If you think the success of your company starts with excellent customer experiences, you are in good company. But that’s not quite the whole picture. While it’s true that customers hold the cash and they dole out more of it when you treat them well, it’s also true that behind every positive customer experience is a dedicated employee.
Call center interactions, web designs, chat functions, email newsletters, advertising copy and in-store experiences – in short, every interaction the customer has with your brand – all rest on the commitment of your employees to serve customers well.
Not only that, but employees hold the keys to innovation, productivity and growth. But today’s workers no longer feel the loyalty to an employer that previous generations did. It’s not uncommon for people to switch jobs after a year or less, and with the unemployment rate hovering at just below four percent, talented workers don’t feel the need to stay in a job they don’t love.
And that’s why employee experience matters.
How to Create Teams of Employees Who Want to Come to Work
Wouldn’t it be great if you had whole teams full of people who loved their jobs and felt like they were doing something of value? Employees like that aren’t as rare as you might think. Most people want to do work that matters, but it’s up to employers to show them how and why their jobs fit into a larger mission. And that (not necessarily more perks and a fun work environment) is what forms the basis of engagement.
No matter where they fall in the employment life cycle, positive workplace experiences share these 5 elements:
- Recognition – Recognition reinforces the kind of culture you want to create in your organization, and it promotes the behaviors that support that culture. Formal recognition programs promote active, regular recognition using awards, incentives, and sometimes competition. But recognition must also involve one-on-one interactions with managers and executives. Personalizing these types of recognition can strengthen the employee experience as you recognize the unique strengths of each team member.
- Communication – Employees repeatedly emphasize communication as an important factor in their decisions about a job. Candidates may choose not to take a job if communication is poor during the application and interview stage, and employees may not stay with a company if communication styles are ineffective or infrequent. The good news is that communication is easier now than it ever has been, thanks to tools like automated emails, chatbots and mobile alerts. Still, personalized communication is not a thing of the past. Picking up the phone and calling a candidate or sending a handwritten note to an employee still makes a deep impression, especially since fewer companies make the effort these days.
- Personalization – Personalized marketing has become the Holy Grail for building customer loyalty and relationships, and for good reason. People respond better to ads that feature products and services they need or want. Not surprisingly, the same thing is true in the workforce. By personalizing rewards, opportunities and interactions to the strengths of the candidate or employee, you can build a more loyal, engaged workforce. For example, some companies keep a database of each employee’s favorite things. When a manager wants to give a reward for a job well done, they can look at the database and pick something they know the employee will love.
- Purpose – Almost every employee will say they value meaningful work, but each generation has a different definition of what that means to them. These generational variations in approach can leave team members thinking that others don’t work as hard or care about the company as much as they do. Managers can help resolve these issues by communicating how each role supports the company mission, creating a culture of communication and emphasizing individual strengths.
- Investment – Learning development, education reimbursement programs, mentorships, career coaching and regular rounding meetings all make positive investments in your team members. The underlying goal of these initiatives is to support employees in their professional growth, which is one of the top things millennials (and other generations) are looking for in a job.
Start by Putting People First
Creating excellent employee experiences is more than a top-down cultural directive or a responsibility delegated to direct supervisors. It’s a driving philosophy that flows through every interaction, from the moment a candidate applies all the way through the exit survey. Treating employees and candidates as people rather than cogs in your organizational machinery will set you apart as an employer of choice – and that’s vital to hiring and retention in today’s talent climate.