Customer is king. We analyse customer and passenger experiences and strive to create great customer journeys. But please don’t sleep on employee experiences. That’s the message from A Close Shave, the developers of the learning and knowledge sharing platform Academy, which has written the article below.
“Employees are the new customers, and if you disregard your employees you’ll never achieve a positive customer journey. Magic is made where customer- and employee experiences meet.
“Tell me something, and I’ll forget it. Show me something, and I may remember. Give me an experience, and I’ll never forget it!”
These are the wise words of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who grasped the importance of experience economy back in the early 1800’s. In this article we’ll review why you should (still) be focused on your employees ’experiences in relation to your company.
Good experiences mean happy employees and customers
If we asked you; what is most integral to the success of your company, you’d most likely answer: “Our customers and our employees”. Rightly so. But at the end of the day, there’s no company, no services and no products without employees, which makes them the single most important factor. Having acknowledged their importance, shouldn’t they be afforded the same attention as your customers? Absolutely – if you ask us.
The two groups undeniably go hand in hand, as happy employees equal happy customers. And yet, time and time again we see major differences between the time and resources being spent to ensure successful customer journeys and positive employee journeys. You may recognise this imbalance from your own company.
As society evolves around us, our employees play a vital strategic role in a company’s brand and growth. According to Forbes, 2022 will be the year where we are forced to focus on Employee Experience. You can no longer ignore the experiences of your employees as a core strategic component.
The fact is, how your employees experience your company is key to whether or not you’ll be successful. “But what is Employee Experience?”, you might ask. We’d love to tell you.
What is Employee Experience?
Employee Experience is the sum of all the experiences an employee has with your company, both personally and professionally. These experiences occur constantly – every day, every hour, every minute. View them as an employee journey – precisely as you would a customer journey.
But what do they mean for you and your company? At what point in the employee journey should you put in extra effort to ensure a great experience for your employees and customers? Let’s take a look.
Picture Michael. In Michael’s Employee Journey he’ll go through at least 25 micro journeys alongside your company. The first micro journey is the very first time Michael hears about your company; whether it be word-of-mouth, through an ad or a chance encounter. His next micro-journey is a job application and the third an interview with HR. These micro journeys make up his overall employee journey with you, continuing throughout his employment and even after.
Every single micro-journey consists of a number of touchpoints. These touchpoints create the unique experiences Michael will go through, and some are repeated again and again, like his correspondence with upper management which is scattered throughout his career within the company. Some touchpoints may have enormous emotional importance.
Moments of Truth
Experiences with high emotional value are known as moments of truth. Michael’s job interview, his first day at work, a promotion, a raise, a leave of absence or getting handed a pink slip can all be moments of truth.
Michael’s emotional moments are vital to his employee journey. These moments are precious. Your job is to identify possible moments of truth and ensure that these experiences are as positive as possible for your employees. The better you can service your employees in moments of truth, the more loyal and engaged they will become.
There are of course certain pitfalls you must try to avoid; so-called friction points. Did Michael have a tough start due to inadequate onboarding? Does he experience daily frustrations with your archaic IT systems? Is he annoyed at how often his route doesn’t match the time schedule? Is his work suffering because he’s basing his information on outdated knowledge?
These types of barriers that complicate everyday work are friction points. As much as possible, you should try to avoid placing these en route, so your employees ’journeys can run smoothly. If for no other reason than the fact that friction points also result in lost time and money.
Some experiences in an employee journey will be small and irrelevant in the grand scope of things, others quite meaningful. Positive employee experiences are, however, key in retention and recruitment. They are also a determining factor for whether your customer experiences will be successful.
We can’t stress enough how important it is that you listen to and value your employees.
Positive employee experiences are alpha and omega
In order for your company to succeed, you must work closely with your employees and take in their constructive criticism, feedback and ideas. In the following we’ll take a look at why it is important to provide positive employee experiences.
#1 Your employees talk
We can’t avoid the major player: social media. Social media platforms are out of our hands and we have very little control over what’s written and said about us online. This gives social media great power to contribute to your company’s image.
Your employees also shape your brand. When they share a story about their workplace online, you cannot dictate what they write. But if you ensure that their experiences with you are positive, it will have an impact on how they refer to you and your business practices. In turn, positive posts provide goodwill and a boost to your brand image.
#2 Expectations of social responsibility
Companies today are expected to be social actors, not purely driven by profit. Therefore there’s equally an expectation to treat your employees well and provide an optimal work environment.
When thinking about Employee Experience, you must consider your employees as human beings, not just workers. You cannot only provide for the employee you meet during working hours – they’re the same person when they go home.
One’s professional and private lives are not easy to separate. You probably know the struggle; a bad day at work can mean high tensions at home and vice versa. The same is true for your employees. During their employment they will face emotional hurdles in their private life – divorce, death, sickness. It’s important that you can build the best support for these types of situations, even though they are not directly anchored in your workplace. You cannot ignore moments of emotional truth that are universal and inevitable.
Experiences occur in and out of the workplace. And you must provide a positive environment in all possible situations – and excel in moments that really make a difference for your employees.
#3 Experience Economy in the norm
Today all our experiences are personalised. From listening to music, streaming on Netflix or viewing advertisements online, our feeds are curated based on our habits. Services anticipate our needs, expectations, and interests.
Personalised service and experience economy is the norm. Your company has to accommodate this trend, as your employees are used to (and expectant of) the same service across all facets of work and personal life. Catering to your employees ’wants and needs will contribute to giving them a better experience.
Meanwhile, the job market is hungry for candidates, and your employees have a lot of options to go elsewhere. If you don’t ensure a good employee journey, your staff will migrate to companies that can offer a superior employee experience.
#4 Employee Experience makes its mark on the top- and bottom line
As mentioned earlier, a happy employee equals a happy customer. And as you already know, positive customer experiences mean turning a profit – the same is true for employee experiences.
One study shows that companies actively involved in bettering their Employee Experience have more than quadrupled their average profits and doubled their turnover.
To grow, you must view your employees as the new customer. This will place the employee in a central position, giving them added influence over your financial results. Your employees ’experiences carry great weight on your top line and bottom line.
There are a number of ripple effects which occur when you begin to focus on Employee Experience. Fewer sick days, fewer resignations, higher productivity, increased sales – we could go on and on. And then of course there’s employee satisfaction and motivation to consider. Good experiences boost motivation, which again has a positive effect on sales and productivity.
It’s all connected. Motivated employees with great experiences and successful journeys will undoubtedly have an effect on your sales and customer relations.
Success starts in your employees ’experiences
As you know by now, there are a vast number of possible experiences for your employees to encounter on their journey. Some of these experiences are pivotal, so mapping your Employee Journey and identifying the peaks is the best way to ensure you are ready to provide a great experience when it counts the most.
Do you accommodate your employees ’wants and needs? Do you remember to listen to them, and do you use their feedback to provide positive experiences? Are you giving them the best conditions to complete their work successfully?
If you can answer YES to all of the above, your employees are sure to stay motivated, loyal and proud to be working with you. They will feel appreciated, seen and heard. And to what end? Your employees will work hard and this will result in better customer experiences, increased job satisfaction and a boosted profit.”
Photo credit: A Close Shave