For years, companies have focused on the customer experience, working diligently to ensure that the customer feels that their needs are being met at every touch point with a product or service. Although this outward look to the customer will always be critical to business success, many in the C-suite have begun to look inward and analyze how their own employees are experiencing the workplace -- everything from the ways in which they relate to their colleagues and view their corporate culture to how they work and respond to their physical environment.
The importance of creating a positive employee experience (EX) is becoming increasingly clear. According to Jacob Morgan, who analyzed more than 250 organizations for his book, The Employee Experience Advantage, companies that invested heavily in the employee experience earned more than four times the average profit and two times the average revenue compared to those that didn’t.
These are impressive statistics that are inspiring change. According to a recent Forbes article, so much attention is being given to how employees perceive their workplace environment that “2018 Will Be the Year of the Employee Experience.”
Some ways business leaders can engage and invest in their employees include the following:
Elicit Employee Feedback
Employee engagement should not be the responsibility of one person or department. Rather, the members of the C-suite and key personnel in IT, HR, facilities management, commercial real estate and PR should focus on why two-thirds of workers are disengaged at work and try to determine together how to change that abysmal statistic. Leadership can form a task force to evaluate the current office climate and consider opportunities to boost engagement.
A strong task force will include individuals who are passionate about their companies, value a positive work culture and are open to improvement and change, even if it can be uncomfortable. Task force members must also be willing to listen to hard truths and strive to create a better workplace that meets employees’ emotional and physical needs.
But even the greatest task force should not operate in a vacuum. Anonymous employee surveys can provide abundant feedback. When employees are given the opportunity to freely share their feelings, they can offer insights into the problems affecting them in the office or remotely and even provide positive solutions.
Explore Team-Building Activities
Some may think that team building is all about feel-good activities without much value. Actually, it’s an investment in your company that improves communication between employees, fosters collaboration, ignites new ideas, boosts morale and increases productivity.
There are countless team-building activities, and it’s important to select what’s right for you. Activities can range from organized training sessions to group discussions and should include employees from various parts of the company. If you don’t feel equipped to develop a program, there are professionals who specialize in team building and can help create a suitable program.
Put The Right Tools In Place To Support EX
The physical, cultural and digital workplace affect every employee regardless of his or her position within the company. Putting the tools in place to support your business’s EX for IT, HR and the facility itself will form the foundation of the overall effort.
Take recruiting and retention. A low unemployment rate and technology that enables employees to change jobs more frequently has forced companies to become more creative when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. Feel-good perks are nice, but what employees really want is office technology that mimics the technology they use at home. That means having access to everything they need to work efficiently with a few taps on their smartphone.
Inferior technology is a frustrating time-waster that can negatively affect employee satisfaction and damage a company’s reputation. Frustrated employees often voice their opinions, and a negative public image can thwart recruiting efforts.
Progressive companies provide technology that allows workers to not only have access to their databases but also gives them the ability to communicate with their colleagues, regardless of their location. The latest evolution in employee experience technology makes this possible in the form of workplace apps that allow employees to quickly locate people and places, find and reserve available space, make service requests, and more.
However, before adopting any technology, leaders need to first understand that a collaborative environment can only be achieved when all employees use hardware of equal quality. By providing employee access to the same software capabilities and features (when appropriate) and providing visibility into all of the same data, companies help to create an environment where everyone is on the same page.
Employee experience software also improves efficiency as it leverages the internet of things (IoT) and sensor technology. Gathering pertinent, timely information about the workplace and workforce via sensors can help business leaders better understand how their employees engage with the office, empower them to proactively access the services they need and give leaders the ability to make decisions for the future.
Invest In Training
Technology is only beneficial if employees know how to use it. Be sure to announce technology changes well in advance of implementation and arrange webinars to teach employees how to navigate the software. Use the original task force to help explain why these changes are beneficial and how they can help them save time and be more productive. Trained employees will be more inclined to embrace new technology.
Companies cannot expect employees to be engaged if they do not proactively ensure that the employee experience is the best that it can be. Seeking employee feedback, developing team building exercises, implementing employee experience technology, and providing learning opportunities can help engage workers and boost morale. What’s more, it can help keep your business humming for years to come.
This post was previously published June 25, 2018, on Forbes Technology Council.