Improving your employee experience is a marathon, not a sprint.
You may not see results right away, so you have to take the long view and celebrate small victories—like a successful company outing or town hall meeting that resulted in great feedback. And just as a painful leg cramp can add an extra 10 minutes to your marathon time, you’re bound to encounter some setbacks. It’s OK to feel discouraged as long as those setbacks don’t keep you on the sidelines for long.
If you feel like your progress has stalled, here are 13 quotes to help you get back into the race.
13 Employee Experience Quotes to Inspire Workplace Leaders
“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create.”
-Jacob Morgan, keynote speaker, futurist and author of The Employee Experience Advantage
If you’re questioning whether investing in the employee experience is worth the effort, you need to read Jacob Morgan’s work. After researching hundreds of companies, he found businesses that invest heavily in the employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t. Investing in the employee experience means taking a proactive approach to the physical workplace, technology and HR policies. If you’re actively focusing on each of these three areas, you’re on the right track—and you’re already making more of an impact than you realize.
“Engaging customers and employees is about understanding–and delivering on–their needs and expectations.”
- Gavyn McLeod, Igloo Software
Your sales and marketing teams have probably taken the time to map out the typical journey your customers take to find you, consider you and ultimately make the decision to buy. You should think about your employee experience as a journey as well. Think about all the interactions a typical employee has with your organization, starting with the hiring process. Employee engagement speaker Jill Christensen even has a helpful template on her website for mapping out the employee experience journey.
“Our people-first approach, which has guided our company since it was founded, means when our company does well, our people do really, really well. Our people work incredibly hard and deserve to share in Southwest's success.”
-Gary Kelly, CEO, Southwest Airlines
The “employee first” approach has paid huge dividends for companies like Southwest Airlines. When employees share in a company’s profits as they do at Southwest, they are more likely to go the extra mile to put customers and the company first. Southwest shared $586 million in profits with its employees in 2017, the equivalent of six weeks’ worth of pay for each employee. It’s no surprise that the company continues to report record earnings.
The lesson: when you invest in the employee experience, the revenue will follow.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
– Aesop, ancient Greek storyteller
Every employee has bad days. And many times what has caused someone to have a bad day is not work-related. But many times the cause is something in the workplace. It’s in those situations where you have the opportunity to address and help resolve what is bothering them. It could be something as small as letting them vent about their frustrations. Or it may be something you simply don’t have the power to resolve. Either way, when a member of the workforce knows you’re willing to help in any way you can, it goes a long way towards a positive employee experience.
“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”
– Milton Berle, American Comedian and Actor
Good workplace leaders know how to take advantage of the unexpected opportunities they have to improve the workplace and support the workforce. Exceptional workplace leaders know how to create those opportunities themselves.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill
Never be afraid to fail. The small mistakes you make are opportunities to learn how to create an even better employee experience. Don’t be discouraged when things don’t go as you wanted or expected them to. Each slip-up is a chance to discover how to be a more skilled workplace leader.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
– Jimmy Dean, American entertainer
You may have what you believe is a fantastic workplace strategy — a roadmap for creating a great employee experience. Unfortunately, success will be hard to come by if your workforce isn’t ready or willing to adapt that strategy. For instance, people who are attached to their physical desk spaces will be less willing to move if they don’t feel like they have a quiet, comfortable place to work. If you’re taking away assigned desks, you need to make adjustments like adding extra shelving for personal items and creating more quiet spaces.
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Elevating the employee experience can’t be seen as a chore or just another workplace project. It has a much greater emotional component than most other tasks. This means in order to build a workplace that encourages positivity, you must approach the project with positivity. Whether you are pessimistic or optimistic, your workforce will respond accordingly.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., American Civil Rights Activist
Not every initiative you undertake will be successful. Sometimes you simply won’t have the resources to accomplish what you want to. But you can’t give up just because you run into a few snags on your way. Be realistic and don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal, and you’ll be much more likely to reach your destination.
“We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
– Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
One of the most critical skills a workplace leader needs is to know how to leverage the strengths of his or her team. It’s just not possible for one person to manage an entire workforce and workplace on his or her own. You must recognize that each member of your team has a different set of skills that can be used to contribute to the employee experience. Give them the freedom to use those skills.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
– Henry David Thoreau, American Essayist
Whether your workforce totals 50 or 500, each employee will have his or her own personal approach to their tasks. The key to a positive employee experience is to treat every person like the individual he or she is. In other words, adjust your communication and management styles so they best support each employee’s unique needs.
“Deal with it before it happens. Set things in order before there is confusion.”
– Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher and Writer
Many aspects of the workplace leader’s role revolve around solving unexpected issues. But the ability to proactively address potential problems is a necessary skill, too. It is much easier to manage issues that can affect the employee experience before employees even know the issue exists.
“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
– Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond, 18th Century French Writer
Making any changes in the workplace can be challenging. You may encounter resistance from the executive team and even employees themselves. But the longer you wait to implement those changes, the tougher it will be. Understand and acknowledge the obstacles you’ll encounter, have a plan to overcome them and then take the leap.
These quotes are just a few of my favorites when I need a dose of inspiration. What are yours?