“The customer is always right.”
“When the customer comes first, they always last.”
“It takes months to find a customer and just seconds to lose them.”
These oft-quoted statements emphasize an idea that has been engrained in business leaders for decades. And while creating a customer-centric culture that focuses on customer satisfaction and retention is obviously important, at the end of the day, a company is only as good as its employees.
When a company has top talent that embraces the mission of the company and takes pride in their role and its importance, they’re more productive and more invested in the company’s success. On the flipside, unhappy employees result in greater turnover, poor customer experience, and lower profitability.
So, what’s the best way to attract talent and keep them happy and engaged? Treat them like customers. And if you’re in the market for a job, potential employers who treat their applicants and employees like customers is a good indication of a healthy workplace where employees are valued and taken care of.
Here are three ways to create a better experience for your employees:
1. Provide excellent employee service from day one.
Only 31% of employers measure employee experience (as opposed to the 81% who measure customer experience.)
If you’re not actively trying to improve your employee experience by providing them with the tools needed to do their job properly, resources to answer their questions, and a place to voice their concerns and issues, your employees will not feel heard or respected. And, just like a customer who takes their business elsewhere when they don’t feel like their needs are being met, neglected employees may also take their talents elsewhere if they don’t feel like they are appreciated or supported.
Many companies try and impress employees during the recruiting and interview process but fail to carry this experience over once the new employee has begun their role. A few ways you can help ensure a greater employee experience include:
- Provide a way for employees to communicate their needs. Customer surveys are essential for organizations, providing actionable insights into how companies can better serve their customers. The same can be said for your employees—but you have to provide a way for them to communicate. One-on-one meetings with managers, employee surveys, or Slack channels are all ideas that are simple to implement.
- Take action on suggestions. “It’s fair for employees to expect to be able to communicate needs, but it’s also important that the organization takes action on those suggestions,” says Rob Watters, partner at Pierce Washington. For example, you may have a new employee who feels their training was insufficient, or the onboarding process was rushed and not informative. This valuable feedback can help you create a better experience for current and future employees.
- Invest in the right digital tools to stay competitive. Companies are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition by providing a seamless digital experience for customers, such as e-commerce or app-based shopping. Do the same for your employees by providing them with the tools they need to excel in their roles.
2. Market to your employees, too.
Marketers wouldn’t miss an opportunity to tell their customers about a new feature or experience, and employers should do the same.
Keep your employees in the loop when it comes to your values, goals, and company strategy. All-hands meetings, regular “state of the union” addresses from leadership, and even email updates help your employees feel aligned and part of a team.
Just as you innovate for your customers, do the same for your employees. This is especially true in terms of development opportunities. One survey found that 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. Research their needs and wants just as you would for your customers, then look for opportunities for employees to grow and find meaning in their roles, such as attending leadership or industry conferences or introducing a mentorship program for new hires.
3. Foster a culture of autonomy
Micromanaging creates a culture of frustration and negativity and can be toxic for the workplace. Employees want to feel trusted and empowered in their roles. You can and should create a culture of autonomy and flexibility that allows your employees to work in a way that fits their unique needs and working style. When employees feel ownership over their own roles, they are more productive and satisfied.
Creating this type of culture requires flexibility and trust from managers, so it’s important that leadership teams are aligned and empowered as well. You can create an atmosphere that promotes autonomy by:
- Encouraging collaboration among team members
- Promoting experimentation and encouraging employees to experiment, take risks, and try new things
- Rewarding autonomy and success through recognition and positive feedback
Regular communication regarding company vision and goals is also important; 75% of aligned workers feel more empowered to make strategic decisions.
Why It All Matters
There’s no underestimating the importance of employee satisfaction. A positive culture of engaged, empowered employees encourages them to provide their own excellent customer service that not only helps the organization from a sales perspective, but reduces turnover as well.
The costs of turnover shouldn’t be underestimated either. Not only does a revolving door wreak havoc on culture and impact your customer experience, but it’s also expensive—replacing an employee can cost up to two times that employee’s salary.
Bottom line—investing in the time and resources to take care of your employees by treating them like valuable customers will always result in a positive outcome—for your company, your employees, and your customers.
Looking for a role in an organization that prioritizes the employee experience and fosters a culture of collaboration and growth? Check out our current openings.