The rapid pace of digital transformation has changed how organizations interact with their customers and employees. As patience levels decline and operating in real-time becomes the norm, companies are realizing the fact that experiences – good and bad – matter. The renewed focus on crafting engaging and fulfilling experiences is now influencing how a business entity communicates with their customers and employees, and how the line between the two is blurring. Let us take a closer look at how the ‘customer-first’ approach has paved way for the ‘employee-first’ model:
Understanding Consumers in the Digital Age
The advancement in digital technology has created a hyper-connected world where consumers have access to an abundance of information. In the business world, this has helped brands cultivate engaging experiences for their customers and interact directly with them. New strategies are being deployed to focus on increasing accessibility, designing immersive experiences, providing instant gratification, and using targeted communications. While on the one hand this has naturally empowered consumers and provided them with the freedom of choice; on the other hand, it has allowed businesses to understand their customers better and offer them relevant products and services.
Applying Consumer Experience to People Management
In the last few years, employers have realized that their employees are essentially their first consumers. The focus on creating relevant, fulfilling, and customized employee experiences has driven productivity and helped organizations sustain business growth. By treating employees as customers, organizations are increasingly committing to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their workforce. As a matter of fact, in order to ensure that employees transform into excellent brand ambassadors for their businesses, organizations are walking the extra mile and getting involved in their employee lives beyond work as well.
Offering New-Age Employee Benefits using Technology
In a research study, Sodexo found that private medical insurance, flexible working hours (including work from home), learning and development opportunities, and meal benefits are the top four non-financial benefits most desirable in India. Today, digital tools and technologies allow organizations to offer all these benefits to their employees. However, in order to serve their purpose, these benefits need to be personalized and easily-accessible. Thus, using technology as an enabler to provide more freedom to your employees and cultivating a better experience for them, while offering hyper-personalization and a dedicated support system, will result in a happy and motivated workforce.
Redesigning Employee Experience Digitally
An engaging employee experience has three main constituents, namely, hyper-personalization, a high degree of choice, and a constant channel of interaction. Offering personalized support and benefits to employees, providing them with the freedom to choose their way of working, and creating a culture of constant communication and collaboration are just a few of the many ways in which consumer experience strategies are being used to create an engaging employee experience. Organizations that apply consumer experience principles in people management strategies are able to meet the expectations of a diverse workforce and provide enhanced autonomy to their employees. This has allowed them to check retention, keep a tab on motivation levels, and proactively solve people challenges.
Employee experience is what you deliver at your workplace, to keep employees happy at the workplace and beyond. Traditionally, organizations have been pre-occupied with designing and delivering the best benefits for their employees. However, with the increasing use of digital technology, the focus has shifted from the ‘delivery’ to ‘keep employees happy at the workplace and beyond’. In the future, one can expect companies to further focus on creating innovative employee experiences in order to tackle complex workforce challenges.
(This article is based on the session ‘Impact of Digital Benefits on Consumer Behaviour’ by Stephane Michelin, CEO, Sodexo Benefits & Rewards Services, India, at the Total Rewards & Wellness Conclave’19 on 16th February 2019).