We all spend an average of 3000 hours every year or approximately 90000 hours of our lives in the office. And I know this is - 'Shocking.'
So as an employer, do you know whether your employees are engaged, and is the time well spent, resulting in a win-win? Ask yourself:
Do they love to come to work every morning and make work fun, exciting every day? Are they happy to refer their family and friends to the organization? Are they part of a great team and charged with energy? Is the group mannerism optimistic and constructive, and are they encouraged to get the job done and accomplish goals you thought were impossible? Do they take pride and feel a sense of belonging in working with your organization? Do you firmly believe that the team has their back in every situation?
Do they hate coming to work and keep making excuses? Are they in a constant battle and disagreement with their manager and are afraid to share honest feelings? Do they keep their heads down and feel bulldozed by the management and are afraid to speak up? Do they think of vacations and holidays an escape route?
If it is the latter, your employees are disengaged and constantly on the lookout for better opportunities.
Employee experience matters
To be successful, your organization needs your employees to be dedicated, energetic and wholeheartedly engaged to the purpose of the business and should provide the best service to customers. Engagement, as research indicates, leads to better business performance and customer satisfaction.
The employee experience comprises of all those things that enable and equip an employee to do his or her job. It includes the tools and facilities, their levels of autonomy, growth opportunities, the makeup of teams, communication styles adopted, the nature of leadership and management, and other embedded norms and values that form an organization’s culture.
Today, your employees don’t want to be managed but want to be led. These knowledge workers want to contribute and engage in every aspect of their job.
Given how employee experience drives customer experience and loyalty, innovation, and ensure productivity, you must ask yourself:
- How do you address their needs and wants?
- How can you reshape the employee engagement to create the critical two-way relationship, as often the employee have the hands-on knowledge than their managers?
Improving employee experience using design
Design thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that look for an improved future result. It is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity, and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success. There are no judgments early on in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation in the ideation and prototype phases. Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the "building up" of ideas. Outside the box, thinking is encouraged in these earlier processes since this can often lead to creative solutions.
Here are 4 areas to rethink and how you can use design thinking to date, get engaged and tie the knot with employees by focusing on the employee experience.
- All you need is empathy and consider them as a human
When you want to transform your culture to provide ultimate customer experience and successfully address the opportunities and challenges in the digital era, you need to empathize with your prospective and current employees.
You need to put yourself in their shoes, be out in the job marketplace and while dating see why will you as a candidate get attracted to this organization or will you turn your back. Are your aspirations, values, preferences, likes, and dislikes, in sync with the organization?
Likewise, once you have identified a common thread that can bind you, you get engaged. As you spend considerable time in each others company and engage with others to make the business great, you get to reiterate that you have made the right decision. It's critical that the organization provide an energetic work environment, can help you connect the dots and wins your heart and mind, that helps you achieve your personal and business goals.
Marriage, on the other hand, is a long-term commitment. Often the reasons for hire is to meet the demands of an upcoming project or fill an immediate skill gap. To pretend otherwise isn’t good for both of them. The reality in today’s dynamic market is no organization can offer a lifelong marriage. So set the expectations right and prevent the love affair ending in a messy separation. However, to get a prospective employee walking down the aisle, or an existing employee to commit and devote, make a promise that is a win-win for both.
Use design thinking tools to create employee personas, employee empathy maps, and map the employee experience journey. By humanizing the personas and creating different segments of the multi-generational workforce, you get insights beyond surface level demographics and psychographics, that is critical to customize their experience at the different stages of the employee lifecycle and minimize turnover.
For example, an experienced external lateral hire has a different set of emotions, needs, and touch points than new college graduates or experienced sales professionals.
What motivates the college grad to take their first job? Is it joining a startup and working on a high-profile project? Is it the perk of joining an MNC and living in a big city? These questions highlight an employee's intrinsic motivation; that you can use to shape your interactions with them.
Understanding who your 'customers' are should be very clear from whom you DO NOT WANT, which characteristics are a good fit for your culture, how they are unique, what frustrates them in an employer or manager, and what 'tools' they need is the first step.
- Reduce your blind spots
You have put the findings into action by creating an experience map and personalized the journey for the employees.
However, to succeed in the dynamic work environment, leaders are constantly making changes and setting new performance expectations. It's critical that they understand what can positively or negatively impact the employee experience. Your leaders “need to know your employee's ability and preparedness to either live through and survive and thrive through the change or meet the performance expectations.”
By capturing the Voice Of Employees (VoE) and analyzing workforce insights, you can determine the way forward. It also gives employees an opportunity to share honest feedback on the reality.
It gives you the insights to these questions
- What are they complaining about?
- What are they looking for?
- What is holding them back from being efficient and effective?
This may put you on a path towards better training for managers, using technology, flexibility in the workplace or other solution.
- What are they complaining about?
- Boost employees’ growth and learning opportunities
If your business is constantly evolving and growing, your staff need to be equipped with skills to function efficiently in the digital world. By not doing so on time, there can be two consequences: either they will start to underperform and eventually be asked to leave, or the employee will be frustrated and leave.
Your L&D team no longer can play a reactive and supportive role. They have to redesign learning and have to establish close linkages between the learning styles of ‘digital learners,' and the impact of learning outcomes with business goals in real-time.
By providing learning opportunities to existing employees, you can cut down the cost of hiring and training a new hire.
- Encourage knowledge sharing in creative ways
You also need to promote knowledge sharing in creative ways by every individual employee, even the shy and timid ones. Even doubters have a place in an engaged business. They too are entitled to ask questions, clarify their doubt and be a little cynical just as it is everyone else’s right to stay optimistic.
Every employee is wired differently and whether employees are a glass half empty or glass half full – what matters is they are involved because highly engaged employees give a better customer experience.
“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic
Making it easy by becoming experienced architects and designers
In the digital era, the human resources team works as 'experience architects and designers,' you are anticipated to don the hat of the music conductor of a dating and marriage orchestra who can visualize the outcomes of the melody you want to produce while you date, get engaged and tie the knot with your employees. You have to make the choices related to the artists, musicians, instruments, musical notes, studio location, stage hands, and manager to set the tempo and shape the team’s interpretations and sounds to create a memorable employee experience.