Without question, business leaders recognize the importance of the customer experience and how it impacts the success of their company. (If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be business leaders.) But how many business leaders think about the significance of the employee experience and how that affects their organization?
Back in the early 2000s, employers were most interested in “employee satisfaction.” Then around 2010, the focus shifted to “employee engagement.” But now, progressive employers are beginning to see satisfaction and engagement are just smaller components of what their workforce cares about: the employee experience.
So what is the employee experience? The employee experience is the sum of all interactions an employee has with their employer. It is the structure and culture of the organization and how the employee perceives the company overall and their role in the company.
More specifically, the employee experience is influenced by three things:
- The physical environment in which an employee works
- The tools and technologies an employer provides
- How an employer demonstrates its commitment to the health and success of employees
Here’s what you can do to make your employees happier and more loyal.
Improving the Employee Experience
Businesses invest hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars and countless hours on market research and customer satisfaction surveys to gain insight into what makes their clients tick.
They want to better understand their customers’ goals, challenges and needs because they recognize these factors impact how the customer perceives their interactions with the company — aka, the customer experience. A consistently positive customer experience leads to long-term relationships, whereas a consistently negative customer experience results in high churn.
What some organizations forget is that their employees are their first (and most important) customers. Therefore, focusing on the employee experience is even more critical than evaluating the customer experience. The time, budget and resources a company dedicates to enhancing the customer experience should never be more than what it invests in enhancing the employee experience.
The “employee” part of “employee experience” is important. You need their input. You don’t make assumptions about what your customers want in your product or service, right? Then don’t make assumptions about what your workforce wants or needs. Ask them what types of resources, technologies and spaces they believe are critical for success and then make sure they have them. No one knows how to upgrade the employee experience better than your employees themselves.
When you include employees in the decision-making process, it helps create a sense of ownership and makes them care more deeply about their contributions to the business. Just as your customers want to know their voices are being heard, your employees want to know their opinions matter, too.
The Role of Technology in the Employee Experience
Powerful, user-friendly technology is an integral part of a positive employee experience. Powerful, user-friendly technology is an integral part of your employees’ lives in general.
Every day your workforce uses some sort of technology, often as consumers. And consumer technology is empowering. It allows us to connect with people around the world and share information instantly. It’s designed with users in mind and built to make our lives easier. And just as consumer technology is designed to be customer-centric, the workplace technology your business adopts must be employee-centric. It should solve the challenges of your workforce and be something your employees can’t live without.
By providing workplace technology focused on not just meeting but exceeding the needs of your workforce, your organization proves its dedication to making the lives of its employees easier. And when you invest in your employees, they’ll invest in you.
If you’re already making an effort to improve employee engagement and employee satisfaction making the jump to improving the employee experience will be easy. All you have to do is be thoughtful, deliberate and, most importantly, listen.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.