As humans, we’re pretty good at ignoring our own little imbalances – the doctor who smokes, the financial adviser who’s up to their eyeballs in debt. It’s something we do, glossing over the small vices because, after all, we’re all adults who make our own choices. It’s only really when those choices begin to negatively affect other people that we tend to call out those behaviours.
But what about when it’s a company doing it? Global online shopping network, Amazon, has repeatedly been in the news for its timed toilet breaks and draconian productivity measures. At the same time, the Amazon customer experience is astonishingly good, with everything from ordering to contactless delivery being a breeze. How can the customer experience (CX) be so wildly different from the employee experience (EX), and how do you align the two?
The employee mis-experience
Of course, not all examples are as extreme as that of Amazon, or the thousands of sweatshops and other exploitative workplaces around the world. In most cases, this disparity is a case of “shoemaker’s children”, where the company has prioritised their customers’ experience over their employees’, and have fallen short in EX as a result.
In some cases, we enjoy a bit of irony in these mis-matches – a managed IT services company that hasn’t switched over to fibre for their own offices yet; a medical aid that discourages employees from taking sick leave, a travel and leisure agency expecting their people to work overtime regularly. In other cases, it can simply be a matter of the company spending all their time and money on developing great customer relationships, while ignoring those with their staff. You wouldn’t put a goldfish in a sandbox, so why would you put your employees in a position that goes contrary to your customer ethos?
Does your EX match your CX?
There are hundreds of ways to measure both customer satisfaction and employee happiness. You can get people to complete surveys, ask for feedback, and trawl review sites as much as you like, but no amount of metrics make up for the fact that your employees are humans with real emotions that you can’t automate out of them.
You need to communicate with your employees regularly, and effectively, to make sure you are providing them with a positive employee experience. We can’t say it enough – happy employees are more productive, more loyal, and more efficient, so it makes business sense. We’ve written a few articles on ways to engage with your people, so we’ll cover just the basics here.
Understand your demographics and their context – South Africans are not Americans, or Europeans. Our context is not the same, and reading hundreds of articles on how to engage with Millenials won’t help if they’re written for an American/European market. Don’t listen to what other people tell you your staff want, listen to your actual employees.
Engage regularly – Especially in times like these, it can be challenging to keep engaged, but that makes it even more important to work on this. Make sure your employees know they will be heard, and their ideas and thoughts will be considered.
Do the surveys – No, don’t only do the surveys, use them as your kicking off point. Take the data that’s available, and try to understand it from a human, employee-based perspective. Then start asking pertinent questions.
Working on your employee engagement and focusing on employee wellbeing can be incredibly beneficial to your company – so much so that we can’t believe everyone isn’t doing it. At Tenaka, it’s our mission to transform the way companies and employees communicate, and make the workplace a great experience for all. Get in touch if you want to chat about the ways in which your EX can be improved to ensure that both your employees and customers love you