This approach should form the basis, the atomic level, of all the strategies and activities associated with the modern work culture.
Companies are more focused than ever on acquiring and retaining the best talent. It’s a significant budgetary hit when they lose an employee due to lack of interest, discontent or a better offer. The single most effective way of keeping talented employees from jumping ship is an empathetic focus on the employee experience. Companies must take an employee-first approach to digital transformation.
The modern workplace stresses the importance of what the employee can bring to the table in terms of skills, knowledge, capabilities, processes, customers, and revenue for the business. One of the best ways to improve employee experience is to have an empathetic focus on their needs while taking a plunge into digital transformation. Companies must cater to the needs of the people who work to create their products, services, support their brand and develop a culture of respect for their employees.
What is an Employee?
A company does not make valuable products, deliver world-class service, or even provide support; people do. A companies workforce brings vigour, enthusiasm and innovative ideas to a company. People are at the heart of all businesses. The company’s people are the force that defines the success or failure of a business.
Simply put, the employee is the core of any business, and is at the heart of any customer experience. Any employee, whether it be a sales representative or a customer service executive, form the basis of the image of a business. For example, an employee who is rude or harsh will automatically lower consumer experience, and will make people warier of employing the services of the company in the future.
Your employees build, implement, and use technology, which can be utilized to enhance the productivity of the business and enhance its value. Investing in employees and design thinking methodologies are more profitable, as they increase the productivity of employees. As people engage, learn, train and share experiences, they grow their expertise, thus being in a position where they can create more memorable customer services.
However, an employee is not just someone who helps a company to grow and prosper. In the modern workplace, interacting with an employee is the first step in understanding consumer experience. Investing in one’s employees entails understanding them as customers.
What Is A Customer?
In the world of economics, business is the means to an end, and converting a customer to a consumer is the end goal. Every product that is made for the markets is made for the customer. Through healthy competition, businesses gauge what a customer may want and evolve effective strategies to cater to their demands. The art of marketing has developed to create very efficiently, effective strategies that leverage targeted tactics to achieve measurable and repeatable success. Once a customer accepts a product and purchases it, they are then converted to consumers of the product.
What Is A Consumer?
A customer becomes a consumer once the final act of purchasing a product is complete. If they have a positive experience with the company, they become an advocate for the brand. The “Brand Advocates” are worth every single dollar that is spent investing in the company, as the most crucial way a business grows is by word of mouth. For example, ad campaigns do help in maintaining retention about a brand, but a customer is not likely to buy a product if they remember the name. However, they are more likely to but the product if they know someone who has used it, and has had a positive experience with the company and the product.
With the rise of digital transformation in growing the culture of a business, most of the interactions between the customers and products take place online. Thus, it has become essential to not only focus on the physical workplace, but also on the digital workplace, with equal, or more emphasis. Even though customers may not be aware of who it is behind the screen, they will associate any interaction, whether positive or negative, with the company. Hence, employee experience creates the final and lasting image of a business.
The Power of Marketing
Over the past decade, customer experience has evolved from a “technology first” approach to a “customer first” approach, through innovative design thinking strategies and an empathetic approach towards the needs of the consumer. This empathetic approach towards the customer reinforces the idea that the consumer is always right, and puts technology in the back seat, with a direct focus on human to human interactions.
In this regard, employees and consumers are the same. If all consumers are customers who have accepted a product by purchasing it, then employees become consumers when they embrace the idea of the company. An employee who is yet to be hired can be likened to the prospect of purchase, and once hired, they become a part of the company culture.
Just as a business cannot exist without its consumers, a company cannot survive without its employees.
Your employees are customers when they are not at work. Every customer requires a company that will grant them ease of access, meaningful and helpful content, convenience, collaboration, a streamlined pace of work, and easy communication. All employees require the same thing from their company, albeit in a different context. While consumers are looking for these options in order to help them correctly employ the services of a company, employees require these options in order to have a better work environment, with better communications, and a place where it is easy to work.
Most companies provide on the job training for new recruits, in order to familiarize them with the business and acquaint them with the work culture and ethics prevalent there. If an employee finds that their expectations are not met, or that they do not find the work culture conducive to them, they can easily leave. This causes a huge budgetary hit to the company since the employee has received all the required training, but the former did not receive the needed returns on their investment. Thus, simply training an employee and getting them ready for the job is not the end goal anymore. In the modern age, people are looking for a means to make their jobs seem like not quite a burden as it was once deemed to be. A company has the responsibility to cater to those demands. Otherwise, they may find themselves losing in the bid to keep up with their competitors.
Technology as an enabler of employee experience
In the digital age, customers rely on the speed of technology and advanced devices in order to have a fulfilling brand experience. For example, major delivery service has started using drones to send products to customers, who receive their orders at a faster rate, at a time that is convenient for them. Since businesses can afford to spend millions of dollars to ensure that their consumers remain loyal to them, there is no reason why they cannot spend a small portion of that amount to have the loyalty of their employees as well. Experiences should be created in an equal manner, both internally as well as externally.
The modern workplace must always be planned by keeping the needs of the employees above all else. This is the best way a business can ensure the successful implementation of a digital workplace. Regardless of where the company starts, iterative success will only be guaranteed if all the steps it takes are thoughtful, relevant, measurable and accurate. All the capabilities and tactics which are used to enhance consumer experience can also be used to manage employee experience, without going out of the way or reinventing the wheel.
Catering To Both Consumers and Employees
There are several similarities between a consumer of a business and an employee of the same. These include the following:
Similarities between Brand External and Culture Internal
Brands have a responsibility towards their customers, as well as their employees. A business that constantly updates and revamps itself to keep up with the times will always find itself providing relevant content to its consumers. Similarly, with timely training and guidance, a business can ensure that their employees are up to date with the latest tools of business, and can create a meaningful experience for their employees.
Similarities Between The Employee Experience And The Customer Experience
The most important similarity between a consumer and an employee are their experiences with the company. The digital workforce is a great tool to enhance this experience on both fronts. Working and engaging with customers in a regular, consistent manner will help them become more acquainted with the brand, and what it offers on the market, ultimately culminating in consumers. Similarly, engaging with employees through continuous interactions and group activities will help create a positive work culture, ultimately resulting in a place where employees are met with affirmative workplace experience.
Similar Marketing Practices Can Be Used Internally
As stated above, businesses are the means to an end. When the business is a brand, its end goal is always the customer. Similarly, a business as a company should always make its employees the end goal. In the same way that consumers can be used to create brand advocacy, a business can also utilize its employees to develop cultural advocacy. This can be done through a digital transformation, such as creating a digital workplace through aspects such as online help and remote working.
The customer is always the focal point of a business, and products, processes, programs, services and support experiences are always built, keeping them in mind. The same adage, which is used externally, must be used internally for the employees of a company. This focal point, or the end result, should always guide a business and help them make smart and digitally adaptive decisions, whether it be for consumers or employees.