Create a culture of exceptional employee experience

By Laurie Geenen
March 16, 2020
6 min read
Create a culture of exceptional employee experience

No matter what industry you’re in, the last two decades have brought major shifts to the way that organizations interact with their customers. Customers are more connected and informed than ever before and it seems like the days of customer loyalty based on brand name and reputation are over.  

We’ve learned it’s better to build deeper, more personalized relationships with customers.

Gone are the days of sitting back and waiting for feedback; successful companies are constantly soliciting feedback and proactively reaching out to take the pulse of their customer base. We’ve shifted from reactive customer service to proactive, relationship-driven customer experience (CX). Customer loyalty is much more tangible than what it used to be: now we can measure it and anticipate changes, allowing CX teams to take proactive action to prevent negative outcomes.  

What does this have to do with employee experience? Everything! 

What is Employee Experience (EX)?  

EX is the sum of what employees feel, observe, and encounter during their time at a company. It’s analogous to CX in what customers experience during their customer journey.

We’ve proven the value of investing in CX: better customer retention, better customer satisfaction, and customers are more likely to achieve their goals and reach their desired outcome.  

Employee experience is how your company’s culture is lived. It’s more than the mission statement and core values on the wall: it’s how everyone across the leadership team to the front line walks the talk.  

Engaged employees and EX creates a cycle. A great employee experience reinforces the company’s culture, which leads to more engaged employees – which helps sustain the great experience and culture.  

Why is an exceptional employee experience important? 

Just like your customers research companies before making a purchase, potential employees research companies before deciding to apply for a position or accept an offer of employment. By creating a culture of exceptional employee experience, you will attract high performers who will understand your culture and make a positive contribution. Becoming known as a great place to work will make recruiting efforts easier.  

Keeping the EX culture cycle strong and positive will make it easy to retain your engaged employees.  

Because relationships are key to providing good CX, investing the company’s biggest asset, its people, makes sense. Your employees are the key drivers for building and sustaining a positive customer journey. Simply put: happy employees mean happy customers.

Trends in CX and EX 

Because they’re so closely related, trends in customer experience affect employee experience as well. Here are some key trends to be aware of:

Generational shift 

Millennials are now the largest generational cohort in the workplace and they’ve brought change as employees in similar ways that they have as consumers. Millennials are moving into senior leadership positions and bringing their values with them.  

Money isn’t the key driver for Millennials. They value a good work-life balance, doing meaningful work, and relationships. The reason that this generation changes careers much more than those previous is that they’re less willing to settle. If their needs aren’t being fulfilled, they will go elsewhere.  

What to consider: How has the generational makeup changed in your organization; has it happened or is the change still on the horizon? What can you do to ease the transition and leverage the strengths that each generation brings?  

Defining and refining the journey 

The customer journey and experience can be mapped out, analyzed, measured, improved, and analyzed again. The same is true for your employee journey and experience. Just like we’ve done with customers we need to create a purposeful journey to provide an exceptional employee experience.  

What to consider: A good place to kick things off is with defining your employee’s journey. Map out how it exists today and compare it to what you’d like it to be. This will help you uncover what you can measure to show the effectiveness of your employee journey. 

Data and analytics 

Yes, these are buzzwords. How many organizations have said that they’re working towards becoming data-driven? That doesn’t take away from the need to use metrics, key performance indicators, and feedback, nor does it mean there’s no value in doing so. The key is knowing what to measure when to measure it, and how to effectively report findings and act accordingly.  

What to consider: Analytics tie your data together to show its effect on the organization, but you need to start with the right suite of information. You may find people in marketing, sales, operations, or other departments who can help you get started collecting relevant data and creating meaningful reports.  

Changing expectations from customers and employees 

There’s a reason it’s called customer and employee experience. Customers are looking for more beyond the initial transaction; many purchase decisions are made by considering what using a brand says or causes and issues the brand supports. Employees are looking for more than a place to show up and collect a paycheque. Both groups want partnerships and to affect the brand or workplace for the better. They want their feedback heard and acted upon. There’s a desire for connection.  

What to consider: Employees who want to drive change and be involved in decision-making tend to be highly engaged. Work with these employees to find out how they can channel their passion to help the organization and feel fulfilled at work. On the flip side, employees who don’t feel like they can affect their workplace may appear negative or be branded troublemakers. Don’t discount them too quickly; see what’s driving this negative experience and address it.

Where to start? 

Start with the point that’s most relevant or resonates the most with your organization. Trying to work on all four points could result in spreading yourself too thin and not being effective.

If you’re not finding employee experience information that’s meaningful, look for articles and information about Customer Experience. CX best practices, tools, and information can be easily converted, just shift the audience.  

IC Thrive’s CX team would love to talk with you about your EX needs and how we can help you leverage internal communication tools and best practices to define, measure, and improve it. We’d love to work alongside you to create a culture of exceptional employee experience.

We’re also interested in what’s worked (or not worked) for your organization. After all, we’re in this together working for a similar outcome!  

To read more on the topic, here are 20 ways to foster resilience in the workplace.

By Laurie Geenen

Laurie Geenen is IC Thrive’s director of customer experience. Her background is varied; she’s managed veterinary hospitals, led customer success teams, taught strategic planning and performance measurement methodology to municipal governments and Indigenous organizations across North America. At IC Thrive she’s part of the team creates and delivers best practices, and helps internal communicators move into the spotlight and be recognized for their contribution to their organization’s results.