Businesses, whether large or small have always had an interest in ‘experience’. Whether it was customer experience (CX), defined as “the product of an interaction between an organisation and a customer” or user experience (UX), defined as a person’s entire experience using a particular product, system or service, ‘experience’ has long been a focus of the savvy company.
Now, the new golden child of ‘experience’ is employee experience (EX). In the past, businesses assumed that employees needed to work. With it came an attitude of ‘build it and they will come’. Nowadays, the tables have turned; competition for skilled employees is at a premium, and focusing on employee experience has become more important.
Employee experience begins at the job advert and application, goes through to the interview and on-boarding, and endures throughout an employee’s entire career life cycle.
So, what are the main factors that impact employee experience?
Every single interaction that an employee has with their employer affects their experience. With so many factors involved, it can be difficult to see a clear road ahead. One author that’s written extensively about this subject is futurist Jacob Morgan. In an attempt to demystify such a complex conundrum, he’s published a simple equation that describes the factors that create a good employee experience.
Culture + Technology + Physical Space = Employee Experience (EX)
An organisation’s culture largely stems from the values, attitudes, practices, and mission of the organisation. Culture is hard to define, harder to build, yet it is the first cog of the employee experience, and vital if you are to succeed in building an experience that benefits your organisation.
The cultural environment encompasses a feeling, a vibe that an employee gets about your organisation. Everything from leadership style, organisational structure, benefits, to the individuals that make up your organisation, impacts on your company culture. Ideally, you should aim for a culture that empowers employees, makes them feel valued, and inspires them to work harder for an organisation that they believe in.
Every company’s culture is different, and defining your company culture will take time, but invest in it you must, as it will be the cornerstone of a positive employee experience.
Technology is a facilitator. By providing the right technology for your employees throughout their lifecycle, you’ll be able to craft a positive employee experience. Technology should be used to make your employees work life easier, more efficient, and more pleasurable. This will benefit both your bottom line, their experience of working for your organisation, and (hopefully) their ability and desire to act as an advocate for your organisation.
3. Physical Space
Employees spend a great deal of their time in your offices, and are largely affected by their surroundings. 9-5 cubicles with poor lighting that lack communal spaces for downtime are a sure fire way to demotivate your employees. Whilst we can’t all provide offices that resemble Facebook and Google’s offices, we can think more about our employees and how to build office spaces that boost performance, engagement, and interaction. Humans are social beings; by breaking down the silos that often exist in offices, encouraging both interaction and support, employees will be happier and more productive individuals.
Why is it so important to create a great experience for your employees?
To build employee loyalty
In the past there was an unrealistic expectation that job stability = employee loyalty. Whilst for some this may have been true, nowadays this isn’t the case. The competition for skills is at an all-time high, and job hopping is becoming the norm. To retain committed employees, your company needs to offer employees a complete package; a positive culture, a pleasurable space to work in, the right technology, training, progression… the list goes on.
Develop brand ambassadors
Providing a positive employee experience is a vital step in developing brand ambassadors. Richard Branson and Virgin are a great example of this. A recent policy change that caught media attention was providing one year of fully paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Whilst your company may not be able to afford such a policy, enabling flexible working practices is something that all SMEs can offer, and can easily boost employee happiness and work-life balance.
Valuing your employees, caring for their needs, and providing a pleasurable environment for them to succeed creates committed employees that believe in your vision and want to tell the world why it’s so wonderful to work for you.
In a world of social media, blogs, and company review sites, a positive employee could be one of your greatest weapons in attracting talent.
Leverage the link between employee experience and customer experience
Happy employees make happy customers, it’s that simple. If you want your customers to have a positive experience, you need to start with your employees. By providing the culture, technology, and physical space that encourages an engaged and happy employee, you’ll be able to provide the customer experience that encourages your customers to remain loyal.
If you’re looking for a new role in Finance, HR or Business Support, we’d love to help you find your next opportunity. Get in touch with our specialist team!