Organizations have renewed their focus on providing quality customer experiences (CX). They are shifting their practices and offerings to better accommodate and serve their customers, regardless of the types of customers they have. However, companies must be mindful not only of the experiences they offer their customers, but also of the experiences they offer their employees.
I’d argue it's impossible to offer the customer a good experience without first ensuring that employees have good experiences on the job. When your employees feel supported and cared for, they will often put more of themselves into their work, and their energy and thoughtfulness will flow downstream to customers.
Let’s look about a few aspects of providing great employee experiences.
First Things First: Take Care of Compensation and Benefits
One of the most important ways to ensure that you are providing a good employee experience is to offer compensation and benefits that remove any questions about whether they are able to provide for themselves and those they care for. I have heard it said that an organization should be generous and pay enough to ensure that salary is never an issue for the employee. Most employees realize their experience levels and skills draw different salary amounts, but it is not helpful when your employees feel as though they are being underpaid for the services they provide to the organization and customers.
A part of providing great salary and benefits is ensuring compensation is always being adjusted based on peoples’ experience and the value they add to the organization. The organization I work for has consistently adjusted my salary positively as my experience and role have evolved, and it continues to reassure me that I am valued.
Related Article: Why Self-Actualized Companies Achieve Higher Employee Satisfaction
A Little Recognition Goes a Long Way
Money and benefits, however, represent only one aspect of what it means to feel valued within an organization. To be honest, I am not professionally motivated by money. Money is, of course, a necessity, but it is not usually the biggest motivator. Studies have shown this is true.
In a column on Entreprenuer.com titled “Money Is Nice, But It's Not Enough to Motivate Employees,” consultants Doug White and Polly White write, “Money is important, but we all want and need more than compensation alone. Our work indicates that people also want to be recognized, contributing members of a winning team.”
The times when I have felt most valued at work, and when I have felt that I was making the most impact, have come when my company has recognized my efforts. Obviously, that happens most often when I do great work for our customers, but sometimes it is for services I provide internally, such as sales, marketing and process development.
Make sure your employees are consistently recognized, and build a culture of encouragement.
Support Training and Career Development
Like probably most of the people reading this column, I work in technology, and technology is never a static discipline. As the platforms and approaches we use change, we must stay up to date on the developments in order to serve our customers well.
Because it is so important for technology professionals to keep their skills up to date, one of the most tangible steps you can take to ensure your organization offers a good employee experience is to provide training and career development opportunities.
My employer places a priority on career development, and for the past two years I have been allowed to attend the Microsoft Ignite conference. During the week of the conference, my only responsibilities are to take in all the information and network with peers, vendors and clients. When I return to work, I share what I learned with my co-workers.
Conferences are just one way to allow your employees to learn and grow. Instead of attending conferences, some would prefer to take classes, read books or go to networking events. Whatever method works, the important thing is companies should not expect their employees to work 40 hours (or more) every week and still keep up on the ever-changing technological and professional landscape.
Offer Mentoring Opportunities
Another way to help your employees develop professionally is to offer mentoring opportunities. Mentoring is a topic I am very passionate about. I have written before that I view mentoring as the single most important investment an organization can make in its people. Nothing is more frustrating for employees than to feel as though they are not being cared for by other, usually more senior, employees in the organization. Also, you are not making good use of your human resources if your employees are not consistently learning from others and, in turn, helping others to learn.
As is the case with training and development, it is important to give your employees time at work to participate in mentoring programs.
In my case, each week I have at least two conversations with leadership (including my boss) to discuss ways I can grow and to get to know each other as people. I also have the opportunity to meet with two other team members to work on ways to help them grow. I think I learn far more from the people I mentor than they learn from me!
If you make a wise investment in your people, everyone will benefit.
Investing in the Employee Experience Pays Off
Each of these topics is an important aspect of creating a good employee experience by showing your employees that you care about them. Take the time to assess your company’s offerings in each of these areas and try to find practical short- and long-term ways to improve your efforts.
You will find that any investments you make in your employees will lead to improvements in all areas of your business — most noticeably in how your employees care for and serve your customers.