Skip to main content

Before the world shut down during the pandemic, I was waiting tables and feeling unfulfilled. I was struggling. 

I began an accidental experiment where I took a break from both the internet and society when the stay-at-home orders were enacted. I embraced my slower lifestyle with a sense of wonder and gratitude. During this time, I realized returning to a job not interested in investing in me was not an option.

Paige Barstow - Eizans Group Employee Experience Management Apprentice

So, I went back to my roots. With a background in education and a work history that included a variety of service-oriented roles, I took on a job that felt familiar, working closely with families and children.

Despite feeling fulfilled, I was craving more. I dragged myself from my 24-month break-up with the world because I felt called to explore the thoughts that kept me up at night. 

The work-life I had grown comfortable with in the past normalized thirteen-hour work days and breaks for cigarette smokers but little time to eat a meal, let alone enjoy something nourishing. 

Calling in sick meant being hounded for a doctor’s note before returning to work, even though many of us didn’t have health insurance to afford a visit. Discussion of mental health and wellness was not standard practice as we were told to leave “outside life” at the door and were instead encouraged to smile. 

My frustration and anxiety turned into anger. 

I knew there was a better way. But I didn’t have the language for it yet.

The Search

After searching my soul and Google, I found my tribe by way of Emma Bridger and Belinda Gannaway’s book, Employee Experience by Design. This book led me on a path of discovery where I learned that many others share my passion.   

I read.  I cried. I felt seen.  

Better still, there were names for addressing the issues that led to many of my late-night over-thinking rabbit holes.

A spark for employee experience management, employee experience design, and thinking about the future of how we work burst into flames, and I’ve been on fire ever since. 

Old ways of working and thinking are no longer sustainable or acceptable, as the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated major workplace shifts. Folks today expect more from their organizations and are willing to look elsewhere if their needs and desires still need to be met.   

Wellness advocates like myself will make it standard practice that every worker, no matter the vocation, has a purposeful experience that empowers and encourages growth.    

What lights me up is helping others understand, plan for, and empower measurable cultural change within their organizations by putting the employee experience first. 

It matters because mental health will impact this and every future generation that follows. It matters because work should mean something more than a paycheck. It matters because the ways we used to work will never be the same. 

Every individual experience matters. 

Launching 2023: Employee Experience Management Practice

I’m grateful to announce that I will be returning to school to complete my master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology. Through my apprenticeship, I will be responsible for helping to create the architecture of every workshop, program, and model. My humble mission is to make the employee experience more human, and I am overjoyed to continue growing my practice with the Eizans Group.  

Together, Dan and I will be sharing a lot about our work in the employee experience design and employee experience management spaces with a series of free tools, checklists and resources. Interested in staying in touch on the new things we share? Contact us directly, follow The Eizans Group on LinkedIn and stay tuned for a new email newsletter kicking off very soon!

Paige Barstow

Paige Barstow was an Employee Experience Management apprentice at the Eizans Group.

Leave a Reply