For most companies, the customer experience—which is how a consumer finds, perceives, purchases and interacts with a company—is top of mind. It drives research in the quest for insights. It dominates their marketing and operations department’s days and nights. And it shapes their advertising, ecommerce and customer service strategies.
But the customer experience is extremely fragile. One wrong tweet, a misfired product launch, an in-store associate unable to honor a deal found online, or just the unforeseen—and ever-changing—whims of consumer expectations, can disrupt the immense efforts made by a company to connect seamlessly with their customers.
The same issues that can disrupt the customer experience can also frustrate and discourage the employees who manage it. Today, companies ask their employees to take on more responsibility while moving lightning fast to produce results. When employees work fast they often leave gaps in their plans and make mistakes. This creates hurdles and communication breaks downs. Employees have no choice but to distance themselves from the company’s mission. They have no choice but to make it “just” a job. And the customer experience suffers because of it.
Introducing The Employee Experience
And for that reason, smart companies (like Airbnb, who recently changed their Chief Human Resources Officer’s title to Chief Employee Experience Officer) are evolving their employee experience approach by acknowledging the essence of what breeds loyalty: a positive and exciting opportunity to do great things, personal interaction and growth, and a culture of collaboration.
The employee experience is all about understanding your people and their connection to the business:
- Are employees happy working for the company?
- Do new candidates and seasoned employees believe in the company’s mission?
- Do all employees have the opportunity to be trained for success?
- Do all or most employees see a future at the company?
- Does the company make collaborating with other departments easy for its employees?
Architecting the Employee Experience
Properly architected, a positive employee experience starts before an employee even becomes an employee. It starts when they are a candidate stage and only ends when the employee leaves or retires. Properly executed, a positive employee experience creates excitement—and anticipates needs—before they can descend into discontent.
Crafting a positive Employee Experience starts by asking the right questions, and then effectively solving for them:
- How does your company represent itself to employees? What is the gap when compared to how the company presents itself to consumers?
- Are you tech-savvy or lagging behind?
- What’s the vibe of your workspace?
- What are the perks of the job? Are they tangible or intangible benefits?
- What’s the onboarding process like for new hires?
- Does ongoing training set employees up to succeed?
- Is employee effort mirrored by leadership, and appreciated?
Are the opportunities within the company clear and worth pursuing?
Human Resources, Internal Communications and Leadership must successfully address these (and many other) touchpoints to drive the employee experience. The same level of critical thinking that’s been directed toward customers needs to be matched to meet the needs of their entire workforce. The Company’s success and the customers’ satisfaction depends on it.
The employee experience and the customer experience are intertwined like a rope
Properly aligned, the two braids make the other immensely stronger; capable of lift beyond the sum of their parts. But when mismanaged, they wear the other down, fraying both experiences and straining the company’s ability to please either.
Understand your audience, address their needs, and watch as your company, your employees, and your customer base benefits because of it.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of this 6 part series: Understanding Your Audience to learn how to know what your employees expect out of your company’s employee experience.