While the customer experience and journey tend to draw a large part of the focus when it comes to implementing change and innovation, it is just as important to consider the employee journey, and its impacts on the customer journey.
Why? It’s often said that in relationships, you must love yourself before you are able to love others. Similarly, when organizations are aiming to deliver an outstanding customer experience, they must treat their own people well first. This means looking inward to consider the internal processes as external – since loyalty for both employees and customers are strongly correlated.
Let’s explore how employee engagement and the customer experience are closely linked to each other, and the first step to improving both relationships.
Why employee engagement is tied to the customer experience
While figures range widely, there is no question that employee turnover is a heavy cost. According to Deloitte’s Josh Bersin, it can be as much as twice the employee’s annual salary when all factors are taken into consideration. Obvious costs to employee turnover include recruiting, onboarding, training, and loss of productivity due to lack of experience with the organization. Yet Bersin looks beyond matters of retention to consider secondary and tertiary costs, such as lowered employee engagement and its effect on organizational culture.
Globally, 87% of the workforce does not feel engaged at work, but there is a strong correlation between organizations with a more engaged workforce and their success with creating customer satisfaction. By ignoring internal matters, a firm has increased costs related to turnover and loses revenue opportunities by not providing the best experience possible to its customers.
So how do successful organizations become “Top Places to Work?” According to Harvard Business Review, Costco, HEB, Trader Joe’s and QuikTrip spend a lot of time on hiring decisions, focus on teamwork, invest in their people, and empower them to innovate and make contributions. Employees at these retailers demonstrated strong engagement and commitment to customer experience as they took ownership and had a stake in the game.
Get started with customer journey maps for employees
While many organizations have experience with segmenting and creating journey maps, most have not applied these skills inwardly to consider the employees’ perspective. Use these thought-starters to design maps and identify areas of improvement:
Review organizational planning. While employees tend to be organized by role or job description, is this the most effective method of segmentation to maximize teamwork and efficiency?
Audit internal platforms. How user-friendly are the internal platforms used, and how can they be upgraded to improve the employee experience? Do they create paths for open communication and make it easier to give and get performance feedback, or make it more difficult? Do they further burden a group that has an oversaturated attention span?
Consider your alternatives. While tools and platforms are only a part of the employee experience, it is important to make sure that they facilitate performance rather than being a source of frustration that distracts from work and decreases employee engagement.
Introduce new policies. Help employees focus better at work by creating policies to reduce distraction. Could outside communications be temporarily cut off? It may be beneficial to ban cell phone use in conference rooms or implement designated hours for mobile device usage.
Introduce new internal channels. Would doing so help fill any gaps that have been identified? For example, is there a system in place for employees to be heard, and do their voices bring about change? How easy is it to find information? Does the company collect knowledge in a central repository so that employees aren’t forced to reinvent the wheel every time, and how easy is it to find the required information?
Address the unique challenges faced by digital organizations
Beyond the traditional challenges of employee engagement and experience, today’s working world brings with it another set of considerations. In a digital era with an increasing number of remote workers, it takes extra effort to make team members feel connected and engaged with their work.
While working from home seems to have no downsides whatsoever, the reality is that many younger workers have completely missed out on the opportunity to have in-person interactions with their coworkers that help build relationships benefitting their careers. Looking at pictures a coworker posted on social media is not an adequate substitute. Remote workers also face more distractions than an office environment, and not every distraction can be controlled and overpowered. In fact, many report feeling shunned by their colleagues and have faced greater challenges when it came to deadlines, productivity and resolution of issues.
Creating customer journey maps for employees can help identify the right uses of technology to facilitate check-ins and improve team-building. Doing so can have a huge effect in boosting employee engagement and productivity while decreasing high turnover rates. Given the growing sector of remote workers, the organizations that crack the code on this will be well positioned going forward.
Happier organizations = happier customers
Employee engagement is one way to measure the success of a firm’s employee experience, since a fulfilling experience will lead to greater engagement. This affects the bottom line from cost and revenue perspectives, as decreased turnover allows firms to retain valuable talent, decrease costs, and boost engagement leading to better customer journeys.
With global and remote workforces adding to the complexity of managing the employee experience, developing customer journeys for employees matters more than ever. With the right focus and tools in place, organizations can put innovative solutions into practice that will ultimately benefit everyone.