This article is the second of a 2-part series. See Part 1.
We are in the age of knowledge work, where no employee wants to be viewed as just another part of the machinery. What’s more, we need to remember that when employees leave their desks, they are also customers. And, for the most part, they’re being treated quite well by companies that want to engage them in long-term relationships.
If they buy a new car, for example, they automatically become part of the manufacturer’s (and dealer’s) inner circle. They continue to get personalized email, phone calls, and special offers—all in the hope of developing a relationship that will turn them into brand advocates and repeat customers. Employees are eager to feel this same sense of connection to their employers as well.
Once you take the time to understand what your employees want and need, you need to take action to create and sustain an engaging employee experience. Here are four components that are key to implementing a successful employee experience initiative:
Employer branding: Tell a consistent story
- Identify your employer brand by developing a common theme that can be woven throughout your employee experience initiatives.
- Evaluate the ways in which the initiatives you’re considering mesh with the theme you want to project about your organization’s internal brand.
- Develop a communications strategy that reinforces your employer brand both internally and externally.
Research and analytics: Do your homework and focus your plans for the future
- Get executive buy-in and support for your plans.
- Identify your current levels of engagement. Consider asking employees how they personally, socially, and culturally identify with your company to better understand underlying emotions that exist.
- Gather qualitative feedback from employees through interviews or focus groups to gain deeper insight into your quantitative findings about where you’re already succeeding and where there’s room for improvement.
- Use this feedback to further develop your own employee personas, so that you can evaluate your initiatives through the perspective of each of those typical employee types.
- Map out your organization’s employee experience by imagining yourself in your employees’ shoes, through the lens of each persona. Identify the impactful high points and the low points that exist.
- Create your future plan by collaborating with organizational leaders to redefine the employee experience you want and developing a roadmap to get there.
Employee engagement and recognition: Make your offerings inclusive
- Consider the relevance of your proposed initiatives for each of the different types of workers you employ—including full-time, part-time, contingent and contract workers, and so forth—and their diverse interests.
- Don’t expect employees to have awareness of everything you offer; seek out ways to break away from email communications to help make a more memorable statement.
- Offer a variety of reward options to ensure maximum motivational appeal among all employees, including social recognition, monetary recognition, and unique experiences.
- Use analytics to monitor the popularity of each initiative among your employees and be ready to consider alternate options if something doesn’t seem to catch on.
Employee events: Say it with feeling
- Find opportunities to bring people together, in small and large settings, to help increase feelings of connectedness, inclusivity, and shared identity.
- Create unique programs with a specific purpose to increase relevancy, including kick-off events that are company-wide or for select teams; conferences to create alignment among employees or between employees, partners, and customers; incentive travel to recognize significant employee accomplishments; and recurring events to celebrate day-to-day wins and ongoing team member recognition.
Top-performing organizations have proven—and are increasingly vocal about reminding everyone—that
employees are the most important part of their businesses. And when their employees are happy, satisfied customers follow. Creating an employee experience that allows team members to thrive, both personally and professionally, will always result in a positive impact on your customers’ experiences.
In today’s business environment, customer service excellence will provide a competitive advantage.