Recent years have seen the business case for focusing on employee experience laid bare, leaving HR teams to focus in on how they can improve it in a quest to drive talent attraction, retention and ultimately, business performance.
The role of employee experience in shaping the future of work is massive, but it’s also playing an increasingly important role in creating satisfying customer experiences. As a study from Glassdoor notes, “there is a strong statistical link between employee well-being reported on Glassdoor and customer satisfaction among the largest companies today.”
This is especially true in industries where contact between employees and customers plays a vital role in the customer experience. Things like tourism, retail, restaurants, healthcare and financial services.
“More and more organizations are moving from employee engagement to employee experience by embracing the concept of the Experience Economy,” Sebastien Girard, Senior Vice President of Workforce Engagement at Atrium Health said. “As Maya Angelou said: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ With this philosophy in mind, it is easy to pinpoint every moment that we can impact the work life of an employee. Every interaction should be made with the goal of generating memorable experiences at key moment in the lifecycle of the employee whether that’s the first day of work, onboarding, performance management, etc.”
For employees in these industries, a big part of the experience and sense of satisfaction derives from their ability to be a helping hand to customers in need of the services they can provide. When their efforts to do so are hampered by technology failures, process hurdles or management oversight, frustration grows and breeds a sense of resentment.
Helping Helpers Help
A big part of improving the employee experience is facilitating their ability to do their jobs effectively by providing the tools, training and ability required to create better customer experiences through their work.
As Fred Reichheld, the creator of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), said in an interview with CX Network back in March, employee experience is about “ helping your employees lead great lives of meaningful service”.
“What you can do as a boss is be accountable for putting teams in a position to win for their customers,” Reichheld remarked. “This not only creates economic success, it creates the inspirational environment where people feel like they’re living the right life if they’re in a job where they are consistently doing things that customers love and making customers’ lives better.”
More than ever, workers want their jobs and the companies that provide them to have a sense of purpose, or to create something that is useful and good for society as a whole. Fulfilling their desire to help customers helps people feel as though they are contributing something valuable and meaningful to society as a whole, something that plays into broader efforts around employee well-being. In a time where social stress is widespread and feelings of doubt and insecurity creep into even the most resilient minds, helping employees feel valued, informed and supported will go a long way toward retaining them and creating better services for customers.
Improving the Employee User Experience
To create what an article from Forbes calls the “emotional bandwidth” to care for customers, employers have to consider employee needs as they design workflows and the processes that will inhabit those workflows.
More and more, technology is playing crucial roles in those workflows, meaning HR has to be in tune with how technology influences that design from a user experience perspective. To get a better understanding of the needs employees have, HR should look to bring them to the design table when processes and technology are being fused together to create the employee experience.
“There’s a ton of wasted time and cycles because someone built out functionality without gathering input from the people who’ll be using it,” Tracey Fritcher, Global Director of HR Transformation at ServiceNow said in an interview with Forbes. “It is a disappointing miss and frustrates employees. Exclusion has some pretty awful effects. It can lead to a regrettable attrition, and it can certainly lead to diminished productivity, which affects the bottom line.”
Indeed, improved UX for employees has been linked to reductions in stress. And in the same way businesses pursue a customer experience that is low stress and high in value, they need to do the same for their employees. This means the creation of a variety of channels by which they can learn, communicate with customers and provide feedback to management, HR and IT about what’s working and what isn’t.
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