With today’s media-heightened society, one review, encounter or social media post can make a significant impact on your organization—both positively or negatively. A positive or negative brand experience comes from the interactions your customers have with your employees. Which is why it makes good business sense to create a working environment where employees are committed to improving customer satisfaction. But, the only way to achieve this is to ensure your employees actually have a positive employee experience.
The way organizations treat employees has a direct and indirect ripple effect on your customers’ experience. If you want a thriving workforce, successful business and happy customers, you need to start with your employees. Research (and countless organizations known for excellent CX) has shown that you cannot expect a great customer experience if you don’t also have a great employee experience. Here are four areas you can work to improve today:
1. Make the work more meaningful.
Based on recently released research from marketing firm CMB, we’ve found that Identity Benefits are actually the top driver of employee engagement, highlighting the need to continually foster employees’ pride, self-esteem and sense of belonging. This could come in the form of initiatives like recognition programs, volunteerism opportunities and company-sponsored time to think about new strategies or new processes, to name a few. When people feel they belong, they're more motivated, engaged, productive and 3.5 times more likely to contribute fully and innovatively to reach their potential.
2. Give your people what they need to do their job—and grow professionally.
Encourage job shadowing so your team members can get exposure to areas outside their day-to-day environment. If someone decides to make that experience permanent, make sure you show your support so others who might be looking elsewhere will be inspired to see what their current organization can offer. Consider creating a hierarchy within your hierarchy to enable smaller promotions and signal progress and increased proficiency (e.g. Project Coordinator I, Project Coordinator II, Project Coordinator III, etc.). Ongoing training and education continues to be a major focus for organizations and is a great way to show you’re invested in your employees’ success, too.
3. Gather and use employee feedback.
Improving the employee experience is not a one-time activity that you can mark complete—it’s always ongoing. Like any uncharted adventure, start off by letting yourself experiment with new and different strategies along the way. Maybe assign a cross-functional team responsible for vetting ideas and driving strategy to support employees.
Conducting regular surveys and having discussion forums can be some of the ways to encourage employees to share their honest feedback.
4. Encourage connections among team members.
Almost 40% of respondents to EY's Belonging Barometer study said they have the greatest feeling of belonging when colleagues regularly check to see how they're doing, both personally and professionally. Make sure you enable that type of connection among your people. The extra moments you spend paying attention to emotions in the workplace, considering the emotional impact of the decisions you make, listening to your employees, helping them resolve whatever issue they are dealing with, and dissipating or absorbing the negative emotions they experience can help reduce the number of emotional issues in the workplace and improve the broader emotional culture of your organization.
If you want to make significant improvements to customer experience strategies you’ll first need to focus more on engaging your own workforce. The more satisfied employees are, and the easier their jobs become, the more likely they are to meet customer expectations during interactions. Like Richard Branson once said, “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
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