Treating employees like customers

Posted in Best Practice

Employees are your most important asset, they are the face of your business in every single interaction. From current to potential customers, business partners, digital communities, and suppliers, to even other employees. Their voice, actions, and attitude are extremely powerful, as they are responsible for meeting your business objectives.

When it comes to business success, making a conscious decision to engage, nurture and support your employees (like if they were your customers) will definitely take your business performance to the next level. We have summarised 4 key points we believe you should consider in order to deliver an end-to-end employee experience that makes employees feel like they are receiving the VIP treatment.

1. Acknowledge the importance of your workforce

Each employee carries a set of skills, relationships, and knowledge that are of great value to your business. You might have an amazing product and service, but your real competitive advantage is your workforce. That’s why it is so important to recognise the individuals working behind the scenes making sure your brand is ahead of the game.

"Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients."
Richard Branson

Your employees are key, but their daily interactions and experiences are the doors to success. Each business is built on a complex web of processes and these can have a strong positive or negative impact on productivity. Teams like IT, finance, procurement and other essential business units focused on employee well-being are essential in making sure things run smoothly. Unfortunately, not many organisations understand the importance of delivering a holistic experience, and instead, each interaction is seen as a unique, isolated unit creating unnecessary, complex or boring tasks and roadblocks.

Being able to offer a coherent and integrated experience will allow employees to participate in a faster, more fluid and efficient process. Giving them more time to focus on the things that matter the most such as professional development and performance to positively impact innovation and customer relationships.

Employee success

2. Set-up a strong onboarding strategy

Ask your employees if they remember their first few days at work. What their experience was and how they felt. For many, that first interaction is still a very active memory even after many years. So, why is it that so many organisations fail to make a good impression then?

“ People tend to hold on to their first impressions - that's why those first descriptions can be so important. You don't even necessarily look at people that carefully after a while; you just hold on to that early impression.”
Miranda July

Designing and delivering a great onboarding experience is probably seen in many organisations as a nice to have rather than a critical process. The problem is, these organisations are underestimating the power onboarding has in reducing turnover, increasing employee retention and engagement. So, how do you make sure you don't  fall into this category?

  • Nominate someone to lead the design and management of your business onboarding strategy. Make sure this is aligned with your business culture and values. (We recommend reading ‘How to get creative with Onboarding’).
  • Asses if your organisation’s pre-boarding and onboarding experience are more focused on paperwork rather than experience. If it is, it's time for a change.
  • Allocate a budget for onboarding. This will have a positive effect in the long-run and will allow HR to build a robust program.
    Extend your onboarding experience past the initial orientation process. Some of the most effective onboarding strategies are developed up to 365 days.
  • Onboarding is not HR’s full responsibility. Make sure your hiring managers and your full team are involved in welcoming and engaging your new employees.
  • Use an HR technology focused on onboarding. This will help your business design, deliver, automate and track the impact of your onboarding strategy. Measuring your results is key to business success.
  • Make sure a positive ‘employee experience’ becomes not only a mantra in your organisation but a breathing value.

3. The power of performance reviews

If done right, employee performance reviews are one of the most powerful opportunities for managers and employees to connect, develop goals, recognise and evaluate performance. Here is some practical advice you can use to nurture and engage your employees with style:

  • Move away from the formal annual performance reviews, and shift to a bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly review habit. Frequent meetings will allow your business to constantly motivate and evaluate your employee’s performance and act quickly to generate positive change.
  • Listen and plan! It is not only important for employees to understand in detail what is expected of them, it’s also essential that they feel their needs are being met. Performance reviews are a two-way conversation.
  • Acknowledge and thank the good work of your high performing employees. This will make employees feel appreciated and will inspire them to keep contributing.
  • Don't be afraid to add some tech tools to improve your performance review process and improve real-time feedback.  (We recommend reading ‘5 pro tips for pitching HR tech to your company’)

Setup employees for success

4. Set-up your employees for success

It's not a surprise to hear that employees feel more engaged and motivated when businesses are committed to their professional growth and skills development.

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
Benjamin Disraeli

So, how do you make sure your business delivers a VIP career plan experience that will inspire success?

  • Design individual employee growth maps based on expertise and experience rather than positions or job titles. This will allow employees to build towards the future with flexibility. (We recommend reading ‘The new career prototype for Millennials’)
  • Set-up training, mentoring and coaching programs that will meet your employee’s expectations. Talented employees will have a natural interest to advance and grow in their careers, so offering the tools will keep them engaged and loyal to your business.
  • Make sure you communicate new job opportunities within your current workforce before you look outside the organisation. Employees will feel appreciated and will work harder to get that career progression when the opportunity arises.
  • Empower managers and employees with employee-driven data to help them build and track their career progression.

Treating Employees like customers is a practice that extends across all touchpoints of the employee journey; make sure you embrace it. We assure you will add value to your business beyond expectations.