As the HR head of my company, when I ask myself a question about the significant stakeholders of a company, the answer I get are these three.
- The Employees
- The Customers
- The Shareholders
While all three are important, I believe that we just need to focus on the first two. If we are able to create an experience for Employees and the Customers, our shareholders will automatically be taken care of. Now, let’s try and decodify the formula.
When I look at our customers, I understand the need for a differentiator experience that ensures customer loyalty in the long run. The differentiator experience is what sets us apart from our competitors and provides us the edge to survive.
A quality product or service is important but not the only thing. We need to ensure a great experience and ecosystem for our customers through the journey of using our products and services. This holds true irrespective of one being a product company or a services company.
Let's understand this with a couple of examples. When we look at Apple’s product iPhone, we realise that people buy it for the simplified experience while calling, texting, or using applications. Every aspect of the product from its design to its user interface and usability is better than most of its competitors.
A quality product is essential but it is just the foundation of the overall experience that drives user purchase and retention. Let’s look at this from a different perspective now. You have to choose between two restaurants: the first restaurant promises great food but is rated low on customer service and ambience. The second restaurant has an equally good menu and is rated very high by customers for service and ambience. Which one would you choose?
Most customers rate a product or service based on the overall quality of the experience. A company cannot excel at one while failing in any of the rest. Overall customer delight drives customer experience and retention.
It is a reality that we live in a world of experience and we want an experience which creates all the positive feelings in us at emotional level. In Dassault Systemes, we call ourselves as 3D Experience Company because we understand the importance of experience.
Now moving to the second significant stakeholder (i.e. the Employees). The formula we used in the customer experience can be similarly applied here. It is all about quality product/services + experience.
My firm believe is that we can create an engaging journey for an employee when he or she is not only satisfied or engaged at cognitive level but also at an emotional level. Every company today claims to provide challenging work assignments and ample opportunities to grow with competitive compensation and rewards. While all this is essential at a cognitive level, what results in loyalty or bonding with the company is when the same employee is satisfied or engaged at an emotional level.
How is he or she feeling in the company? Is he or she feeling valued? Are they recognised appropriately? Do they have an enabling company culture which provides them openness and transparency?
As a HR Professional or leaders of a company, it is critical for us to ensure we provide engagement to our employees at both cognitive as well as emotional level. In the absence of one, we will never be able to create a wholesome experience. Employees will be willing to strive only when they have an experience which enables them to go extra mile. This element is very important for any company because a striving and engaged culture has direct impact on the overall success of the business.
Despite such an easy formula, not all companies have been successful in leveraging this. In my opinion, the major reason of failure on this is the mindset of leaders. This journey is possible only with effective leadership. The culture of experience can be enabled when leaders are committed towards these efforts and work collectively to make it happen, and in the process challenging and overcoming their comfort zones.