Chief Employee Experience Officer – Airbnb

Chief Employee Experience Officer – Airbnb

Airbnb Chief Human Resource Officer Becomes Chief Employee Experience Officer

Businesses have long recognized the importance of delivering a differentiated and engaging experience for their customers. But as Millennials have surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, companies are now applying the same philosophy of creating memorable customer experiences to keep their own employees engaged and happy. By Jeanne Meister, , Forbes

Today, forward-looking companies are well aware that top talent is looking for more than a job with benefits. While some companies create experiences central to the “place of work,” such as access to gym facilities, free massages, and gourmet food, Airbnb is building what I call the “workplace as an experience™.” The essence of the “workplace as an experience” is where all the elements of work—the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the virtual, and the aspirational—are carefully orchestrated to inspire employees.

The Workplace As An Experience

Airbnb Looks To Create memorable Workplace Experiences For Employees

Airbnb, with over 1,000,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries (now including Cuba), is a leader in the sharing economy, one where consumers stay with peers rather than staying in a traditional hotel. Just as YouTube did to television, and the Huffington Post did to mainstream media, Airbnb allows everyone to be both a contributor and a consumer. Airbnb is now taking this “contributor experience” inside to their employees, and is creating the “workplace as an experience.”

 I asked Mark Levy, Global Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb, what he thinks “workplace as an experience” means. “At Airbnb we are focused on bringing to life our mission of creating a world where you can #belonganywhere, by creating memorable workplace experiences which span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the work environment we create with them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them, and the food we share together. While these may sound like common sense, they are not. For example, our Airbnb space has moved from open space floor plan to a ‘belong anywhere working environment,’ where an employee can work from any number of workspaces, including what we call the kitchen counter, the dining room table, or the living room. This allows employees to either work alone or congregate with the folks they are working with to create the sense of belonging, rather than working from a closed-in cube, office, or dedicated desk.” The engagement scores show the impact of the Airbnb culture, with 90% of Airbnb employees recommending Airbnb as a great place to work!”

Levy’s scope of responsibilities reflects this expanded vision. Levy is responsible for not only typical HR functions such as recruiting, talent management and development, HR operations, and total rewards, but also a range of new areas which create the “workplace as an experience” vision. This expanded scope of responsibilities includes such functions as facilities, food, global citizenship, and a secret sauce of creative individuals in most offices called ground control, who focus on bringing the Airbnb culture to life through workplace environments, internal communications, as well as employee events, celebration, and recognition.

As Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder of Airbnb, says, “Everything at Airbnb is a continuation of what it’s like to be a guest in somebody’s house.” The role of Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb blurs the lines between the functions of Marketing, Communications, Real Estate, Social Responsibility, and Human Resources.

Every aspect of creating the employee experience is focused on designing an extraordinary physical, emotional, intellectual, virtual, and aspirational experience for Airbnb employees. From the tasty and healthy menus for their free meals to the meeting rooms offered are inspired by active Airbnb listings. In addition, the food service is not outsourced but a part of the Airbnb Family and the work environment.

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