It’s rare that a conversation about client experience doesn’t mention the importance of the employee experience. And that shouldn’t be surprising – a happy, engaged employee delivers a better experience to your clients than one who is unhappy.
I recently sat down with Linh Nguyen SHRM-CP, HRPM, a senior HR officer at SEI, who is integral to developing the employee experience. Here are some of the key moments.
How do you define employee experience?
Employee experience is how and what an employee feels or observes during their journey with an organization.
You describe it as a journey. Can you give me a brief description of the employee lifecycle?
The employee lifecycle starts when someone is being recruited and ends with their last day on the job. This experience will influence the way they represent the employer to clients, family, friends, peers and even potential clients.
So the employee experience actually begins before they are an employee?
Yes, it begins the moment a company is trying to attract the person. Whether they only look at your website to find career opportunities or complete the interview process, they are interacting and experiencing the company and forming an opinion.
What are the three top considerations when defining the employee experience?
- How do you want your employees to feel when they come into work?
- What would you want that employee to say about your company or about you as a manager?
- How do you want your employees to feel the day they resign?
The day they resign? That is interesting. Why then?
That employee will talk about your company and brand throughout their life, whether it is to a friend or future colleague. You want their message to be positive. They are going to continuously represent the company – even though they are no longer officially a part of it.
Some people think the employee experience is based solely on work/life balance. Is that accurate?
Not at all; employee experience is much more than that. It’s a strategy that must be reviewed on an ongoing basis to understand which factors are most impactful to address any pain points and help increase performance. Factors that contribute to a positive employee experience are purposeful work, management team, physical environment, technological resources, growth opportunities, trust and brand.
Work/life balance is a perk; one component of a larger whole. Imagine if work/life balance is provided but the employee doesn’t feel they can trust their leaders or that their work isn’t valued – that experience doesn’t empower the employee to be the best they can be.
What is the best way to understand and engage with employees to build a positive employee experience?
Have an understanding of what reality is for your employees. Ask for continuous feedback and make changes. Ask questions like: Do you feel trusted? Do you feel empowered? Can you do your job to the best of your ability in your environment? It comes down to opening those lines of communication for everyone to be honest about their ability to perform.
Also, be visible. Being visible allows you to see what your employees’ day-to-day work like is like and also shows the employees that you are “in it” with them.
How does the employee experience impact the client experience?
Employee experience and client experience go hand in hand. You can’t provide a great client experience without the employee, so why not treat your employees the way you would treat your clients? Forrester’s 2018 Customer Experience Index results show that “companies are struggling to create and sustain a human connection with their customers.” If you want to provide phenomenal client experience, you have to start with your employees. An engaged, happy employee is better suited to service clients because they believe in the service and have a purpose in the work.
What are the benefits of creating a positive employee experience?
Employee experience is a two-way street. If organizations provide a positive employee experience, they should get a happier, engaged workforce. This in turn should promote employee loyalty, increase productivity and decrease turnover – it will also differentiate you from your competition.
A 2017 study conducted by Temkin Group found that companies with stronger financial performances and better customer experience have employees who are considerably more engaged than their peers. They also found that “highly engaged employees are almost 5 times more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, they are over 4 times more likely to do something that is good, yet unexpected, for the company, they are 3 times more likely to stay late at work if something needs to be done, and they are over 5 times more likely to recommend an improvement at the company.”
What should advisors take away from our discussion?
- Potential, current and ex-employees all represent your firm. It’s important to think about them all when designing your employee experience.
- Open lines of communication between your leadership and your employees are crucial to a successful employee experience. If you’re willing to hear and act on employee feedback, it will empower you to continuously improve.
- A good employee experience can create an entire group of sales people and advocates. If employees are engaged and valued, they will in turn talk positively about you to their networks, which can include potential clients.
Do you know what the employee experience is like at your firm?
Forrester and the Temkin Group are not affiliated with SEI or its subsidiaries.