Head of Consultancy UK
Employee experience is the new business rage, so it seems. Earlier this year, Forbes proclaimed 2018 to be the year of Employee Experience, and you see it popping up in shows and events more and more. What is it? And why should you care?
What is Employee experience?
Employee experience pretty much means what the term says: offering your employees a good working experience. According to Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience, this means offering your employees a good physical, cultural, and technological environment.
This sounds eerily similar to Forrester’s Workforce enablement, the idea of helping your employees do their best work. It’s no surprise then that Forrester recently renamed their Workforce enablement report to Employee Experience. It’s the exact same thing.
Employee experience vs Customer experience
Speaking of similar concepts - isn’t employee experience just customer experience (CX) for your colleagues? Well, yes and no. Yes, because for an internal service organization, your colleagues are your customers. And no, because focusing on employee experience is different in one significant aspect: your influence is far greater.
Let me explain. If you order something at Amazon, Amazon can only try and make that ordering experience as smooth and pleasant as possible. That’s an experience of no more a few minutes.
As a service organizations aiming to improve employee experience, you influence every minute of your colleagues’ working life. From the drive to work in their company car, the coffee they sip when you arrive, to the programs and laptop they work with and the teleconference equipment they yell at. Customer Experience is more akin to optimising the interactions your customer has with you when they are actively in contact with you. That's also important, but Employee Experience goes further than that.
Isn’t Employee experience something for HR to worry about?
Well, yes, HR should worry about employee experience too. How to engage their employees is one of the main challenges of any HR team. But improving employee experience has never been about drafting HR policies only.
Just look at the examples mentioned earlier. Is your colleague comfortable in the company car you offer, or are they sweating because the air conditioning broke down 3 months ago? Do they like the coffee your machines are serving, or are they drinking it only because it’s free and there’s no Starbucks nearby? Can they work efficiently on their laptop, or do they have to wait 20 minutes for it to boot?
The answers to these questions are determined by the collective efforts of all supporting departments – from IT and Facilities to Finance and yes, HR.
The key to improving employee experience? Enterprise Service Management
When you realize it takes all supporting departments to deliver a great employee experience, you hold the key for how to improve it: Shared Service Management.
At most organizations I visit, each individual department is pretty good at servicing their customers. It’s only when a call or request has to be handled by more than one team or department, that things tend to get murky. These teams often function as silos. Calls are being ping-ponged between teams, or get lost in service desk limbo. Not exactly a great employee experience.
So if you want to improve employee experience, start intensifying the collaboration with your colleagues from Facilities, HR or IT. You don’t speak that often? Grab a cup of coffee. You already cooperate regularly? Sit with the other team for a day, you’ll learn a lot.
Employee journey mapping
Another thing that helps you improve employee experience, is employee journey mapping. This is the same as customer journey mapping, only for your colleagues. It might be a bit harder to decide which part of your employees’ journey you want to map, since there are so many touch points, but just pick a part that you feel needs improvement. Your onboarding, perhaps? Or the process of logging a call at your service desk?
When you map your employees journey, the pain points of your services will become more visible. And the suggestions for improvement will come to you in no time.
Towards Employee engagement
If you offer a consistently good employee experience, you end up with the holy grail of the modern organization: engaged employees. As this infographic shows, companies with highly engaged employees perform better on various levels. They’re more profitable, get higher customer satisfaction scores, and generally outperform their competitors.