19 Apr How Much Does the Employee Experience Matter? A Lot.
Most companies recognize the importance of the customer experience. However, they forget a critical ingredient: the employee experience. The customer experience and employee experience are two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to deliver an outstanding customer experience with unhappy employees. Don’t believe us? Look no further than Southwest Airlines, which ranks consistently high in customer satisfaction with its employee-first mantra. According to the airline, “We believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy.”
Understand Your Company’s Employee Experience
How do you tackle the employee experience? The same way you tackle the customer experience: start with research. Improving the employee experience requires knowing what employees are thinking, feeling, and doing in their jobs every day. What questions do they have? Or, what tools do they wish they had? What parts of their job are stressful and why? A well-designed qualitative research study will uncover those parts of the employee experience that need immediate attention.
We recently helped a large regional bank enhance the transition experience for employees of a smaller regional bank it had recently acquired. Mergers are a stressful time for everyone. And employees of the acquired company have a lot of unanswered questions: Will I have a job after the merger? What will the new company culture be like? Will anything happen to my benefits? What new systems will I need to learn? How will I be effective in this new environment? These are just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, employees with lots of unanswered questions are not in the best position to deliver exceptional customer experiences, especially during a transition.
Take Time To Listen To Employees
To improve the experience for the employees of the acquired company, we conducted in-depth interviews with employees at all levels–from tellers to regional managers–to identify their resource and information needs and document their concerns. We observed them performing their jobs and discovered their frustrations with existing technology. Even platforms that were supposed to make their lives easier. Next, with these insights in hand, we redesigned the IT information architecture and created a temporary transition page that put the most critical work tools at employees’ fingertips.
As a result, the employees from the acquired bank felt that their voices had been heard. They understood that their needs were a priority. The best news we received was that the transition, from an employee experience perspective, was a non-event, which is exactly what we wanted it to be. Now the newly acquired employees are more likely to stay and not take their valuable customer relationships to another bank. Which so often happens in these situations.
A merger is a stressful time, even under the best of circumstances. Paying attention to the employee experience was a win-win for everyone: for new employees, for customers, and for the leadership team. In short, we can learn from great companies who knew this secret way before scholarly articles were published about employee experience. Southwest Airlines’ legendary founder Herb Kelleher built his company on treating employees well and putting their happiness above all. Another Texas company, Buc-ee’s, offers a starting wage well above the minimum and encourages employee initiative. To read more about Buc-ee’s, click here
We Can Help Bridge The Gap
Every company can benefit from understanding its employees’ needs. The good news is that employee research doesn’t have to break your budget. We can work with you to develop a plan to efficiently and effectively uncover pain points in the employee experience and find solutions. Schedule your 20-minute consultation today!