There’s a new phrase being bandied about. “Employee experience” is likely to be the big focus for top tier and other forward thinking businesses in the coming decade. While customer experience has been a huge focus in the last few years, businesses are now starting to realize that the customer experience typically starts, and ends, with their experience with employees and by focusing it for both existing and potential talent they can, by default, get the best talent in their organizations – and through their organizations.
Rather than putting all efforts on training employees to deliver a wonderful customer experience, organizations are starting to discover that if they make the employee experience wonderful, they are more likely to create employees that are brand fans and who then deliver a great customer experience.
While this focus doesn’t alleviate the need for customer service and customer experience training, it often does alleviate the need to train staff in “attitude”. When a company’s employee experience is great, the employees are already typically engaged with the business and great customer experience often simply follows.
There are other bi-products of creating a culture of employee engagement. The first is that the company’s recruitment spend is reduced. Engaged employees are likely to become your best source of referred staff – and good people know good people. Thus, the costs of advertising for great staff can be drastically reduced.
The second is the generation of business improvement ideas. An engaged team will have a vested interest in making the business the best it can be and, once provided with a forum to participate in the strategy of the business overall, can be an unbelievable source of ideas to help grow and evolve a business.
I’ve run a number of businesses where we’ve embraced this culture – A culture where everyone from the junior reception to me, the CEO, have participated in “ideas fests” and regular team brainstorms. I’ve got to admit that often the best ideas come from people way lower down the pecking order that the Executives of a business – and are often built on by others in the team. Put people in this environment and you’ll see them flourish and, for a CEO, there’s no better feeling in business than seeing a team all come up with and nominate themselves to drive business ideas forward.
As a large organization, this can prove challenging – but not impossible. Companies need to encourage their executive teams and managers to make employee experience number one on their agenda. Oftentimes, the other goals of the business get met simply by adopting this as your number one value.
As a business focused on flexible workforces, we see more and more of the top brands focusing on employee experience for all staff – including their casuals, part timers and roster-based staff – not just their executives – because they are at the front-line of delivering customer experience.
They are also at the staff that are the most costly to replace because they are, typically, the most transient. Employee engagement at this level can drastically reduce both the training and recruitment costs of these front-line staff and, at the same time, vastly improve the customer experience that ultimately results in money in the till.