Modern companies are creating increasingly well-crafted experiences for their customers and, through their external focus, excel at engaging their users through their products and services. Often, though, they tend to forget their other most important user group: their own employees. Creating amazing user experiences for the people making their product or delivering their services allows companies to really stand out in this employee driven market. Employees are often an overlooked asset. Having invested a lot of time and money to educate them, they have an abundance of knowledge and experience that is difficult to reproduce. To get the same value in a new employee - if you can even find them - takes thousands of dollars and years of investment. Retaining these heroes is key. It is time to start looking in.
In this three-part blog series, we want to explore what designing for employee experience really means and how our expertise and experience in the best UX can impact workplaces all around the world. In this third blog, we will tell you more about how to be quick. By reading the first blog, you get to learn more about being there and in the second blog we tell you more about how to be relevant.
What if we can make your brand identity connect with the identity of your employees?
In our previous blog we discussed how being relevant and knowing what drives your employees will help you improve your entire business. We also talked about how using specific (gaming) triggers will help you define the ways to engage your employees. In this blog we will discuss how you can create actionable insights into growing your employees, which will result in a growing company.
For many companies, their brand identity is the most important factor to their success. Brands like Nike and Coca-Cola are instantly recognisable, but also in a deeper sense are brands often identified with certain values. Brands like Patagonia and Triodos are practically equivalent to sustainable business practices, where brands like Nestlé aren’t. On the other hand you also see non-sustainable brands taking over sustainable ones to incorporate a green value. An example of this is Coca-Cola's takeover of Innocent or Unilever's takeover of the ‘Vegetarische slager’ Either customers identify with a brand or they don’t, so companies all over the world are fighting to make their brand as likeable and recognisable as possible.
The internal counterpart of brand identity is a company vision. Something that drives all the work that is done, based on morals and values of a company. In essence it should be the most important driver for all employees. There is one basic condition for gaining support for this company vision and that is strong leadership. No, no, not a strong management team, but a strong leader. Someone who is willing to share their thoughts and involve each and every one in the objective to become a great company.
Strong management transparency leads to 30% better employee retention
(source). Engaged employees start with engaged leaders. If there is no vision to share, it is impossible to have a shared vision. Strong leadership will empower employees to show who they want to be and do what they want to be. In the end, it’s all about extracting the most potential from people. Being open and transparent as the leadership and/or management team is an essential start to achieve this. Openness and transparency lead to a feeling of trust and relaxation, which is the right mode to be in when creativity and productivity are needed.
In development, we use an agile way of working. This means that we quickly validate designs and have development and design working at the same time inter-connectedly. This gives us all the ability to be quick, flexible and adaptable. An agile way of working means giving every team member full responsibility and having them directly communicate to the client thus facilitating the full exchange of trust.
This kind of interconnectivity is also important when looking at employee experience and loyalty. On one hand you need to be able to quickly act on small changes that influence the workplace and on the other hand you need to systematically improve the ever changing employee expectations and wishes.
An Employer Value Proposition together with an Employee Experience Maturity Matrix give insight in this. This shows you how people in- and outside the company perceive your brand, but also give you insight how mature the company is when looking at employee loyalty. From this maturity the focus points can be distilled. All this gives a clear and actionable list of improvements that will help you set a new bar for employee engagement.
Where do you stand when looking at this? By moving up on the maturity scale employees will increasingly be engaged with their work, with the brand and with the vision of the company and will actively contribute their energy and knowledge to their company.
There are many tools that can add to recognising the needs and demands of employees. Some tools are built to analyse a short term sentiment and other tools are created to help the employee grow within the company and to show where this person is suited best. Tools like Officevibe give the possibility not only to gather feedback from employees and find out how happy they are with the work that they do, but also facilitate direct conversation. A feedback loop is initiated that will give the employee the feeling that the line between giving feedback and seeing things improve is always available to them and always ‘on’.
A different tool that focuses more on the long term is the talent motivation assessment, this is a tool that shows the strengths and challenges that someone has concerning specific tasks. This gives insight into where the person is at its best and how it can contribute most to the company. In this assessment there are no weaknesses, there are only properties that can be utilised.
This is a great starting point.
From there you can define the best way to trigger the employee, what are the issues that are important for them and how can we make them the brand ambassadors that make your company the most desired employer.
We have experience with this and we can help you figure this out for your company. If you can give us one hour of your time, we can give you some great actionable insights that help you engage your employees and take your internal organisation to the next level.