Why and How Successful Businesses Focus on Improving Employee Experience
- The quality of employee experience has a direct impact on worker productivity and efficiency.
- Providing outstanding experiences to your workforce in turn empowers them to create better customer experience.
- Optimizing employee experience requires working on a wide array of physical, technological and cultural drivers.
We may be living in an increasingly technology-oriented world, but an enterprise is still defined as an entity formed by a group of individuals that come together to work on a common business project. Accordingly, the quality of the relationships that your firm forges and maintains with your employees throughout their journey will affect virtually every aspect of your company ecosystem.
Employee Experience: A Driver of Engagement and Performance
Employee engagement is directly correlated to the perception associates have of the organization they work for and of their place and role in it. Workers that are satisfied with their experience are simply more engaged and more efficient.
We all know that disgruntled employees weigh on a company’s productivity heavily. High rates of absenteeism, sub-par production, frequent workplace accidents, open expression of frustration and dissatisfaction that negatively affects morale: these are just a few of the problems that come with a half-hearted workforce.
In contrast, happy employees are highly-engaged contributors. They complete their work more effectively and efficiently and they are willing to go the extra mile (instead of calling in sick every other day). They’re also inspired to actively engage in problem-solving, creative thinking and proactive innovation. Scientific studies have demonstrated that happier workers are consistently more creative and productive. They communicate and share their enthusiasm and their ideas, thus contributing to inspire others and catalyze a virtuous cycle.
And businesses see the results on their bottom line.
Great Employee Experience Equals Great Customer Experience
Employees who have positive work experiences are more likely to promote their employer as a great place to work and attract new talents. But they’re also way more likely to recommend the products or services of their firm. This is of particular importance for consumer-facing roles (sales or account managers, customer success, customer support, etc.). When they’re happy and engaged, they’ll genuinely do their best to understand the ins and outs of your products, which will enable them to provide better explanations and better support to your customers. Additionally, satisfied employees will probably express more positive emotions and convey better moods when engaging with customers.
All in all, better employee experience and higher employee engagement usually translate into improved customer ratings.
Positive employee experience is also a prerequisite to the launch of employee advocacy programs. Employee advocacy — whereby a company’s employees take the floor and act as spokespersons for the business or the brand — is viewed as one of the highest-ROI marketing and communication techniques.
Key Components of Employee Experience
Employee experience should be optimized across all the touchpoints and interactions that are shaping workers’ perceptions. A mix of cultural, physical, and technological factors are coming into play.
Let’s start with the physical workplace environment. Such factors as office lighting and noise level, temperature, air quality, furnishing and decoration will all influence the way employees feel at work — unless your business has adopted a remote working model, in which case your focus should rather be on providing employees with the support systems that they need to stay engaged and perform efficiently from home.
Which brings us to the technology factors. This is simply about providing employees with the tools and systems they need to do their job. While the provision of such office supplies as pens and staplers is still expected, it is technology tools that make all the difference these days. Employees, and especially Generation Y and Z workers, have grown used to seamless digital journeys, push-of-a-button transactions, and playful digital interfaces. At work, they expect state-of-the-art tools that accelerate and facilitate anytime, anywhere collaboration, that automate repetitive tasks, and that make data actionable.
Last but not least, the workplace culture and Human Resource policy are key factors shaping the employee experience. This encompasses the company’s structure and hierarchy, the leadership style, the compensation and benefits programs, and more.
How to Offer Great Experiences to Your Employees
Long story short, improving employee experience is not just a matter of promoting your Human Resource lead manager to Chief Happiness Officer and throwing in free snacks and a foosball table (although this might help!). Here are a few tips to help you create a work environment where people’ll want to show up and give the best of themselves:
- Measure employee engagement through polls and surveys, HR programs, employee feedback channels. You can’t fix engagement issues you’re not aware of!
- In addition to helping you to gather intelligence, a strong focus on employee feedback should help them to feel recognised and valued. No need to reinvent the wheel: time-tested tactics such as workshops, suggestion boxes, open door policy can do wonders to help your employees feel listened to and empowered.
- Official recognition of good and hard work always pays, although the “reward” should ideally be tailored to the employee’s role and personality (e.g. some would appreciate a public announcement, but not all).
- The opportunity to engage in training and acquire new skills and knowledge is increasingly important to workers across roles and industries.
- Last but not least, businesses that focus on values, mission and purpose tend to create better employee experiences. A sense of purpose usually goes hand in hand with a sense of fulfillment.
Valerie is Sciforma Chief Marketing Officer. Main interests: digital transformation, change management, strategy execution. Send your thoughts @valeriezeller