in a couple of years, ignited by an incredible 80 per cent ratio of roles in the first two years being filled based on direct referrals from employees. In just one year of shifting to an EX mindset since the company’s creation, it grew its engagement score to 92 per cent based on a recognized global benchmark. This is EX in full flow for a small, and fast-growing company, and when things line up, this organization proves that EX is powerful beyond singular measures.