Many companies prioritize their customer’s experience because there isn’t a business without customers. However, if employee experience is overlooked, this will result in poor customer experience by extension.
Employees who aren’t engaged or invested in their jobs will not feel any need or desire to create an above-average experience for the customer. If you’re unsure whether your employees are worth the extra effort, read on to discover the many compelling reasons.
Creating an environment where your employees are motivated and inspired is the first step to going above and beyond for your customers.
The importance of employee experience
You might wonder whether or not the customers will notice a difference in the quality of their experience when the employees are unhappy. After all, it’s the customers you want coming back to you again and again, right? Does it really matter how happy the employees are?
In short, yes. You want your employees to engage in the company and be and invested in the brand. In fact, companies with highly engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.
When organizations have unhappy employees, they also have higher turnover rates as employees will always leave. They will look for companies that care more about them and their wellbeing. People will only put up with a toxic environment for so long.
When employees leave, you have to fill the positions. This requires training time for new people, and if the person you lost was very experienced, it can take years for someone else to rise to their level.
If you don’t have a strong base of people who know what they’re doing, it’s difficult for everyone to stay on top of the workflow. For instance, if you have an employee who worked at the front desk of a hotel suddenly quit without much warning, you will find it difficult to make the guests’ experience top-notch.
Your employees also spend a lot of time with each other. Therefore, their interactions and relationships need to be positive as well so that they remain invested in their work. For instance, one of the easiest ways to create positive relationships among your employees is to offer social opportunities for them to get to know each other in a relaxed environment.
One of my favorite social strategies is to plan company picnics where everyone can introduce each other to their families.
Positive customer experience will result from positive employee experience
When your employees are happy, your customers will be happier because they will notice the positive moods of your employees. These moods will also translate into friendly demeanors and happy interactions.
Long-term customers, especially, will notice when employees are in a poor mood. It is especially detrimental when these moods constantly manifest as disingenuousness or even bickering in front of the customers.
If your company has been struggling with morale and behavior issues for quite some time, you might wonder if people actually notice. It can be especially difficult if the customers aren’t saying anything. My experience has been that when customers notice negative behavior, they will simply walk away from the situation rather than confront the behavior.
You only hear about a fraction of the behavior problems that guests see. After all, unless your business is providing a product or a service that no one else has, it makes more sense for customers to simply go elsewhere if they will be treated better there.
On the other side of the spectrum, employees who love the company and the brand are more likely to go the extra mile to create positive and memorable experiences for the customers. This will keep them coming back. This is why companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t.
There is a correlation between the percentage of employees that are highly engaged and the performance of the company. In fact, 82% of employees at high-performing companies report that they are highly engaged whereas only 68% say they are engaged at under-performing companies.
How to keep employees engaged
Employee engagement is important, and there are many techniques you can use to improve it.
First of all, encourage a positive culture by staying on top of negative behavior and bullying. One of the fastest ways to disengage employees is by telling them to “get over it” when a colleague is stealing credit for their work, calling them names, or engaging in other toxic behaviors. In fact, you are basically telling them to disengage when you ignore behavior that harms the company and/or the employees.
Instead, leaders need to be proactive in creating the type of environment in which all of their employees can thrive. For instance, if absenteeism is a common occurrence, other people usually need to pick up the slack when certain co-workers are chronically late or absent. This can cause frustration and resentment to build.
Human resources can track attendance using Human Resources Information Systems. These can help the manager confront absenteeism more consistently.
You should also encourage and support professional development and creativity. Employees want to feel like they can grow and continue to achieve more in their professional lives. They’ll appreciate a company that is willing to create opportunities for them to learn.
You also need to make opportunities for your employees to grow and advance. Many people feel discouraged if they think they’ll never move forward in their career – even if they do good work and follow the rules.
Recognition and reward
Finally, recognize hard work frequently and reward your top performers. While you generally can’t promote each employee every six months, you can do other things to reward their work. Most of my employees even appreciate a simple “thank you.”
Everyone likes to feel appreciated and as though they’re making a difference for the company that they work for. Employees who are top performers will especially appreciate appraisals and assessments of where they will fit into the company in the future.
Happy employees mean happy customers
The employees are the backbone of every company. They are the ones on the ground taking care of the day-to-day work. They constantly interact with customers and are therefore the ones responsible for much of the customer experience.
Keeping employees happy and focusing on their experience is one of the best things you can do for customers’ experiences. Happy employees are diligent, productive, and loyal. By improving and maintaining employee experience, customer experience will improve naturally.
About the author
Eve Grau is the co-owner and VP of Human Resources at Royal Ambulance. She serves on the Board of the St. Rose Hospital Foundation and is involved in a variety of other community enrichment programs and initiatives. Eve is committed to improving healthcare through innovation and patient-focused solutions. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.