open employee experience
open employee experience

It's all about the experience - also for people at work

Developing your business by improving the customer experience is also about optimizing the employee experience. How? Here’s help to fetch from a communication point of view.

By: Anna Porko, Communication Advisor, & Tina Dejan, Digital Experience Director (June 11, 2018)

Most organizations focus on continuous improvement of their customer experience. They anchor the ownership of the customer experience, bring in competencies that excel in experience design, and shape the organizations around the customer.

Organizations do this for one simple reason – because it pays off. Designing the customer experience to meet and exceed the customers’ expectations, preferences, and needs results in a competitive advantage on which companies win business.

At the core of the customer experience lie the employees – the people in your organization. They form, deliver, and innovate the customer experience. So, you could definitely argue that the customer experience relies on the employee experience – an argument fully supported by the reasons that drive customer loyalty and why customers leave.

What is employee experience?
Like customer experience, this employee experience – thing is there, whether you decide to influence it to your benefit or not.

A definition of employee experience could sound something like this: ‘Employee Experience is the sum of all interactions an employee has with an employer’.

To break this down into actionable elements, best-selling author and futurist Jacob Morgan, offers a structure that groups the employee experiences in three main environments: the cultural, the technical, and the physical.

The most important elements in each environment to investigate and address are:

open employee experience

Why bother with Employee Experience?
Studies indicate that 68% of customers leave a company because of a poor employee attitude, and 70% of customer brand perception is determined by the experience with the company’s employees. Improving the foundation for the employees’ attitude, that is the experience you offer your employees, will have a direct impact on how your customers relate to your company, and therefor also to your top line.

We live in an increasingly digital and transparent world, where employees – also driven by the rising number of millennials in the workforce – expect meaningful and enjoyable work experiences. We are no longer grateful for having a job just because we need one. We look for jobs that are meaningful to us and companies whose purpose we can identify with. Our jobs are a defining part of our lives and we are getting increasingly selective – just like customers.

Employees whose needs and expectations are met and exceeded are more productive. They are passionate and enthusiastic about their work and the organisation they work for. They align with the organisation’s mission and positively drive the organisation’s reputation and interests – in the office and out. As you can see, employee experience has a direct impact on your bottomline through higher productivity, but also through improved talent attraction, lower turnover, and lesser absenteeism.

How to take first or next steps?
We have worked on simplifying the first steps in how to take the first steps in creating a holistic employee experience design in your organization:

  1. Connect to purpose and business drivers
    First, make sure you can connect your focus on employee experience to your purpose and business drivers.
  2. Explore, discover, and generate data and insights
    Get to know your people, what makes them tick, what are their aspirations, how do they like and need to work. Use the data you already have, go talk to your people in a structured way, and don’t forget the digital workplace platforms. The technology driven platforms provide quantitative and behavioral data on channel preferences, on collaboration methods, and on informal structures within the organization.
  1. Get to know the employee experience you offer today
    The design and strategic execution must be driven by data on what the employees are actually experiencing: Where the pain points are, what is going well, what is missing, what do the employees aspire to, and what is standing in their way? Once, you understand the reality of your employees’ as human beings, you will see how to create an experience that is rewarding, motivating, engaging, and that attracts the best talent.

By comparing your findings from the points above, you will get a picture on the employees’ needs and wants contra your present offering. Align this to your business drivers and you can prioritize where to begin your efforts. Think of it as an eco-system that provides an infrastructure for continuous calibration – not a one-off project.

How can internal communication contribute?
So, what can we do to create those great employee experiences? This is not something you can do alone. You will need to align HR, IT, communication, and management – maybe facilities and sales too, to pull together.

The communication you offer internally should support the needs and preferences of the employees, not only the needs of the business. Ensure that internal and external messaging are fully aligned.

External marketing communication have already cracked this nut – think of the direct communications where all content is tailored to the recipient and delivered at the right time. They are already there. Internal communications is learning from its older sister, and doing it fast. We’re learning to utilize data to support decision making and the creation of employee experiences. And although we are one piece among many in a bigger puzzle of employee experience, let’s not be the one in the wrong spot.

If you are interested in a more detailed breakdown on how to start thinking about employee experience and driving it in your organization – have a look at our tool, Roadmap to Employee Experience, first published at our annual ChangeComm event, and soon available as a pdf. For now, get in touch and we will get a version over to you!