Who Creates the Brand?
Stephen R. Covey, educator, author and keynote speaker, once said, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your customers.”
The implication in his statement is that the employee culture creates the customer experience, yet many organizations focus their efforts on “creating a brand” through marketing and advertising rather than through understanding and improving the employee journey.
Employee journey mapping is similar to customer journey mapping with one wonderful exception – organizations can influence much more of an employee’s journey than that of a customer. Everything from the ease of finding a parking spot, to the process of reporting to work, to the technology provided to employees, to the intricacy of an organization’s approval processes, can all influence the employee journey.
For the sake of conversation, let’s focus on three areas that significantly impact the employee journey that are completely within an organization’s control: decision making, recognition and learning or growth opportunities.
In his book Joy at Work, Dennis W. Bakke says, “When given the opportunity to use our ability to reason, make decisions and take responsibility for our actions, we experience joy at work.” Does your organization allow employees to make decisions that affect their work? Are employees allowed to make mistakes and learn from them? If so, then they most likely feel empowered and capable. Empowered employees can solve customer problems and create a positive customer experience. If not, they may begin to doubt their ability to make decisions or avoid decision making so as not to “get in trouble.” Employees who are afraid to make decisions can prolong customer dissatisfaction.
Recognition is proven as among the best methods of improving work motivation and employee engagement, especially among millennials. Employers with strong recognition programs drive measurable business results, retain top talent, enjoy a more unified and vibrant culture and tap into the collective wisdom of the employee base. Recognition programs do not need to be expensive or intricate to be effective. They must simply be consistent and authentic. Employees who are praised and recognized are more willing to go the extra mile for their customers to create a winning experience.
Learning or Growth Opportunities
Employees who are given the opportunity to learn and grow within their role or into new roles are more resilient and more capable of “rolling with the punches” of professional life. Employees who are in the habit of learning will use information gathered from customer interactions to improve the customer experience because they are practiced in incorporating new information into their service delivery. When employees are not given the opportunity to learn or grow professionally, they may become disengaged or adopt a mentality of “this is the way we’ve always done it,” both of which can lead to a dissatisfying customer experience.
The beautiful thing about understanding the truth of the employee journey is that often small, thoughtful changes can create powerful, positive changes for the culture of an organization, which directly translates to the customer experience. The topics mentioned above and many others affect how an employee feels about their experience at work and many of them are within your organizations control. When the employee experience rocks, it’s easy to see, and that’s a brand worth having!
If you are interested in hearing more on employee journey's, join us April 29th to view the live show, recorded at the Intra.NET Reloaded Boston 2016 event with hosts Tyler Pyburn and Scott Liewehr as they discuss the building blocks of a successful employee journey. They will welcome a panel of well-known "big personality" guests to the show including Rachel Butts & Jeff Willinger.