The term “employee experience” has become a very popular buzzword over the past several years. Do a quick Google search and you’ll come up with 7.8 billion results. Even putting the term in parentheses yields almost 2.5 million results. So, it’s a hot topic. Its popularity potentially stems from the widespread understanding among organizations of all kinds that the employee experience is directly related to, and has a significant impact on, the customer experience.
Defining the Employee Experience
Employee experience is a broad term that refers to, as the name suggests, the overall impact of all of the experiences employees have working for a company: their satisfaction with the work they do, their relationship with their managers, their relationships with colleagues, their ability to access the tools and resources they need to do their jobs, etc.
All organizations can benefit from supporting a strong employee experience. Service organizations, of course, can benefit even more because their employees are their products and services. When employees are satisfied and engaged, they’re more likely to provide exceptional experiences for their customers — both internal and external. Here we take that broad view of customer service. It’s not just a term relevant only to employees working in a call center for instance. It’s much broader than that.
A Look at Positive and Negative Employee Experiences
Companies that have strong, supportive corporate cultures, where employees fully understand what’s expected of them, have access to the information and resources they need to do their jobs, feel trusted and valued by the organization, and receive frequent feedback — both positive and constructive — benefit from high levels of engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. In these environments, employees are well positioned to provide exceptional service for the internal colleagues who depend on their input and assistance to do their work, as well as external customers and clients who are purchasing what the company has to offer.
Conversely, companies where employees do not feel appreciated or valued, where the culture is toxic, where communication is poor, and transparency is low or non-existent create an environment that leads to negative employee experiences and disengagement. In these environments, it’s less likely that employees will be able to, or interested in, providing exceptional service to either their internal or their external customers.
The Implications of the “Great Resignation”
We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about the "Great Resignation" — the phenomenon that has emerged during the pandemic as hordes of employees are deciding to leave their jobs, either to work elsewhere or to simply give up the work life experience entirely. NPR reports that, according to the labor department, “a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone.”
These people are looking for the freedom and flexibility that many have experienced during the pandemic. Many employees have learned to love the many benefits they’ve receiving from remote work and the flexibility and freedom it brings. Consequently, those still wishing to remain in the workforce, are looking for opportunities that can provide that flexibility — like call center jobs, for example.
According to the Linkedin Talent Blog, remote job applications are on the rise and the “biggest jump in applications is for the remote role of Customer Service Representative (+112%), with its related role Call Center Representative at 39% growth.” To put this into perspective, the next highest area of applications for remote roles is for Marketing Specialists, which is up 89%.
Keeping Staff on Board
If you have call center staff among your employees, you should be thinking strategically about how you can keep them engaged so they 1) continue to provide exceptional service to your customers, and 2) are less at risk for turnover. Here, we take a look at a number of things you can do to minimize these risks that can be equally relevant for other members of your staff.
Focus on the onboarding experience
Those first few days and weeks on a new job can have a significant impact on an employee’s likelihood of staying with the organization. Creating and delivering a consistent onboarding process ensures that everybody gets the same training and access to information. Using a platform, like Inspirus Connects, can streamline this process and help to ensure that all employees have the same experience. It’s important to convey mission, vision, and values information so that everyone is on the same page, and all are guided by the same mission-driven principles.
Effective communication is critical to the employee experience. This is even more true in the remote and hybrid environments many companies and employees continue to find themselves working in. It’s important to keep lines of communication open, to establish a communication environment that is supportive and transparent, and to continually seek — and listen carefully to — feedback and input from your team.
In a remote or hybrid environment, the use of video technology can help maintain personal connections that can approximate traditional face-to-face interactions. These video get-togethers can be both for formal business needs and to build more casual, interpersonal relationships.
Whether working with employees in person or remotely, a strong communication culture can help ensure that you understand what employees most want and need and that you’re able to respond to fix issues that could potentially detract from a positive employee experience.
Your managers play a critical part in building strong employee engagement within your organization. The role and responsibility of management today, of course, has changed significantly. It’s more important than ever that companies build a strongly connected company and culture that can support employees’ needs, whether on- or off-site.
Employees want a work experience that supports work-life balance, that provides wellness information and opportunities, — including mental health support — that offer training resources and professional development opportunities, and that supports a multigenerational workforce.
That’s a tall order for organizations and their managers, but it can be done by proactively recognizing employee needs and taking steps to ensure a strong culture of support and engagement. Remember, when employees are engaged and have a positive experience, your customers (internal and external) will also have a positive experience.