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Meet Barry. Each morning Barry walks into work. A blurry eyed stare and an expression that warns if you ‘ask me how I am’ this morning you’ll likely get a FML response. Barry hasn’t always been like this. Just to get him into work mode each morning he treats himself to a supersonic dose of taurine and caffeine in a can. All to simply find a morsel of motivation to log on.  

After 4 years of dealing with a reporting that line that won’t listen, a micro manager directly above him and a macro manager who finds a way to make everything their idea, Barry has been crushed into towing the line. Just getting paid to be there and get through the days of turmoil.

It’s a far cry from when he first started. He had a flurry of ideas. The more he spoke to customers the more opportunity he saw to really improve things for them and for everyone around him. To strive for some positive results by helping those they serve. But time and time again Barry was reminded of the real purpose of going to work and that was “shareholder value”. Ba-bum! Since then its been clock in, but mentally check out.  

What I’ve described her is an amalgamation of examples I’ve experienced or watched others experience. There’s a graveyard of unhappy employee experience I’ve seen over my career and I want to share this with you today because this is not a happy place. Your staff don’t want to be at work and as such they loose their connection with each other but more importantly with YOUR customers. Happy staff deliver many benefits but none surpass the direct correlation to delivering happy customers.

Happiness and kindness is contagious and it effects every organisations bottom dollar.  

Olivia O’Connor

Can Barry in his disengaged state deliver the outstanding experience you are hoping for with your customers? Ding, ding, ding…. No is the answer.  

Your EX…. (no not your past lover that still checks your profile on FaceBook,) your Employee Experience directly relates to improving your CX. Your Customer Experience. Unhappy employees will do their job, but they won’t go the extra to go out of their way to improve things and they won’t go out of their way for your customers. They’ll tick a box and get the job done but you need more than that to stand out in today’s marketplace.  

Think of the greater good you’d do if Barry instead was able to be a part of a project that required him to talk to and connect with customers to bring about fresh new ideas and then collaborate across the organisation and include others in a journey that delivers customer fulfilment. We are talking about multiple touchpoints of human connection that would exist. And human connection is what drives purpose and the mastery of our skills.  

Support your team with a positive experience. Value them and support them to develop their strengths and capabilities and let them work to surprise and delight your customers.  

OK so if you’re an analytical type you want some evidence over simply here-say. How do we know EX has a positive effect on CX, beyond just making flat out common sense, that is?  

How about we look at some university studies:  

Here are some essential pointers identified in a study by Northwestern University – Linking Organizational Characteristics to Employee Attitudes and Behaviour 

  • There is a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and between customer satisfaction and improved financial performance
  • In the end, customers who are more satisfied with an organization’s products are less expensive to serve, use the product more, and, hence, are more profitable customers. 

The list goes on but let’s just say I’ve summarised the nature of a long whitepaper for you.  

Not enough?  

Here’s some stats presented visually by Hays Group global:

Oh ok I’m sensing you liked that one.  

Here’s another stat graphic to get us to a slam dunk. This one is by Mercer Global Advisory.   

So by now I hope we’re on the same page and you’re asking HOW do we get started to aligning EX and our CX?   

In an article by Forbes it outlines the direct connection between EX and CX having 3 key components. 

  1. It all starts with a brand’s “heartbeat.” 
  1. Employee reviews are (just as important as) customer reviews. 
  1. Employees can (and should!) be a brand’s best spokespeople.   

HEARTBEAT 💖

This can cut to the core for so many reasons. In today’s technology-driven world, consumers want to buy from brands that celebrate the human experience. Whilst consumers are buying online it doesn’t mean that they do away with the need to feel valued as a human being as well as having their purchase benefit other human beings. Consider how you are impacting the community and ensure you are educating your consumers on why their purchase decision positively effects someone or something in this lonely world. How can your products and services drive human connection with your consumers and the community.  

REVIEWS 🔎

Your employees are on the front line of customer experience every day. They will always be ahead of management in the feedback loop or good and bad service so make sure you pave a golden path to your office door. Welcome your team in for continuous and sustainable feedback especially when it has anything to do with your customers.  

+EX = Powerful Influence  🤩

If organisations take the time to open their eyes to the many talents of employees, they can create a genuine, authentic facet of promotion that consumers are more open and trusting to. How many paid promotional messages do you get each day? Wouldn’t you listen if someone you knew was telling you their positive experience instead. We trust people. Let your people gain the trust of your potential buyers. If your employees are however, unsatisfied and disengaged perhaps stick to the pay per click option.  

See what I’m saying here? 

One thing that’s hasn’t been mentioned here is the need for trust, psychological safety and open lines of communication both down up and top down. All of these things are required to form a customer centric and employee centric culture. Perhaps I’ll roll my advice into the next blog. 😉  

In summary:  

Combining customer-centricity and employee-centricity is a smart strategy for a multitude of reasons. Ultimately, every company in every industry benefit from improving their employee experience, because it has a direct correlation to CX, which has a direct correlation to revenue.  

Happy employees mean happy customers, but happy customers also mean happy employees.  

Interacting with satisfied customers not only makes working for your company exponentially more pleasant; it validates the hard work your employees do every day. What’s a great article without an inspiring quote to finish off……

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” 

Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup

Need more information? If you want to drive your Employee Experience and/or Customer Experience for better results contact Liv for a coffee and a chat.

This article was written by Olivia O’Connor founder of Liv By Design consultancy. If you’d like to look at ways to improve your organisations focus on the human side of work and connecting with your customers reach out today.

The rapid transition of new ways of working hasn’t failed put even the global innovation giants into a tailspin. Many are still working through their return to work plans and what the future holds for remote and hybrid working models.

Leading innovative organisations respect that a powerful and healthy workforce can give the business results and competitive advantage they are seeking. In what has been a human problem many organisations are embracing the fact that the solution to the problem lies with reframing our focus from tech and policies to fostering a more human side to work.

In the Forbes article How COVID-19 Transformed the employee experience Meghan Biro describes…

“Working from home can never be considered a trend again, or a privilege. For so many employees it’s become a part of their experience, a crucible moment when everything changed. From now on, it’s going to be a part of our lives. And instead of aiming to shape a better workplace experience for our employees, we’d best let our employees’ experiences do the talking.”

In a time of turmoil wouldn’t it be nice to think that we could regain our ability to reflect on the importance of human connection and collaboration? And then redesign this little thing called work…?

Let’s look at what the plans are for some of the big players when it comes to the future of work.

Hybrid Vs WFH

Dropbox have shunned the idea of Hybrid working model for staff. Instead they’ve adopted the “Virtual First” approach. Once teams are safe to then meet and collaborate face to face, they will offer on demand collaboration spaces called DropBox Studios.

“Hybrid approaches may perpetuate two different employee experiences that could result in barriers to inclusion and inequities with respect to performance or career trajectory. These big-picture problems are non-starters for us,” Dropbox explained in a blog post. 

“We also hope this Virtual First approach will give us the best of remote and in-person work, balancing flexibility with human connection, and creating a more level playing field for everyone. 

Importantly, going Virtual First is an opportunity for us to build an even stronger, more diverse workforce as we hire from increasingly different backgrounds and perspectives. And it’ll set us up to make the right investments in people to grow our business for the future.

While we think Virtual First is the right choice, it’s new for us and we know we may not get it 100% right immediately. So we’re committed to maintaining a learning mindset—to staying open to new information and feedback and iterating over time until we do.”

Earlier in the year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg voiced hybrid work to be the future and expected 50% of its staff to work from home over the five to 10 years. The company has 48,000 employees in 70 offices around the world.

More recently, tech giant Microsoft announced a shift to hybrid work for all its global employees.

Almost seven months after testing large-scale remote work experiment Microsoft has issued guidance to allow at least some staff to work from home even after the pandemic abates. The tech behemoth summed up its vision for the future of work in a blog post by Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Microsoft. Here’s an excerpt.

“Moving forward, it is our goal to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture. For most roles, we view working from home part of the time (less than 50%) as now standard – assuming manager and team alignment,” Hogan says

Speaking at the recently concluded Microsoft Ignite event, CEO Satya Nadella made a case for hybrid work culture and said tech intensity is key to business resilience and digital transformation. Nadella added “there is an urgent need to empower employees and foster a new culture of hybrid work. “

What are some of the other giants planning?

Google and Apple have extended remote work at least until mid-2021, and so have Salesforce and Uber.

Where does workplace culture now exist in a virtual workplace?

Global workplace health and wellbeing consulting firm The Energy Project share their thoughts on workplace culture. “Many people believe culture is intangible and cannot be intentionally altered, but in fact, policies and practices can be deliberately designed, tested, and tweaked. Today some of the most forward-looking companies are engaging employees by designing policies and practices that address four core human needs—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—the same factors used in human-centered product design.”

For many organisations, the transition continues to evolve. In Perth we are lucky enough to be back at the office albeit on rosters or part-time but the fear of close human contact is still very real and many desks and offices remain vacant as a constant reminder that this isn’t yet over.

For leaders to begin designing their modern workplace a human centred focus or employee centric culture is your recipe for success. Here’s some elements to keep in mind.

This article, how the modern workplace is driven by 6 core human needs gives a quick summary of what core human needs exist at work.

  • Security – We desire health, safety, familiarity, and competence.
  • Status – We seek recognition of our contributions.
  • Achievement – We strive for excellence and take pride in our accomplishments.
  • Autonomy – We seek freedom in our actions and decisions.
  • Purpose – We want to make a meaningful difference.
  • Belonging – We want a meaningful connection to others.

Think about how your workplace delivers on these? Where are the opportunities for improvement? What are some simple solutions you can implement quickly?

Global firm Aon who provide risk, retirement and health solutions have taken an employee centric approach to managing the needs of their 50000 employees.

“We have found that our open, employee-centric approach attracts the kind of employees we are looking for — those who are engaged, healthy, and share our values in terms of creating a good work-life balance, and because of this, we have a very good retention rate too. The board is very engaged in how we develop these strategies, and our management team are invested in making them work.”

Starting your journey to designing new ways of working can be daunting. Even the giants are still managing their way through it. One thing they all have in common however is a human centred approach. By focusing and uncovering the needs of your employee’s new ways of working will reveal themselves.

Organisations that listen and design solutions for their employees will reap the benefit of a more stable, engaged, and productive workforce.

Need more information? If you’re thinking about how to create new ways of working for your team with a human centred approach contact Liv for a coffee and a chat.

This article was written by Olivia O’Connor founder of Liv By Design a human centred research and design thinking consultancy. If you’d like to look at ways to improve your organisations focus on the human side of work reach out today.