Brands are investing more and more into the idea that employee experiences correlates with delivering customer experiences. Adobe, one of the major brands that provides digital customers experiences (and software to execute them), believes in the power of fusing customer and employee experiences. Adobe even has a someone working every day at, Donna Morris, executive vice president of customer and employee experience. "We had become acutely aware of the parallels between how you build a great experience for customers and for employees," Morris told Forbes in March. "And we want to be as exceptional to work with as we are to work for."
Forrester researchers support the claim business growth directly connects to employee experience in its “Predictions 2018: Employee Experience Powers The Future of Work Report ,” saying, “sustained business growth depends on your company's employees being more agile, informed and responsive.” So what should organizations consider as they try to connect these internal and external experiences? Some experts shared us some ways companies can benefit from a strong correlation between employee and customer experience.
Happy Employees Will Use Discretionary Skills
Organizational belonging drives organizational engagement, according to Patrice Jimerson, senior program manager of diversity and inclusion at Appirio. This results, Jimerson said, in access to discretionary talent, which she called the skills that aren’t written into the job description. “When employees are happy and engaged, they are willing to use these skills, even if it means stepping outside of the boundaries of title,” Jimerson said.
She cited her strong background in project management and facilitation. Since she enjoys her work, she said she has no problem helping out in these arenas when asked. “Engaged employees are happy to not only meet client expectations, but exceed them,” Jimerson said. “This is foundational to ROI in both worker experience and customer experience.”
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Feedback is Critical to a Positive Employee Experience
Delivering an optimal employee experience requires operating in the sweet spot where employees’ and the organization’s needs, wants and expectations intersect to help ensure both parties can perform to their fullest potential, said Jeff McCarthy, VP of customer success at Reflektive. However, this doesn’t always happen. The recent Growth Divide study by Reflektive and Wakefield Research found that one of the biggest voids in employee experience at most organizations is a lack of feedback. “Quite simply,” McCarthy said, “employees don’t hear from their supervisors often enough about how they’re performing or how they can improve.”
This disconnect, McCarthy said, has created a major gap between what business leaders believe is necessary to compete, grow market share and increase revenue and what employees actually need in order to contribute to the company’s growth, their own professional growth and to thrive in their career. “Clearly,” McCarthy said, “there is much work to be done in improving the employee experience for many companies.”
Asking supervisors to take the time to check-in with employees on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly) can make a significant difference in their level of satisfaction, which will translate directly into improved business performance, he added.
Related Article: 7 Ways to Improve Your Company's Employee Experience
Give Employees Opportunity to Make a Difference
Suzanne Hough, CHRO of Hodges-Mace, said her company encourages volunteerism through projects like Summer of Service, which provides an opportunity for employees to volunteer in a group setting. In addition, each year Hodges-Mace offers two days of paid time off to employees to volunteer at a charity of their choosing. In 2016, the company celebrated its inaugural Summer of Service where employees volunteered 500 hours to local organizations such as Meals on Wheels Atlanta, Camp Twin Lakes, Atlanta Community Food Bank and Books for Africa. “This approach is a win/win for our people and the charities we support,” Hough said. “It also allows our employees to get to know one another outside of the office, which fosters teamwork and a sense of belonging.”
Hough’s company attracts people people who thrive in a team environment and enjoy giving back, both inside and outside of work. “Our commitment to creating a positive work environment makes for a happy employee base,” she said, “which directly translates into a higher level of service to our client base.”
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Make Employees Feel Like You’re Listening
Kathleen Hickey, marketing manager at Usabilla, said voice of employee strategies can help detect customer experience failures early so less time and money are wasted. “Especially with companies that plan to undergo any type of digital transformation, employee feedback is essential to creating seamless experiences for customers,” she said. “Likewise, in the face of controversy, employee experience feedback can provide diverse insights on how a company can better create an environment that fosters a safe and wholesome experience for all.” Empowered employees will not only provide important customer insights, Hickey said, but also insight into issues that are frustrating or hindering a productive work environment.