A hot topic of discussion this year (and surely in years to come) is “employee experience being the new customer experience.” Over the last decade, it’s been made abundantly clear that customer experience is a competitive differentiator. But the tides are now turning to focus on the internal experience employees have with a brand. What do their needs look like, how do they correlate with those of customers, and how can brands meet and exceed them? What exactly is the link between employee experience and customer experience? What’s the measurable value of aligning the two? The challenges? The implications?
Let’s break things down…
What does “employee experience is the new customer experience” mean?
The textbook answer: happy and engaged employees create better experiences that lead to more satisfied and loyal customers. In the last few years, it has become increasingly important for brands to create engaging, meaningful and personalized experiences not just externally for customers but internally for those within the company. It’s safe to say that employees spend more hours with their work colleagues each week than they do with their families. Creating a culture of engaged and invested employees is part of what keeps a company competitive, growing and successful. It’s no coincidence that some of today’s most beloved and top-performing brands prioritize employee experience.
What drives engagement and creates an amazing employee experience?
All in all, research shows that what people want most from their employers is permanent flexibility (being able to work wherever and whenever as needed, should the position allow); more focus on personal health and well-being (an emphasis on physical, psychological and financial wellness); and working with a purpose (getting recognition, feeling that their voice is heard, and employers stepping aside to let them do what they were hired to).
When you think about it, this really isn’t much to ask for. Technology has evolved to the point that employers can easily meet these needs. Just as we work to meet and exceed the needs of customers to secure their loyalty, we must do so to engage and retain those who work tirelessly to sustain the brand.
What are the challenges of employee engagement?
Truly, the greatest challenge of employee engagement is an inability or unwillingness of upper management to adapt to changing times. Concepts like “remote work” or “mental health and wellness” can seem whimsical or far-fetched, particularly for those of us over a certain age whose careers were shaped by more formal, “by the book” practices. It requires managers stepping out of their comfort zone into the unknown. For some, it may require overhauling managerial practices. But it’s absolutely worth it:
In a 2017 study from Businesssolver, 80% of employees said they would be willing to work more if their employers were more empathetic to their needs and how they need to work. The study also found that for each remote person on a workforce, employers save around $11,000 each year in reduced turnover. A recent study from Salesforce found that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.5x times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
The bottom line is that employees are no longer willing to settle for poor treatment, and customers want to reward brands that treat their employees well by doing more business with them. It’s a win-win-win.
How do you plan to craft a culture of high performance and service excellence with employee engagement and development best practices?