Tech companies strive to develop digital customer experiences ‘moments of magic’, ‘moments that matter’ which will make customers stick with their brand/product/service, writes Niall Ryan.
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The employee experience is the other side of the same coin, for employees who are involved in providing the service or products for customers. Engaged employees deliver better customer service. To do this, employees must be empowered and enabled with the tools, processes, procedures, knowledge, which are not only necessary and aid an employee to deliver customer needs. The interaction between the employee and customer must be frictionless. And that is why the employee experience also matters.
Understanding employee experience
It is a misunderstood and misused label. It is not internal communications, it’s not benefits, it is not IT systems, nor is it pool tables and free beer. Employee experience refers to the overall journey an employee has with an organisation, encompassing all aspects of their interactions and engagement throughout their employment. It includes every touchpoint, from the initial recruitment process to onboarding, day-to-day work, career development, technologies, processes, procedures, learning, recognition, wellbeing, communications, and eventually offboarding or departure from the company. The outcome of all these experiences either positive or negative, is what influences an outcome called ‘employee engagement’ or that headline score you get in a typical annual employee survey.
The discipline of employee experience now encompasses systems thinking – why do things work the way they do, and design thinking – how best to design the way we do things to get the best outcomes/experiences for employees and customers. Employees stay or leave organisations on the strength of the many experiential touchpoints mentioned earlier, which should align with organisational purpose, values and strategy. More often an employee’s intention to leave is driven by the leadership qualities of their manager which can have a huge impact on the employee experience.
The leader’s role
What leaders can do is champion the importance of employee engagement and direct efforts in the pursuit of employee experiences that are pertinent to their organisational goals and outcomes and foster higher levels of engagement. Also, leaders must invest in managers, not just in their capability, but also in guiding managers’ understanding of what is most important to the organisation and the role the individual and teams play in delivering organisational goals and how people are supported to do their jobs effectively. Subsequently, the business should consciously design employee experiences that amplify and enable what matters for the organisation, employees, and customers.
Priorities for 2024
Gartner and Qualtrics are great sources of insight on people trends and people priorities that are worth checking out and they call out some employee experience priorities, such as focus on the benefits of AI and assess the risks, leaders to be more visible, and be more rigorous on survey follow ups.
Although the definition and focus of employee experience may vary within organisations, it is advisable to purposefully design workplace touchpoints that can achieve multiple goals, namely and most importantly increased employee engagement and an improved customer experience.
Niall Ryan’s purpose is to ensure employees are enabled, empowered and engaged to deliver an exceptional customer experience, that is underpinned by an exceptional employee experience.
For over 25 years, Niall has worked for leading brands and companies such as, Maximus, Harrods, Liberty, World Duty Free, House of Fraser, Debenhams, John Lewis and Primark; as well as in financial services – AXA Insurance, the Department of Health and Social Care and as a founder of his own employee experience consultancy.
For the last 15 years Niall has been leading a progressive people agenda after experiencing the value effective employee engagement strategies can have on generating higher sales and service performance.
With the aid of his own employee experience methodology, Niall specialises in leading the employee experience agenda. He does so, with his expertise in the following disciplines; employee engagement, employee experience design, systems thinking, internal communications, employer brand management, culture change, benefits and recognition, wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion.
Over the years Niall’s work has assisted organisations with significant culture transformation and engagement agendas. This includes gaining numerous accreditations for the companies he has worked for, such as being a ‘Best Company to Work For’, top CEO, and ‘Top Employer’ and so on. In addition to this, he has helped companies reduce employee turnover, increase engagement and productivity, and contribute to a significant improvement in sales and service.
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