Companies have long obsessed about customer experience. Rightly so too, as the leading companies in their respective fields tend to also be the ones that enjoy the highest customer satisfaction ratings. A similar focus is now belatedly being applied to employee experience. This is in part due to increasing recognition of the impact it has on engagement and productivity, but also because of a number of other factors.
- Attracting and retaining talent —The need for organizations to differentiate in order to attract and retain the best talent as competition and scarcity intensifies
- Changing Employee mindset — Employees (not just millennials as is so often lazily opined) adopting the consumer mindset of rating, sharing opinions, and providing feedback
- The link between employee and customer experience — An increasing awareness that positive EX is a significant driver of great customer experience.
The power of feedback for productivity
“Just as customer feedback has transformed the customer experience, employee feedback is transforming the employee experience”.
As consumers, we love rating the products we buy and the services we use. Learning from the pioneer that is eBay, companies like Uber and Airbnb allow consumers to rate drivers and hosts whilst they in turn can rate passengers and guests. In the case of Airbnb, this has even enabled guests to use the ratings collected from hosts as references when renting an apartment long-term.
We are only at the early stage when it comes to realizing the full potential of employee feedback, but most readers will recognize the power of the likes of Glassdoor in influencing potential new recruits whether to join a company.
A trend that is already playing out is the revolution in the employee survey market where the traditional annual survey is being augmented (and even supplanted) with a pulse and continual listening programs. A flood of new entrants has entered this market and established survey providers have designed and launched new solutions. The extent of change that is afoot is significant and rapid.
So, how do you foster a great employee experience?
Employee experience is created by a blend of three interconnecting spheres: employees’ physical environment, their social connections and the actual work that needs to be done.
Companies generally deploy five main strategies to create more effective employee experiences:
- Personalization – creating a fit between the needs of the employee and the needs of the organization.
- Transparency – improving visibility across the organization for both employee and employer.
- Simplicity – the removal of non-value-added activities and information to streamline experiences.
- Authenticity – aligning employee experience to organizational culture and values.
- Responsiveness – enabling both employee and employer to share information and feedback, and to modify actions accordingly.
Designing employee experience for your organizational productivity
- Leverage analytics – The level of data and analysis that is typically applied to the customer experience should also be the core foundation of understanding and enhancing employee experience. Traditional employee HR information, semi-structured engagement surveys and unstructured comments from internal and external social platforms can provide invaluable insights into potential solutions to boost employee experience.
- Understand the key differentiation touch points – Identify and focus on the key areas of the employee lifecycle where employee experience has the greatest impact.
- Build a cross–functional experience coalition – Responsibility for employee experience should not just lie with HR. IT, Facilities, Marketing and especially line of business leadership also need to be part of a multi-functional approach across the blend of physical, social and task spheres highlighted earlier.
- Apply rapid, iterative design principles – Learning again from the world of customer experience, it is agile design principles and the rapid deployment of iterative parts of the puzzle that will likely prove more successful than creating one larger solution that may take years to implement.
The majority of organizations are still in the dark on the linkage between improved employee experience and the impact it has on productivity and customer experience.
Most organizations are still using traditional and primitive analytics to evaluate employee experience. This will change and it will change rapidly. The employee experience equivalent of Net Promoter (NPS) will soon be as omnipresent as it is in the world of customer experience.