To better understand what Jacob Morgan calls the employee experience, the Future of Work expert and self-proclaimed “futurist” interviewed 150 psychologists, economists, and business leaders, and analyzed more than 250 unique organizations. He found that over half of the companies he analyzed were rated poorly by their employees, and a mere 6 percent were actually investing heavily in the three key areas that matter most to employees — culture, technology, and physical space.
Customer Experience is only half of the equation
Despite the culture issues, technology gaps, and disengaged workers that plague them, many organizations continue to neglect worker experience — while continuing to throw millions of dollars at customer experience (CX). But while CX investments may be well-intentioned, they only account for half of the Virtuous Cycle — the complementary relationship between customer and worker experiences.
We’ve all heard the old saying: Don’t put the cart before the horse. When it comes to worker and customer experiences, think of the horse as your workers and the cart as your customers. If you don’t take good care of your horse — give it fresh water, food, grooming, and shelter — it won’t be very reliable, and probably won’t pull your cart very far. The same logic applies to your employees — take better care of them and provide them with the resources they need, and they’ll be more motivated and equipped to provide exceptional service to customers.
Companies that invest in worker experience outperform those that don’t
According to research by Forrester and Appirio, 70 percent or more of business leaders believe not improving the worker experience would negatively affect their ability to attract and retain the best talent, ensure worker productivity, and, ultimately, deliver good customer experiences. Yet only 26 percent of companies say they have a formal worker experience or engagement program; the rest rely on haphazard funding and project schemes to fund these efforts — or worse, have nothing in place at all.
Jacob Morgan’s research echoes that sentiment, and he’s been able to make some pretty clear connections between worker experience investments and business success. He found that the companies that invested most heavily in employee experience appeared 28 times as often on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 11.5 times as often on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work, and 2.1 times as often on Forbes’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. “Looking at the data,” he said, “it’s clear that there is a significant return to organizations that focus on employee experience over the long term, not just engagement in the here and now.”
Employees are a primary conveyor of your brand. They are the ones out in the field, interacting with your customers. Keeping them engaged, satisfied, and excited about your organization is vital to business success. Richard Branson, well known for his employee-first mentality, explained the importance of treating workers well: “If the person who’s working for your company is not given the right tools, is not looked after, is not appreciated, they’re not gonna do things with a smile. And therefore the customer will be treated in a way where often they won’t want to come back for more.”
Don’t stifle your workers with outdated technology
To recruit and retain top talent today, companies must enable employees with collaborative, user-centric technologies. Forcing outdated legacy infrastructures on workers won’t fly in an age in which employee needs come first. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than wasting their time jumping from system to disparate system, or drowning in a sea of databases and folders while they attempt to do their job.
According to Salesforce’s 2017 State of IT report, 71 percent of employees say they want their companies to provide them with the same level of technology they use in their personal lives. That’s why investment in user-centric, consumer-grade platforms and mobile apps for workers is essential to transforming the worker experience. Getting workers (i.e., employees, contractors, partners, vendors) to use the same platform can make cross-functional collaboration much easier, and help eliminate silos. Implementing technology to automate routine tasks means workers can instead focus on more strategic work. Empowering and engaging workers with modern tools and processes can lead to increased productivity, business growth, and better interactions with (happier) customers.