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Jason Smith
Chief User Experience Officer

The Employee Experience: What It Is, And How to Manage It

Sep 12, 2018

By: Jason Smith

The phrase “The customer is always right” has echoed throughout the business world ever since it was coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge's department store in London. And sure, a memorable customer experience will indeed separate you from your competitors.

But some organizations are so busy building a customer-centric brand, they forget about the lifeblood of their entire operation; their employees.

In Deloitte’s annual global survey, nearly 80 percent of HR and business leaders rated employee experience as either “very important” (42 percent) or “important” (38 percent) —  which is great. The bad news is that only 22 percent rated their organization as “excellent” in delivering the desired employee experience.

Furthermore, actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

What is the Employee Experience?

Also known as the B2E experience (Business to Employee), the employee experience can be defined as how your employees engage with your company, and how they perceive your company as a result. It’s a holistic concept that goes well beyond compensation, team-bonding retreats, bean bags in the office and buying pizzas on a Friday afternoon. It covers everything from the day-to-day mechanics of their job to the level of ease (or difficulty) they experience when using internal systems.

As Customer Experience Magazine wrote, “every process, procedure, or policy” impacts the employee experience.

The 3 Benefits of a Great Employee Experience

We’ve boiled down the benefits of a delivering great employee experiences down to the following three:

1. A More Engaged Workforce

Employee_Experience_Infographic

Employee experience directly correlates to the overall happiness and wellbeing of your workforce. A study by Social Market Foundation found that a happy workforce can be up to 20 percent more productive, and according to Gallup, companies that have a highly engaged workforce outperform their peers by a staggering 147 percent in earnings per share. On the contrary, an article written by Glassdoor highlighted the tremendous cost of actively disengaged employees in the US, which is between $450 to $550 billion per year.

2. Higher Employee Retention

Recruitment costs can add up, whether you decide to hire your talent in-house or through a recruitment agency. Quarsh, a UK-based recruitment consultancy firm, reported that most companies tend to underestimate recruitments costs by 90 to 95 percent.

And the current landscape of employee retention is not painting a pretty picture at all. According to a report by Officevibe, 51 percent of workers are looking to leave their current employer — which is an alarming statistic. The thought of having half your workforce not wanting to work for you can give anyone nightmares.

Employee experience can help to pave the way in creating an environment where your staff wants to come into work and not look for another opportunity.

3. A Better Customer Experience

Last but certainly not least, is the impact your employee experience has on your customer experience.

As mentioned earlier, happy workers will be more inclined to develop better customer relations, and as a result, your brand will be able to deliver the desired customer experience. Coming back to the report by OfficeVibe, it mentioned that businesses who have a highly engaged workforce see a 20 percent increase in sales and also see a 10 percent increase in customer ratings.

Highly_engaged_workforce_infographic

It’s not hard to figure out why the employee experience correlates in this way with the customer experience and the success of the company as a whole. A happy worker, is more likely to want to see your organization succeed and will strive to deliver a positive customer experience by listening to the voice of the customer and by going above and beyond their duty when necessary.

5 Ways to Improve The Employee Experience

Besides reviewing your current work culture, HR leaders must get ready to embrace a dynamic shift. We’ve seen how digital and consumer marketing strategies have radically transformed customer relations within both B2C and B2B industries, but now we’re starting to see these methods filtering through HR departments to develop new ways of recruiting, working, learning and engaging the employee.

1. Provide Automated Solutions For Repetitive Tasks

Repetitive tasks can contribute to lowering the morale of your workforce. By developing your own systems and chatbots that can help carry the load when it comes to answering FAQs or sending out emails, your employees will have more time to do things that truly move the needle inside and outside your company.

Chatbots can also help improve employee experiences more directly. HRZone mentions that a chatbot could be launched exclusively for staff, who can make use of it to find answers to questions like “how many days of holiday do I have left this year?”

2. Facilitate Learning and Development

Referring back to the report by Officevibe, 41 percent of staff see learning and development as essential for when working within their organization. By incorporating an accessible interactive learning and development platform, employees can make time to upskill so they can achieve their own personal and professional goals.

Plus, training platforms can help workers be more up-to-date with compliance regulations since you can update your materials on the platform in a matter of minutes.

3. Encourage Career Mobility

A study by Pew Research has revealed that millennials (aged between 18 to 34) have surpassed generation X (baby boomer generation) in becoming the largest generational workforce. Millennials are more intuned with digital technologies and seek out personalized experiences at both work and home.

In a recent forecast report by Future Workplace, they discovered how employers are now offering career mobility platforms to enable employees to test drive new roles while staying at their current employer.

The 2,147 HR leaders and Hiring Managers, who took part in the Future Workplace Forecast, believe these Career Mobility platforms can lead to an increase in employee engagement (49 percent), employee productivity (39 percent) and employee teamwork (39 percent).

4. Streamline Internal Communication and Knowledge Sharing

Many brands utilize an intranet solution for internal communication, to share company news,  or give staff access to company assets.

The only problem is, They fail to do things like:

  • Integrate with third-party solutions like Slack and Salesforce
  • Facilitate extranets and public-facing websites
  • Be accessible via a wide range of devices

But more importantly, these traditional enterprise intranet solutions often serve as a “one-size-fits-all” solution — and that’s a problem.

5. Personalize the Employee Experience

You may already be personalizing customer experiences — but what about personalizing the employee experience?

As mentioned in our article regarding hyper-personalization and the employee experience, With right technology in place, brands can use APIs to integrate their learning management systems, intranets, extranets, and other platforms to take the employee experience to a new, more personalized level. For instance, by detecting behavioral patterns in search history, interests, classes taken and interactions with fellow employees.

We view this as a step beyond the traditional world of intranets, and into the world of B2E portals, where business to employee interactions can be truly managed, measured and delivered on a more granular level.  Unlike a traditional intranet, which is a one-size-fits-all solution (despite ironically not “fitting” into your techstack properly), a B2E portal is centered around individual employees, giving every team member a unique, yet connected experience.

A New Realm of HR

HR isn’t what it used to be. That’s why AirBnB has hired a Chief Employee Experience Officer to lead the organization’s employee experience revolution.

HR leaders must embrace these changes by adapting their culture, but also by adopting API-first intranet solutions that can improve the employee experience across channels. to meet the growing needs of their workforce. And with millennials now being the largest cohort in the workforce, these changes must be brought in now, rather than later.

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