Why your Employee Experience is just as critical as your Customer Experience

Delivering exceptional customer experiences begins with prioritising your most valuable asset: your people. Ensuring they are engaged with your vision and involved in driving change is crucial to keeping your business moving forward.

Business leaders have spent decades grappling with striking the perfect balance between maximising performance and productivity while cultivating a workplace that employees love. Every year we have more tools and technology at our disposal to help embrace next-generation practices, yet Gallup reported that 2022 was the worst year in a decade for employee engagement in the United States and 2023 was not much better. Some of this can be attributed to macroeconomic conditions, but employers should be evaluating if conventional management practices continue to be the cause of dissatisfaction for many employees.

According to the World Economic Forum, organisations must reshape their people strategies to survive the ‘Fourth (Industrial) Revolution’. Those who wish to thrive in this rapidly evolving environment must recognise that their success hinges not only on adopting new tools and technologies but more importantly, on understanding and catering to the needs of their employees, which will be their sustainable point of difference.

How can employers better understand employee needs?

Employers should be more intentional about understanding their employees’ needs rather than making assumption-based decisions while also establishing a consistent framework for future-oriented decision making. For example, an employer might assume that offering free snacks and a ping pong table will boost employee satisfaction. While these perks may be appreciated, many employees might prefer engaging in purposeful work and building stronger connections with their peers and their employer over superficial benefits. 

Similarly, an organisation might be upgrading its enterprise software (think SAP) and assume that training employees and applying change management processes will be sufficient for a successful launch. This approach often leads to poor uptake and acceptance by the people who have to use the “new” system as the upgrade process didn’t leverage tried and tested user research and design practices throughout the project.

Being employed isn’t just about having a job; it’s integral to a person’s value system. Every employee wants to feel recognised for contributing something valuable, something that’s helping to improve or make a difference for their stakeholders and customers. These considerations should be an integral part of your organisation's employee value proposition.

Leveraging Human-Centred Design for Employee Experience

For years, businesses have focused on providing exceptional Customer Experience (CX) to set themselves apart and drive success. It’s well known that building strong customer connections is essential for growth and maturity. This got us thinking: why aren’t more organisations applying Human-Centred Design (HCD), a proven approach effective in CX strategies, to their most valuable asset - their people? Those responsible for shaping the Employee Experience (EX) should consider adopting these successful CX methodologies to help ensure they are designing for experiences rather than traditional HR processes.

Understanding our Employee Centric Maturity Model

Our Employee Centric Maturity Model is designed to help organisations assess and elevate their focus on the overall employee experience.

Level 1 - Compliance Focused

At this foundational level, organisations adhere to the basic regulatory requirements regarding workplace standards. The primary goal is to ensure a safe working environment and avoid legal issues.

Level 2 - Engagement Focused

Progressing to level 2, organisations are starting to recognise the importance of employee engagement and are beginning to implement engagement frameworks to help increase job satisfaction.

Level 3 - Experience Focused

This level marks a significant shift to a more holistic approach to the employee experience that integrates a culture of continuous feedback and growth.

Level 4 - Empowerment Focused

The pinnacle of employee experience is reached when organisations have an employee experience strategy that empowers their employees to feel deeply connected to the company’s mission and understand the significance of their roles in helping to achieve it. 

Reflecting on your Employee Centric Practices

To determine where your organisation stands ask yourself the following questions. 

  • How have you moved beyond just following standardised HR policies and procedures? 
  • How are you shifting the focus to employee experiences rather than employee processes?
  • Do you regularly act on or collect feedback from your employees and use their insights to make strategic decisions?
  • How do you address employee feedback on tool usage to enhance their experience and productivity?
  • Do you respond reactively to employee-related problems or do you have an employee experience strategy that underpins your decision-making? 
  • Are you solely focused on achieving employee satisfaction or are you empowering employees contributing to decision making and driving innovation?

In Summary

Achieving genuine employee centricity is an ongoing and dynamic journey. Each stage of the Employee Centricity Maturity Model presents distinct challenges and opportunities for growth. By employing the model as a guide, your organisation can begin making more informed decisions that prioritise the needs of your employees, leveraging Human-Centred Design and valuing their contributions in meaningful ways. 

As one CEO we recently interviewed aptly put it, "People are people. Sometimes they will be your customers, sometimes they will be your employees. A big part of their experience will be determined by their interactions with each other." 

Delivering exceptional customer experiences begins with prioritising your most valuable asset: your people. Ensuring they are engaged with your vision and involved in driving change is crucial to keeping your business moving forward.

If you’re interested in discussing how your organisation can create future-focused employee experiences, feel free to reach out as we are happy to share our insights and approaches.

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