Most people would agree that customers and employees are the bread and butter of a company. You can’t have one without the other, and yet often we can get too caught up on customers that the balance gets thrown off and the employees are left to pay the price.
Rather than viewing the employee experience as distinctly separate from customer experience, it instead should be treated as a fundamental part of it. The emotions and actions experienced by your employees channel directly through to the customers at the end of the chain, which is why it is crucial that they are prioritised well before the customer even comes along.
Here are our 5 essential tips that your organisation can adopt to ensure that the employee experience is something that you can regularly and effectively manage.
1. Find Out What Makes Them Tick
Before you can make any executive calls on what solutions need to be in place, your first step needs to be understanding your employees and their expectations. What makes them want to come to work every day? Many organisations jump straight to money, however this really isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to motivation. A study from Gallup found that 89% of employers think employees leave for more money when in reality only 12% do. More often than not what employees really want is to belong to a team, to have a purpose, and to make a difference through their work.
This is where personal and professional development come into play. Employees want opportunities for growth and a chance to be continually learning. This means moving beyond the traditional promotion solution to regularly asking employees what training they would like to receive and what skills they need to work on based on what customers are demanding from them. An integral part of this process is succession planning and training. Your business needs to have flexible succession plans in place so that they can be changed to accommodate different employees.
2. Update Your Rewards System
Once you’ve taken the time to determine what drives your employees, it’s a lot easier to determine what rewards will be relevant to them. Employees need to know that they’re valued, and unfortunately the stock-and-standard benefits like health insurance and vacation time don’t really cut it anymore. Sure, they’re important (and necessary), but it doesn’t tell the employee that you’re willing to step it up a notch and offer them something that isn’t standard across the industry board.
The 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report found that leading organisations are the ones that offer personalised, agile and holistic rewards systems that are geared towards motivating and developing talent. Rather than operating once-a-year rewards like vacations, businesses need to look for smaller, more frequent rewards that acknowledge the achievement of employees on a regular basis. This could be as simple as starting out with monthly peer-to-peer awards system to build a supportive network among employees. Rewards are no longer a one-size-fits all category. They need to be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of every worker.
3. Well-being Program
Well-being is an integral part of the employee experience. An employee’s health, particularly mental health, directly impacts their performance, which is why leading organisations are making well-being programs a steadfast priority. Deloitte found that unfortunately there is often a significant gap between what companies are offering and what employees value and expect. From this we can infer that there is a lack of adequate communication about this aspect across the board. The good news is that this can be rectified by ensuring discussions about well-being are included in the agenda of both individual and team meetings.
Employees need to be empowered with the opportunity to contribute their own ideas and communicate their needs when it comes to well-being practices at work. An example could be giving employees control over benefit spending so that they can decide how a certain pre-determined allowance can be used effectively for the team, such as for fitness classes or for a cosy, quiet space to relax and unwind. A critical point to acknowledge here is diversity and inclusion. Well-being needs to be a priority across the board, regardless of an someone’s age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or faith. Each employee needs to have a voice on the topic of well-being to avoid marginalisation and discrimination.
4. Keep Them in Loop
It’s never been easier to communicate, and yet many employees feel out of touch with company leaders and/or managers. Rather than working from the traditional top-down business model, organisations need to allow for feedback to come from the bottom-up. Companies need to make sure that there is regular time set aside for in-person 1-on-1s to not only provide feedback, but to also update the individual on how their role is progressing. There’s no point leaving them guessing.
An employee will feel much better knowing what goals they are meeting on a shorter-term basis so that they are always aware of their contribution to the company. As important as it is for employees to meet certain goals and KPIs you set for them, these regular meetings can also offer the opportunity for employees to put forward their own goals that they need assistance with. Companies need to be held accountable by first giving employees the opportunity to express their own goals and objectives, and then taking steps to help employees achieve them. It’s easy for a company to set up a whole stack of meetings, but what employees need is regular updates on any action taken in response to the suggestions they raised in these meetings.
5. Use Technology That Will Assist, Not Complicate
No matter how cool or swanky a new form of technology sounds, if it isn’t helping employees, it ain’t working. Employees need technology that will help to reduce the amount of time spent on medial tasks and provide them with adequate information so that they can then provide customers with all the resources they need to make the right purchase. Again, this ties back into communicating regularly with employees to find out what technology they actually need and what they find is beneficial when in practice. A successful example here is the use of AI and robotics in the healthcare industry to speed up patient service and improve medical record-keeping. This technology saves time for the employee, which ultimately saves time for the customer. Isn’t it nice when everybody wins!
Regardless of whether you use one or all five of these tips, the core message at the heart of each one is that employees are looking for signs that show them that they matter. If an employee can see that you are constantly trying to implement strategies that will help them do their best, they will be more likely want to perform at their best for you.
How does your company differentiate your employee experience? What would make someone choose to work for you rather than someone else?