Employee experience under the magnifying glass: what are the advantages of putting your employees first?

Improving the customer experience is often a top priority within companies. At every event I visit, all people talk about is ‘put the customer first’. But what if we’d start with our own staff? Your colleagues? This means creating an employee experience.

The relationship between employee involvement and satisfied customer

This report by the Temkin Group shows a link between employee involvement and a good customer experience. The Benchmark Survey Employee Involvement 2016 by Gallup demonstrates that companies that offer an excellent customer experience have one and a half times the number of involved employees as companies that lag behind in this field. According to Gallup, no less than 87 percent of all employees worldwide are not involved in their own organisation, while companies with highly committed employees see that their performance rate is 147% higher in terms of profit per share than that of their competitors. The two inextricably linked.

Who pays, decides

I think that companies know perfectly well that they can improve the experience of their employees: All they need to do is apply the same principles to their staff policy as the one their marketing and operational teams probably already use to optimise the customer experience. But, especially in the Netherlands, this is a rather unconventional approach if you’re not called Google or Facebook, but simply Inter IT OR Buiter Beton. The marketing budget goes to the person who pays the invoice. In other words, the customer. It’s that simple.

Segment like a marketeer

The application of the ‘customer comes first’ principle to your employee experience starts with a segmentation on the basis of your needs, clustering employees on the basis of their wishes and requirements. Most companies classify their employees, but apply the standard categories, such as job position, management level, department, business unit or geographical location. But, just like you need a more nuanced insight into customers than just a demographic or economic value to optimise the customer experience, you should also look at what drives your colleagues, and what their dreams, motivations and wishes are.

“In marketing, an ancient principle applies, which is more topical now than ever before: Who knows most about his target group and collects the most data, wins. Simple as that.”

 

Your employees don’t all want the same thing

That employees don’t all want the same opportunities for development, bonuses and careers, is not new. There is also a difference in the way in which and the extent to which they communicate about and are active involved in reward and compensation programmes. Companies should take these different target groups into account when drawing up their primary and secondary employment conditions.
In times of change, reorganisation or budget cuts, companies can apply a segmentation strategy. It may be useful to differentiate groups of sceptics, observers, participants and perfectionists, all of whom have specific needs and for whom you can use a specific tone of voice in your communication.

Map your employee journey

Another tool that HR can borrow from marketing, is a ‘customer journey map’. This gives the steps a customer takes in their interactions with a company. This approach can also be applied on the career of your employees, in which case it’s called an employee journey. This is an example of the employee journey of one of our customers:

  1. Recruitment & selection
  2. Preboarding
  3. Onboarding
  4. Compensations and bonuses
  5. Permanent education and development
  6. Permanent involvement, communication and community development
  7. Rewards and recognition
  8. Performance planning, feedback and evaluation
  9. Promotion
  10. Retirement, dismissal/resignation

For each phase, they write down the desired results for the company and for the employee. For each phase and each employee segment, they identified the gap between the current experience and the experience which would meet the needs of workers, achieve the desired culture and be in line with the organisation’s targets and needs.

“An employee journey is never linear, you have to see it in terms of ‘touch points’, the options for interaction with your employee during their career.”

Match the employee experience to your company’s core values

The perfect customer journey really brings the distinctive brand values and company characteristics to life, and the same applies to the employee experience. Companies will have to ensure that the employee experience matches what distinguishes them from the competition. If you want your brand is known for technology and speed, the workplace, working environment, bonuses, performance reviews etc. for the employees also have to be technology-oriented and fast. If personal attention is what distinguishes your company, your company’s employee experience should also score high in that regard.

This way, your employees experience the benefits of your brand first-hand, which makes them better equipped and more motivated to express those values to their customers. Thinking about your employee experience is also a good way to create a strong organisational culture, which helps attract and retain employees that suit the culture.

Your customers profit

I firmly believe that if your company spends as much time and attention to the employee experience as the customer experience, business results will improve across the board and your customers will also benefit. Employees are happier, your company will see fewer good employees leave and your customers receive better service.

Do you already use the employee experience mapping technique? Let me know what your experiences are.

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Sources: Gallup, Harvard Business Review, Temkin Group
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