As a business owner, success or failure often comes down to experience.
Have you made things easy and intuitive from a customer perspective when browsing and selecting products and services? Does the customer get what they want without having to jump through hoops or endure tedious wait times? After all, the customer is king, right?
These things hold true still, but when is the last time you looked inwards – to your front-line employees – and recognized that their experience is also key to your success?
Yes, employee experience is a growing topic of interest in the business world, especially as workers gain the upper hand in many corners of the economy. Businesses across all sectors need to consider how things work from an employee standpoint, and make changes to improve the experience where necessary.
Let’s cover how optimizing employee experience (EX) is good for your business at large, and offer some tips to make it happen in real time.
Attracting Top Talent
From small-town cafes on Main Street USA to tech giants in San Jose, all business owners can agree on one thing right now: attracting great employees is more difficult than ever.
“In a world where money is no longer the primary motivating factor for employees, focusing on the employee experience is the most promising competitive advantage that organizations can create,” said Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage.
It’s a challenge that every business faces, but within that very obstacle is a silver lining to grab hold of: this is your company’s chance to stand out from the crowd with an exceptional employee experience.
“Whenever we see a shift in the dynamic of employer and employee, there is a new chance for your own organization to step up and seize the moment,” said John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner at Berry Law. “In this case, you’ve got tons of employees who are dissatisfied with the culture, the environment, the conditions at their workplace, and they’re searching for something better. If you can offer that, you can fill your ranks with the best talent available.”
Talented staff with high capacities for output have the power to transform your business in terms of growth, so don’t miss this chance to level up.
Retaining High Performers
Onboarding promising new personnel is just one surface-level element of employee experience. Actually bringing them into the fold and establishing strong standards is another story.
If turnover is an ongoing issue for your business, focusing more on EX may help address this issue at the core.
“The churn-and-burn approach to employee experience was viable back when the internet was first taking hold of the business world, but times have changed and turnover is less acceptable now,” said Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. “Word spreads fast online and a damaged reputation takes a while to fix. It’s better to invest in employee experience now and save yourself all that hassle in the long run.”
The response has been rather slow from leading corporations, but thankfully, small companies have the agility and close-quarters awareness required to optimize employee experiences for massive growth potential.
“Now that the link between employee retention and EX has been made clear, we’re watching high-level companies scramble to unlock the secret and reduce turnover,” said Matt Miller, Founder and CEO of Embroker. “Of course, there’s no master key that provides the answers here. It’s a long process of gathering feedback, implementing changes, tracking results, and focusing on building a culture that people actually want to be part of. Growth may not happen as quickly this way, but you win in the long run.”
The age of mass turnover has passed, and employee retention is now a key benchmark and growth factor. The time is now to put in place EX strategies that keep your best workers around, even if that means investing more upfront.
Maintaining Morale and Energy
The attitudes and energy levels of your staff are valid metrics for any EX endeavor. When you optimize the everyday experience of your workers, good moods and better cooperation are expected.
“Think about how many companies suffer simply because employees aren’t feeling their best or getting along as well as they could,” said Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit. “Maybe it’s that hours are too long, or miscommunication is commonplace. There are often human problems that take place behind the scenes that we can’t quantify with metrics. Improving the employee experience is a broader challenge that requires empathy and patience.”
Sometimes the employee experience just needs a few extra perks and more flexibility for workers enduring the stresses of the modern world. A bit of acknowledgment also goes a long way for dedicated staff members.
“Despite all the tech advancements and remote work standards, we’re still humans at the end of the day, and we need to feel appreciated in the workplace to stay motivated and engaged,” said Amanda E. Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at HIDE. “Encourage managers and other team members to keep standards of communication high and clarify the message at every chance. Give nods of appreciation to teammates who have gone above and beyond in certain areas. Offer to buy lunch or drinks or just pick up slack where it’s needed most. Showing this heightened awareness as an executive or founder is so powerful.”
There isn’t a universal formula for employee morale, of course. It takes knowing more about the people that surround you and working with them on a human level to achieve shared goals.
Improving Workflows and Output
Culture and cooperation are important to employee experience, but there’s much more. Leveling up your organization’s EX requires a technical approach as well.
“Overhauling hardware, software, workflows, and collaboration tools all factor into the EX equation, so don’t ignore the tech side of things,” said Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO of OSDB. “Since nearly everything is digitized now, employees expect smooth, intuitive systems to get things done each day. The last thing you want is a workforce that’s fed up with antiquated or inadequate technology – they won’t be there for long.”
But before you go ahead and overhaul your entire infrastructure from the ground up, start small. It’s likely that you can make some major EX improvements by merely getting more organized and clearing out the clutter.
“This could be a great time to perform a major audit of all the workflows and protocols that make up your business operations, and see what can be done to improve employee user experience on a super practical level,” said Brett Estep, COO of Insured Nomads. “I mean everything from how sales and marketers access and share data to how customer support and fulfillment teams complete their tickets and tasks. There is a technological component here, but it’s also a strategy and communication thing. If something can be simplified, streamlined, or even outsourced, why not take that deal?”
Considering how rapidly tech changes nowadays – and the highly customized work styles and lifestyles of employees everywhere – this is the perfect moment to take a fresh approach to workflows and processes that may have lost efficiency in recent years.
Make the right changes and avoid pitfalls, and the employee experience will no doubt improve on a tangible level. As a result, business development is only a matter of time.
Adopting a Growth Mindset
Some businesses are perfectly content staying right where they are in terms of revenue, scope, and mission. Their employee experience reflects this: it’s status quo from top to bottom.
However, with this fixed mindset, can you expect employees to be truly engaged and push themselves to new heights? Can you, as a founder or owner, reasonably say that it’s “all systems go” for the sake of business growth?
This is where employee experience meets inspiration and ambition, and it’s your role as a leader to create that spark.
“Too many companies simply don’t believe they can grow, so they don’t even try, then wonder why employees seem unmotivated,” said Adelle Archer, CEO and Co-Founder of Eterneva. “It’s no coincidence that highly driven leaders inspire others around them to perform and grow their businesses rapidly in turn. This speaks to the power of leading by example in the business world and creating an environment in which everyone is raising the bar. It’s a subtle shift but it makes all the difference. Plus, employees end up having a better, more enriching experience that helps them long term.”
Simply by articulating goals and pursuing them in full, your company may quickly see a change in the atmosphere and see greater results. Just don’t forget to map out clear action steps that everyone can follow, because that’s where theory meets reality.
“Our insights into the employee experience have moved on leaps and bounds – we can now give leaders the actions they need to focus on to have an impact on their teams,” said Carl Tabisz, Senior Engagement Manager at Asda.
Employee experiences have never quite been in the spotlight before now, and that’s great news for the next generation of workers in terms of the daily grind.
It’s also a chance for your business to thrive if you commit to an EX game plan right now – and follow through.