Never Grow Up
The Symbiotic Relationship Between EX and CX
Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup once iterated - To win in the market place you must first win in the work place. This has never been truer than in current times as corporates and organisations are realising that the employee experience (EX) as a whole, has become far more critical than any other singular employee initiative used till date.
Employees today, have multiple social tools at their disposal where they freely share their work-life experiences. They can also, just at the click of a button, experience what it is like to work elsewhere. This not only affects new talent recruitment but leaves a paradoxical hole in the corporate pocket if they decide to jump ships. Retaining these employees who are an integral part of the business, as well as creating a winning employer brand are two major challenges that corporates face today.
That’s not all. What about the customer experience (CX)? Today’s consumers are far more conscious of the brands they support. THEY BUY THE STORY. They are not moved so much by the big pocket advertising and the complex or attractive packaging, as they are by the organisational values and culture. Where earlier, culture was pertinent only to employee interests, today it is a reflection of what the brand stands for even in its products and services. In addition to undertaking thought-through action under the ambit of corporate social responsibility, and taking a stand on global issues, successful corporates are increasingly doing everything to highlight their values, leveraging the employee voice itself, and celebrating their own people as the socially conscious icons behind the brand.
So what does the employee experience entail?
For those who still find the lines between Employee Engagement and Employee Experience blurry, it is lately found that band-aid efforts, like fancy office spaces and team bonding activities, to align teams and create an alluring external environment etc. have proven to be just that - superficial, with short term positive bursts in result, at best.
This is not to say that Employee Engagement activities are completely redundant and an absolute exercise in futility. But what seems to be more relevant today is engineering an employee’s journey from the day of joining until their last working day, and maybe even beyond. Employee Experience (EX) is a creation of moments that matter within every event and stage of an employee’s journey. It encompasses everything, from what an employee feels, observes and goes through while working.
What about the relationship between EX and CX?
Organisations that focus on how their employees feel towards their job, their motivation, engagement and satisfaction create a positive work environment that boosts productivity and ensure optimum employee experience. Needless to say, when employees are satisfied and engaged, the result is deeper customer connections and an elevated customer experience.
When we do the right thing for our employees, it’s also the right thing for our business - Corey duBrowa, SVP, Global Communications, Starbucks.
In fact, this is backed by data as well. Research has pointed out that brands with satisfied, happy customers also possess employees who are approximately 1.5 times more engaged than companies ranking low in CX. With metrics such as flexibility, working hours, benefits and work-life balance becoming more important than ever before, it’s crucial to understand that people need more than just a good salary.
When an organisation’s culture is conducive to work, collaboration, ideation and feedback, it also leads to higher ownership, with employees feeling individually responsible for business success. This is the key to creating a favourable CX. After all, how can you keep your customers happy if the people responsible for their happiness are themselves unhappy?
The pandemic, and what it means for employee experience
The need for creating enhanced EX has become even more urgent with the ongoing pandemic. The imprint it has left on the employee experience will have lasting effects on any organisation for years to come. COVID -19 has brought on new realities and new challenges that most are still battling. As the economy shivers, employees are facing unprecedented challenges of mental health, work life stress, and financial wellbeing.
It has become imperative for organisations to navigate these new challenges and transform the way they reach out. Especially since the world has gone virtual, almost overnight. Ensuring the health and safety of employees will become most prominent, while the employee listening will need a tune-up. Also, training and enabling employees to the newly digitised world will become of utmost importance.
So how can we achieve this enhanced employee experience?
Employee experience is the result of both emotionally- and behaviourally-driven aspects as well as conversations between leaders, the broader organisation and employees. It focuses on individual experiences rather than collective engagement. It is a collection of continual feedback from bottom-up and the implementation of the same.
There are 4 key focuses to a holistic Employee Experience:
1. Clear philosophy – clarity in vision, values and business goals
2. Leadership support – approachability and a healthy feedback culture
3. Trustworthy communication – regular, consistent and transparent communication
4. Creating a sense of belonging and pride – inclusion, diversity and a culture of respect
It needs to be noted, that taking action on feedback is critical. When an organisation actually acts on employee feedback, employees feel heard and understood – this is an ever-important component of belonging. This directly translates to an enhanced employee experience. Listening without taking action, on the other hand, actually results in worse engagement.
So, are you prepared to make a change on your end of the chicken-and-egg conundrum?