This article is the first of a 2-part series. See part 2.
Research has shown that positive employee experiences lead to better customer experiences and a positively affected bottom line. Creating this exceptional employee experience is increasingly challenging due to its breadth, though it encompasses all the ways (big and small) that an organization supports and interacts with its employees from the day they are recruited until the day they leave the company.
To gauge the temperature of your current employee experience, simply pose this open-ended question: “What is it like to work here?” Asking everyone in your organization this query will likely result in nearly as many different answers as there are employees. Employees’ answers will help you see both the good—and not so good—through their eyes and experiences.
Using those insights, consider next how you would want that question to be answered moving forward. This answer will allow you to shape the kind of employee experience that leads everyone in the company, no matter their role or tenure, to feel engaged, connected, and supported. By providing employees with the opportunities, tools, and programs to help them excel in and enjoy their working lives, employee experience initiatives can help organizations in a number of areas by attracting talent, embracing a strong company culture, improving engagement, recognizing achievement, boosting productivity, fueling advocacy, and retaining top performers.
What’s more, the organizations with engaged employees gain satisfied customers who use their products more. The reason is simple: An organization’s employees influence the behavior and attitudes of customers, and customers drive an organization’s profitability through the purchase and use of its products.
In the end, customers who are more satisfied with an organization’s products are less expensive to serve, use the product more, and are more profitable. In fact, companies with highly engaged workforces are 21% more profitable than those with poor engagement, according to Gallup’s most recent engagement meta-analysis report.
Focusing on employee experience can make a difference
At its simplest, employee experience is all about how your employees interact with, feel about, and respond to all the people, places, and things in your organization. It goes beyond isolated programs with a narrow focus on things such as service award recognition or physical fitness challenges.
When fully realized, employee experience encompasses an integrated approach to building an engaged, enjoyable, and productive work environment. Just as successful customer experience initiatives focus on making people feel good about a brand and what it represents, a successful employee experience initiative should demonstrate and reinforce things that make people feel good about working for their company.
A positive employee experience will help enable your company to:
- Recruit top talent, especially in times of low unemployment when brand reputation matters most
- Retain existing top talent, because keeping them engaged makes it less likely they’ll move on
- Improve customer experiences, since happier, more engaged employees provide better customer service
- Better assist all employees, by looking after the well-being of your talent throughout the employee life cycle
Satisfied, engaged employees key to company-wide success
To optimize employee engagement, leverage strategies that fuel employee self-esteem by instilling purpose, while also working to enhance a sense of belonging to a company and culture that make them feel proud. These efforts drive positive emotional experiences and, ultimately, employee engagement, retention, and advocacy.
Employees are a critical source of customer experience and often have ideas for improving your products and processes, and they can serve as the most effective ambassadors for your company. By leveraging the right tools and by offering employees autonomous authority in the workplace, you will succeed in inspiring engagement (rather than mandating it) that positively affects the bottom line.
Learn how to use a P.E.O.P.L.E. approach—professionalism, empathy, optimism, partnering, loyalty, and empowerment—to better demonstrate caring and courage and achieve maximum results.