Five ways to improve your employee experience
29th March 2022
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The link between happy employees and loyal customers is well known. But how do you start to improve employee engagement? Our blog has five actions you could take now.
There’s no doubt about it: the quality of your customer experience (CX) is deeply entwined with the quality of your employee experience (EX). A 2019 study1 by Glassdoor and the American Customer Satisfaction Index confirmed that when employees are engaged in their work and motivated to go the extra mile for customers, those customers tend to respond with greater loyalty, advocacy, and spend.
The problem is that many companies don’t always get it right when it comes to motivating their people. Known drivers of engagement — like adequately rewarding employees2 and being flexible on work arrangements3 – are often neglected. That’s driving what’s become known as the Great Reshuffle4, as employees look for jobs that better match their aspirations for pay, recognition and flexible working.
But it’s never too late to start developing a more employee-centric approach – and those companies that do so may become magnets for engaged and talented staff, who in turn attract loyal customers. Here are five actions you could start taking today to build an exceptional employee experience.
1. Measure the employee experience across the organisation
Before you do anything to improve your employee experience, you need to measure what it’s like today. That will form a baseline for continuous measurement going forwards, so you’ll always know if you’re improving (and you’ll know when to act if you’re not).
Many companies measure the employee experience in an annual survey, but a one-off exercise won’t necessarily reveal how people feel day-to-day. A better way is to take the temperature more regularly, using a mix of methods. Writing in Forbes5, business transformation expert Kiran Mann recommends using “polls, anonymous suggestions, or one-on-one meetings with your team to gain insights”. She also recommends checking out eNPS6, a version of Net Promoter Score for employees.
2. Evaluate the current employee offering against competitors
A big chunk of the Great Reshuffle is about employees leaving jobs where they feel under-valued and marginalised7, and moving to competitors with a more employee-centric approach. That makes it critical to keep an eye on what competitors are offering and how their employees feel about them.
One way to do this is by keeping track of ratings and reviews on Glassdoor8, the anonymous employer ratings website. It will quickly provide an idea of which companies (including your own) are seen as nurturing and investing in their people, and which are taking their talent for granted.
Understanding what competitors with high employee retention are doing right can provide inspiration for your own EX initiatives. Do employees value the flexible work options, the rates of pay, the personal development opportunities? Or is it more about having autonomy in their work, or feeling like they’re making a difference in the world?
3. Map employee engagement metrics to customer experience stats
While every compassionate leader wants to do the right thing by their employees, it’s easier to get the go-ahead on employee-centric initiatives if there’s a sound commercial rationale behind it.
You can do that by creating a framework to map the employee engagement metrics mentioned in point #1 above against the metrics you used to measure your customers’ experience.
This is an area where specialists like Qualtrics9 lead the field, with proven tools and methodologies for mapping the impact of EX on CX. Alternatively, a combination of NPS for customer satisfaction and eNPS for employee satisfaction could be a good start.
Ideally, you’ll soon notice a correlation between the two, with growing employee engagement mirrored in higher customer NPS scores – providing solid metrics to demonstrate the success of your initiatives.
4. Identify areas of employee experience to prioritise for CX impact
If your immediate focus is on preventing customer churn, one practical thing you can do is to find out which areas of the employee experience have the most impact on your customer experience.
Fixing them then becomes a win-win: your customers get better service, and employees’ working lives improve too, leading to higher levels of engagement.
A classic example is the contact centre. Are customers getting frustrated with the phone service they receive? Very often this isn’t a human issue – it’s a tech problem. A huge 69% of respondents to a ICMI survey10 said agents had to navigate multiple screens and interfaces to try to find answers to customer queries – frustrating customers and sapping agent morale.
5. Provide tech that enhances employee satisfaction
While workplace tech has evolved since the ICMI survey noted above, not all companies have kept up. A February 2022 study by TRUCE Software11 found that almost one-third (30.2%) were frustrated with having to use cumbersome or outdated systems at work.
As tech is a major driver of both employee engagement and the customer experience, it’s always a good place to start looking for areas of friction.
Qualtrics research12 based on 14,000 interviews shows that when employees are satisfied with their workplace tech experience they are 230% more engaged at work, have 85% higher intent to stay, and are 13 times more likely to say that their overall employee experience exceeds their expectations.
It's an area where HR and IT should work hand in hand to ensure employees have the right tech to be able to do their jobs well and deliver the best possible service to customers. As Dave Cornwell, Head of Solutions at O2, noted on a 2021 O2 Blue Door podcast13: “The adoption of technology should be led by HR. If we are to attract the right people, the right talent into an organisation, we need to have the right technology today.”
Get more insights in our new paper
There are changes every company can make today to improve the employee experience. Many of these improvements are technology-based, and an investment in new workplace technologies today can deliver tangible returns in terms of greater customer satisfaction and higher talent retention.
At Virgin Media O2 Business, we have direct experience of providing the right technology, partners and people to build a positive work culture with a focus on customer excellence. If you’d like to learn more about how to optimise your employee experience to boost your customer experience, read our report: The human connection: How empowering your people drives customer loyalty.