One of the recent trends has been about ‘customer experience’, focusing the organization on a consistent and coherent customer experience from first exposure through to ongoing product or service use. And this is a ‘good thing’! I’ve participated in the efforts of an organization to achieve it, and can see the real benefits. However, I want to suggest that just as important is the employee experience. This is the goal of a true performance ecosystem and an aligned culture.
Richard Branson, the successful entrepreneur behind the Virgin brand, argues that the only real way to deliver great customer service is to have really happy employees. And I think that his argument is plausible. We know that when people are engaged, there are good outcomes like greater retention. Happy employees is a necessary step to happy customers.
We also know that when we’re creating a learning culture, we get both more engaged employees, and better business outcomes. That is, when employees have purpose, are given autonomy to pursue their goals, and are supported towards success, they’re happier and more productive. Also when an organization works well together – sharing because it’s safe, tapping into diversity, being open to new ideas, and supporting reflection – innovation can flourish.
And, I’ll argue, that when the tools are ‘to hand’, employees are happier and more productive. When you can:
- find necessary tools and resources
- reach out with questions
- provide answers
- represent your thinking
- share your work so others can align and contribute
- experiment and analyze
all with ease, working is optimal. That is, employees can achieve their goals effectively and efficiently.
Spending cycles to optimize this, to develop the infrastructure and the culture, is an investment in a long term benefit to organizational success. I believe the two components of the organizational culture and the technology infrastructure are the critical components to employee experience. And optimizing those has benefits that cross the organization. That strikes me as an important strategic focus; what’s your take?