How to create an engaging employee experience that’s every bit as good as your customers’
It’s common to hear leaders talk about creating a great customer experience. Such an ‘experience’ is intended to build a deeper connection between the organisation and its customers, improving customer satisfaction and enhancing loyalty. This approach is so powerful at creating a great customer experience that it’s surprising the employee experience hasn’t, until recently, been viewed in the same way. In fact, how employees ‘feel’ about their workplace and job role are rarely given a consideration. Thankfully change is happening.
The ‘employee experience’ is gradually becoming more interesting to employers as a means of creating strong connections with its employees. Focusing on ‘employee engagement’ is no longer sufficient and instead, employers are looking at what engagement pioneers Tracy Maylett and Matthew Wride, authors of The Employee Experience: how to attract talent, retain top performers and drive results, describe as “the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organisation in which they work”.
How can organisations go about creating an employee experience that rivals the very best customer experiences? Here are some top tips:
1. Create the right culture for employees to flourish
An organisational culture is everything and impacts the entire employee experience, from how the organisational purpose is understood and communicated, through to the opportunities staff are presented with and how wellbeing is or isn’t prioritised. To create a positive culture, the six key components that make-up an organisational culture must be scrutinised to see whether improvements can be made. These can be broken down into organisational purpose, success, opportunities, recognition, wellbeing and leadership.
2. Clarify your ‘employee experience’ vision
In the same way as organisations will form a customer vision about what it’s trying to achieve, organisations must be clear about the type of employee experience it wants its people to enjoy, and how it can turn this vision into a reality. After all, if you start on an employee experience journey without fully understanding the destination, success is unlikely follow.
3. Get leaders onboard
Leaders must be bought-into the employee experience vision so that they can roll it out from the top down. With tiny interactions between leaders and employees impacting the entire employee experience, leaders also need to recognise their key role in shaping people’s everyday experiences. Daily emails and conversations with leaders and colleagues count. The recognition they do or don’t receive. Job responsibilities and projects. The meetings they are involved in. All of these elements combine to create an employee experience which, like it or not, affects how employees engage with their organisation.
4. Focus on positive peak experiences
Research indicates that positive experiences, like celebrations of success and meaningful interactions, have the power to overshadow (or even erase) the poor or damaging experiences people have at work. Positive peak experiences help inoculate employees against the personality conflicts, frustrations, deadlines and other disappointments that occur naturally throughout any working day. In fact, according to O.C Tanner’s 2018 Global Culture Report, the key to a thriving workplace culture is creating lots of peak experiences that connect employees to purpose, accomplishment and one another.
Throughout the employee’s lifecycle, the employer must get to know what makes them ‘tick’, encourage effort, reward results and celebrate their careers in a meaningful and sincere way. Everyone wants to feel valued and connected, and peak experiences can help connect people to their own sense of purpose, to their colleagues, managers, the organisation and its customers.
5. Encourage continuous feedback
Organisations regularly capture and respond to customer feedback, but how many do the same with their employees? Organisations must prioritise continuous employee feedback rather than waiting for the annual review. This means finding time for regular one-to-ones and ensuring these are positive, honest and engaging experiences in which feedback from employees is taken onboard.
A poor employee experience makes an employee feel disengaged, cynical and disgruntled. A great employee experience is filled with meaningful interactions that help employees become connected, feel inspired and thrive. An ‘employee experience’ is therefore so much more than merely ‘engagement’ and should, like ‘the customer experience’, be used as a key indicator of organisational success.
This article is provided by OC Tanner
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