Executives understand the need to leverage human capital for maximum reward through superior customer service, productivity, and loyalty. Many companies measure employee satisfaction, and most have now gone beyond satisfaction to engagement. As such, we have focused on our company’s culture – how employees feel, the organizational structure, and leadership. However, companies must manage their employees just as they do any other asset. Employee experience now calls for understanding and managing the nature and effects that the employee experience has on the organization.
Jacob Morgan, writing in Forbes, said, in addition to culture, “Employee experience is the combination of three distinct things that exist within any organization regardless of industry, size, and location. The other parts of employee experience are the technological environment and the physical environment. The technological environment is the tools an employee needs to do their job, including the user interface, mobile devices, and desktop computers.”
Beyond culture, companies now must seek to provide relevant and up-to-date tools that help employees do their work. These tools include their physical environment as well as their technological support. When high-tech organizations such as Google and Facebook provide high-quality – and free – snacks for employees, they are enhancing the employee experience. When a company allows flex time and work-from-home, they are enhancing the employee experience. According to Morgan, “This is crucial because employees spend most of their time inside the organization so it should have a positive effect on them.”
Beyond culture, technology, and physical environment, companies must begin to measure the employee experience in a way that identifies the true drivers of highly engaged employees and links those drivers to specific desirable – and quantifiable – outcomes. The key outcomes of the employee experience are:
- One of the reasons to strive for superior employee engagement is to reduce turnover. Engaged employees want to keep working for their organization because they believe in the mission, and enjoy their work environment.
- Advocacy. Employees who are engaged believe in the organization and spread the company’s messages far and wide. These brand ambassadors can stimulate positive word of mouth (in person and social media) for their companies.
- Engaged employees go the extra mile and are willing to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization and its customers. Disengaged employees, those for whom the job is “just a job,” are far less likely to do this.
- Recommend brand. Engaged employees recommend their company’s products and brands to others. They understand and support what the organization believes in, so they are willing to put themselves out as experts.
- Recommend employer. Engaged employees are a key source of excellent new talent for their employers. Because engaged employees are emotionally invested in the company, they want the company to succeed, and so they bring forth new hires whenever possible.
- Customer orientation. Engaged employees are committed to their organization’s customers. This commitment results in superior customer service, as well as faster new product development, process improvement, and communications.
Leaders must expand their thinking beyond the typical role of HR and work with the rest of the organization to provide the optimal employee experience through facilities, operations, purchasing, and other functions. By linking your employee experience and engagement surveys to these outcomes, executives can understand better how to impact behavior with actionable tactics and strategies.