Happy employees make for happy customers. This adage still applies, especially now that many businesses regularly re-evaluate their relationships with their stakeholder ecosystem. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that underinvestment in the employee experience is a sure-fire recipe for disaster and it has a direct impact on customers.
Like customers, employees have become more savvy, discerning, and demanding, and rapid digitalisation has created a seller’s market for strong talent, enabling them to vote with their feet.
How do you create an employee experience that “sticks”, to attract and retain staff, and get them to deliver the best possible service to customers?
1. Empowering employees to deliver a great customer experience
For employees to deliver the high-quality service customers expect, you must give them the customer treatment, too, and put them at the heart of the organisation.
This means providing them with the technology and tools they need to do their job, wherever they need to do it — in the physical or digital world. But the bigger challenge is creating a culture employees want to work in.
This doesn’t necessarily require big investments. Many organisations have found that small adjustments can make all the difference to employees and, by extension, to the customer experience. Simplifying internal processes, reducing the numbers and length of meetings or cutting the number of slide presentations, are some examples of simple but effective changes.
2. Meeting employee expectations
Employee expectations of the workplace have increased significantly in the wake of the pandemic. Research shows that alignment of values is now a bigger factor for people who seek out a new employer than compensation and career advancement.
Defining a relatable corporate purpose is critical, especially when it comes to sustainability, diversity, and social equitability. But while many organisations will have the future of our planet front of mind, they must also balance this with intersecting business and economic demands.
For example, a bank in a country reliant on fossil fuel exports cannot easily pull the plug on fossil fuel investments in the current situation. What it can do, however, is show employees a well-defined roadmap for decarbonising its portfolio over time and boosting sustainable investments.
3. Giving employees a voice
Alongside a winning corporate purpose, offering employees the psychological security to speak their minds is fundamental for a positive working culture and engaged staff.
Technology plays an important part here, especially since remote and hybrid working has become the norm in many businesses.
By opening up an internal dialogue with employees about their concerns, organisations can also head off any potential activism, where staff take to external channels to get their voices heard.
4. The future of remote working
Those of us who could work from home in the pandemic proved the business case for remote working. But applying a remote-only or hybrid working model as a default opens up many challenges. These include creating effective individual touchpoints with remote employees and facilitating bonding between teams.
Current collaboration technologies are limited in this regard, but the metaverse may get us around these constraints in a not-so-distant future. We are already seeing virtual and augmented reality applications being trialled to facilitate more immerse, life-like meetings.
Employees at the centre
However, we must not get carried away by the feats of technology. Every business and its employees have different needs. The key rule for creating an attractive, engaging workplace is that its design must be built around those who work there. Employees are the primary touchpoint, not only for customers, but for the entire stakeholder ecosystem.