“You had me at hello.” The infamous words of Dorothy Boyd (a.k.a. the wife of movie character, Jerry McGuire).
If only the same were true in attracting and keeping great employees. I can see it now: these newly minted employees running headlong into our outstretched employer arms, happy to be chosen, grateful for a job and ready to do “anything” for us … for the love of the job right? Wouldn’t that be GREAT?! Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? (Queue the music.) The end.
Meanwhile, in real life, much like any great customer experience, the employment experience only begins at the first hello. And what happens next is critical to engender lasting loyalty, trust and mutual investment of time, resources and support. Make no mistake, the employee experience greatly impacts retention, not only workforce retention, but customer retention too.
The world of work has started mirroring our lives and daily practices: Transparency of choice, crowd-sourcing input before we make decisions, like how many “likes” a product gets. Expecting a consumer grade “experience” is penetrating everything we do -- the passion we feel for our jobs, the flexibility we are offered and the creativity (and opinions) that we can openly express as we choose where to spend our time and energy.
Today, with five generations likely working at once, recognizing how the world has changed and how hard we have to work at being “attractive” to our audiences is a vital strategy we need to embrace. Just as consumers want to deal with folks they can relate to, employees want to work at places they can relate to, with people who share their ideals, passions and values.
We must clearly address these statements for our current and future workforces:
“This is why you should work for us.”
“Here is how working here will help you in your career”.
In other words, we need to establish a compelling “mission with magnetism” and build an employment experience that differentiates us from our competition.
So here is my question for you:
Do you REALLY know who you are as an organization, what you offer and why your company does what it does better than anyone else?
Today’s successful organizations are embracing a new operating mode, adapting to a new, implicit social contract between employers and employees, one where online exploration of options is the norm. Open feedback systems are becoming essential to gain insight and actionable data to course correct almost instantly. They know this new reality means they must start to think of employees as consumers of their work experience; therefore, constantly making work more meaningful and rewarding.
*We can look to examples like a food retailer that operates coffee and food services around the world who began soliciting anonymous employee feedback, learning that the drive-thru window was chronically understaffed, forcing teams to run back and forth between different types of customers, which reduced quality while adding stress and extra work. The company implemented a dedicated drive-through role, dramatically improving engagement and productivity. Or a software engineer who pulses his sales team every week and asks a simple question: How happy are you at work this week, and what can we do to make things better? Employees share their thoughts, and he claims he can now actually predict the following week’s sales based on the feedback he gets the Friday before.
Engagement, retention and employee productivity are complex and multi-faceted problems. Almost everything that happens at work has a direct impact on employee commitment to their work.
I say that companies will win the day by looking at employee engagement in the same ways they approach creating extraordinary customer experience:
Listen to your customers; give them meaningful solutions, find a way to surprise and delight them; exceed their expectations, find a way to say “yes,” vs. “no.” These “truths” of great service can all be translated to the workplace experience and applied against attraction and retention strategies:
- Listen to your employees (help them find meaning in their work)
- Set and then exceed their expectations (hands-on management)
- Design workplaces to surprise and delight (a positive work environment)
- Say “yes” more than “no” (give employees opportunities to grow, build their trust in you)
By deliberately designing a differentiated employment experience, it is possible to positively impact retention, loyalty and commitment, and puts you firmly on the road to building a passionate workforce that consistently delivers a “wow” experience for your customers. A ‘show me the money’ strategy if ever I heard one!
Watch the webcast (available on-demand), for more on cultivating an employee experience that best helps your business retain its people – employees and customers.
The webcast was sponsored by Achievers, whose mission is to change the way the world works. Check out Achievers’ Employee Engagement Platform, designed to drive higher levels of engagement.
*examples from “Engagement, Always On” – Deliotte Insights.