Engagement is a two-sided game
Why customer and employee journeys must be interlinked
Build a strong, client-focused culture. Introduce new ways of working. Grow your people. Enable them to be agile and adaptive. Harness the potential of diversity across the organization. These are just some of the challenges your HR department faces today.
In the meantime, employees are changing. The younger generations are looking for a sense of purpose from their job: they are attracted by the employer brands that they admire as consumers. And, by choosing to be employed by a brand, they are signaling their values, and the beliefs they stand for.
That’s why the employee experience is as critical to business performance as the customer experience. Whilst employee engagement is often a task delegated to HR leaders, there is no reason to keep it separate from the customer engagement practice. But unfortunately, it often happens.
The risk is a misalignment between the promise you broadcast externally and the day-to-day reality of working for your company, creating disillusion amongst your employees and dissatisfaction amongst your customers.
In other words, there is no useful distinction between an employee brand and a customer brand: they are two sides of the same coin. And the word “brand” is not used by chance: the brand is central because it is the only thing that can effectively align the purpose and execution of the employee’s and the customer’s journeys.
With customer journey mapping emerging as a vital discipline for sales, service and marketing teams, there is much that the wider business could apply from this burgeoning skillset. Here are some suggested steps:
- Identify who are the “personas” you want to attract and retain in your organization: what are their profiles, needs, beliefs and expectations?
- Involve them in assessing their current experience, and learn from competitors and category best practices. How can the employee experience be improved?
- Use the brand as a filter to design a differentiating employee experience, from first impressions, to the application and the selection process, whatever the outcome ends up being (positive or negative). Does this convey an honest portrayal of what it will be like to work for your company?
- Make newcomers proudly wear the team shirt. How can you shape the induction process in order to make your new staff feel part of something great and different?
- Involve managers in the process of developing the “employee journey”. They know how to have an impact on their employees’ daily life. How best to value their contribution?
- Test the employee journey with end users. Does the entire system and its individual components work, or can they be improved?
- Don’t forget the “ex”. The community of former employees and managers is of paramount importance in forging a company’s reputation. How to keep them in the loop?
- Finally, support the employee journey with rituals, symbols, and stories. People will recognize them as tangible manifestations of your culture. This will foster belief and commitment across the whole organization – and better business results over time.
Businesses need to change their approach to employee engagement by focusing first on the brand in order to develop the culture, and not the other way around. They need to model brand-led behaviors around a carefully designed employee journey, because beliefs are a consequence, not a goal.
Brand equity and value are no longer created just by the impact you have on your customers, but more and more by that which you have on your employees.