The correlation between employee experience and business growth is undeniable. However, many still struggle with ‘out of touch’ or outdated employee experiences. Much like customer experience (CX), companies should create internal experiences worth sharing. By leveraging customer experience (CX) methodologies, we can begin to boost the employee experience (EX), improving the company’s bottom line and elevating external perception.
What we’ll cover:
- Cross-functional effort
- B2C is moving the bar
- Map the employee journey
- Transparency is uncomfortable, but needed
- Power of personalisation
- Let’s summarise
The power balance between companies and employees changed. Previously, companies expected employees to show up because they needed the job and the company’s resources. Today, employees expect companies to step-up because they know the competitive opportunities and can construct B2B resources of their own.
Whether through LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Instagram or talking with your friends, we are more aware of company culture and the available opportunities - both key aspects of employee experience. The employee experience is just as much a part of the brand as customer-facing marketing or a polished product. The accomplishments of companies such as Uber and Amazon are eclipsed by news of their toxic work environments.
Let’s backtrack to define ‘employee experience’. This is the holistic perception of a company from multiple interactions by an employee. Sound familiar? Well, employee experience is so very close to the definition of customer experience. Both are equally as complex, with factors including defining moments, particular touchpoints, intangible culture, select services, human interactions and targeted communication. Thus, employee experience is more than an HR task - it’s a cross-functional effort.
I am not an HR professional, but I can say that I’ve witnessed an evolution of this discipline over the last ten years. HR shifted from executing frontend recruiting, to focusing more on employee’s engagement within the company. However, employee experience, much like customer experience, is the responsibility of multiple departments. Employee experience includes everything from onboarding to yearly reviews to how we are treated day-to-day. One team or individual could be overseeing the totality of the experience, but any ‘experience’ is a sum of multiple parts.
B2C is moving the bar
Online B2C services raised employee expectations around everything from professional development to project management. Credible education can be found on portals like LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com), Coursera, Codecademy, Udemy and SkillShare. Projects can be managed using Asana, Jira, Trello and Monday. Networks can be more easily developed with LinkedIn, Meetup, conferences and other events. Company-created information portals, educational platforms or project management services many times look outdated or out-of-touch in comparison.
I get it - corporate services hing on cost, legacy systems, leadership preference and required features. However, when re-evaluating services or introducing new ones, create a benchmark from both B2C and B2B case studies. This means your case studies should include what other companies did, as well as consumer-equivalent experiences. Much like customer experience, employees will compare their interactions with something from a different industry or scenario. For example, we compare company events to our favorite summer festival, or online portals to beloved online resources.
Map the employee journey
Within customer experience, we create journey maps to understand defining moments or interactions. From a practical perspective, this is used to improve key painpoints, introduce new services or unify the overall customer experience. More importantly, journey maps are used to engage various teams, raise awareness and inspire key stakeholders. Involving different teams in the ideation process will only make them more engaged during the implementation phase.
The initial employee journey maps is a means to visualise the entire employee experience. I know, this can be daunting as an employee experience spans years. By dividing the experience into key phases, a team can more easily approach such a large task. For example, a whole session or team can be dedicated to mapping out the extended onboarding experience, from interview to the three-month internal check-in. Though there are many templates for journey mapping, customise the exercise to your needs.
Transparency is uncomfortable, but needed
Everyone in your organisation realises the employee experience is always evolving. Once your employee journey map is created, one of many (many) next steps is creating the roadmap to deliver on agreed upon improvements. Improving any experience, customer or employee, takes time. The act of socialising your intentions is an experience in itself, and will create trust and confidence amongst your company community.
Yes, transparency is scary. It means a company or team admits fault, feels more vulnerable, creates accountability and opens up sensitive conversations. This is difficult to manage for both employee and customer experiences. However, transparency will manage expectations of your employees. As employees are subconsciously comparing your manager’s insightful abilities to those of Tim Ferriss, it’s worth mentioning we are all trying to improve and in these ways.
Power of personalisation
Employees don’t want to feel like a number. This is true also for customer experience, where in both scenarios we want to feel like our specific needs or preferences are being met. Within the customer experience space, this comes to life by providing options, thoughtful offers, targeted content or preferred channel engagement. Personalised, or seemingly personalised, interactions or content increases customer loyalty. Customers, and people, feel a greater emotional connection to a brand, company or cause that values their participation and presence. This starts with one very daunting task - getting to know your workforce better.
The key take-away is that employee experience is customer experience. As someone who has managed and been managed; been in-house and in agency; and worked in and out of my home country, the ideas above require a much more in-depth discussion and thought piece. Understanding and treating employees as if they were a customer (versus a ‘resource’) - from their needs, emotions, journey and expectations - is just the start.
- Company culture and employee experience reflects the brand as much as a product or service
- Employee experience is a cross-functional effort, which goes beyond HR
- B2C experiences are shaping expectations, and are valuable case studies for B2B
- Utilise customer journey maps for employee experience to discover opportunities and solve painpoints
- Transparency and personalisation builds trust and employee connection