Employee expectations are rising, and faster than the speed that companies can improve their Employee Experience (EX). Employees expect optimal interaction on every component of the work experience. Whether it’s experiential, physical, setting, functional, technical, or operational, it needs to be progressive and meaningful to the people you call “Employees”.
Here are some quick definitions as to what I am referring to.
1. Physical: Deals with the actual brick-and-mortar component of your operation. These are the physical elements that are more permanent or long term, that cannot be changed daily.
2. Setting: Refers to the controllable setting you create daily. As Disney says, “Everything speaks from the doorknobs to the dining rooms sends a message to the guest.”2 The setting communicates a message about what you can provide your Employees. This isn’t always visual, it may be the music your Employees hear when they call and are placed on hold or the mood your web site creates. The setting reveals the characteristics of your business as they appeal to the five senses of your Employee: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
3. Functional: Refers to the ease of doing business with you-PTO Policies, hours of operations, and other factors. Functionality has nothing to do with human interactions, such as being pleasant or saying please or thank you.
4. Technical: Refers to your staff’s level of expertise in their particular skills and in the company’s systems and equipment, such as product and job knowledge. Again, this has nothing to do with whether they are nice.
5. Operational: Refers to the actions that team members must execute behind the scenes before, during, and after a Employee’s experience. These actions assist in the day-to-day transactions with Employees, the tasks, compliances, and duties of our jobs.
6. Experiential: Refers to the actions that team members execute while interacting with the Employee. Those actions that make the Employee say “WOW!” The Employee is delightfully surprised. Experiential actions are the reason why Employees return, refer others, and become brand evangelists. These include Secret Service, personalization, anticipating Employee’s needs, and others.
So, the question remains, how can your organization create a great EX? The answer is far more simplistic than you might think. I want to share a portion of Sims Coaching & Consulting’s approach to this. I might be giving away the cow here but I felt like it was a good idea to share a bit.
7 ways to improve the Employee Experience
Let’s take a look at seven ways to create a great Employee Experience strategy to help you improve Employee satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenues.
1. Create a clear Employee experience vision
The first step in your Employee experience strategy is to have a clear Employee-focused vision that you can communicate with your organization. The easiest way to define this vision is to create a set of statements that act as guiding principles.
Once these principles are in place, they will drive the behavior of your organization. Every member of your team should know these principles by heart and they should be embedded into all areas of training and development.
2. Understand who your Employees are
The next step in building upon these Employee experience principles is to bring to life the different type of Employees who deal with your Employee support teams. If your organization is going to really understand Employee needs and wants, then they need to be able to connect and empathize with the situations that your Employees face.
One way to do this is to create Employee personas and give each persona a name and personality. For example, Taylor is 35 years old; she likes new technology and is tech savvy enough to follow a video tutorial on her own, whereas Malcom (42 years old) needs to be able to follow clear instructions on a web page.
By creating personas, your Employee support team can recognize who they are and understand them better. It’s also an important step in becoming truly Employee centric.
3. Create an emotional connection with your Employees
I’m sure you’ve heard the old quote, “it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it”? Well, the best Employee experiences happen when a member of your team creates an emotional connection with an Employee.
Research by the Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion as emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions.
Employees become loyal because they are emotionally attached and they remember how they feel when they use a connect.
4. Capture Employee feedback in real time
How can you tell if you are delivering a ‘WOW’ Employee experience?
You need to ask — And ideally you do this by capturing feedback in real time.
Send a follow up email to every Employee using post-interaction surveys and similar Employee experience tools to automate the process.
Of course, it’s possible to make outbound calls to Employees in order to gain more insightful feedback. Conduct skip level meetings and town halls as well. They show the employees you care and they open the door for very authentic communication.
It’s also important to tie Employee feedback to a specific Employee support agent (manager, department, etc), which shows every team member the difference they are making to the business.
5. Use a quality framework for development of your team
By following the steps above, you now know what Employees think about the quality of your service compared to the Employee experience principles you have defined. The next step is to identify the training needs for each individual member of your Employee support team (executive, management, HR, etc).
Many organizations assess the quality of phone and email communication, however, a quality framework takes this assessment one step further by scheduling and tracking your teams development through coaching, eLearning and group training.
6. Act upon regular employee feedback
Most organizations have an annual survey process where they capture the overall feedback of your team; how engaged they are and the businesses ability to deliver an exceptional service.
But, what happens in the 11 months between these survey periods?
Usually, nothing happens. And this is where continuous employee feedback can play a role using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the Employee Experience and for managers to see how staff is feeling towards the business.
For example, using project management software or social media tools, you can create a closed environment where your organization can leave continuous feedback. Most of this stuff is already in place because you use it externally for customers. Just face it internally.
7. Measure the ROI from delivering great Employee experience
And finally, how do you know if all this investment in your teams, process and technology are working and paying off?
The answer is in the business results.
Measuring Employee experience is one of the biggest challenges faced by organizations, which is why many companies use the “Net Promoter Score” or NPS, which collects valuable information by asking a single straightforward question:
“Would you recommend this company to a friend or relative?”
NPS, which was created by Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld at Bain and Company, is a highly suitable benchmark for an Employee experience metric because a lot of companies use it as the standard Customer experience measurement. And the fact that it’s simple to implement and measure makes the NPS a favorite with company boards and executive committees.
Employee expectations are higher than ever and word of mouth travels fast!
And as the Employee becomes even more empowered, it increases the importance of the Employee service experience.
Employee experience is an area that needs constant nurturing and care and with a greater focus on Employee experience strategy, companies will realize a positive impact on Employee loyalty, higher retention and increased revenues.
Live & Lead Exceptionally!