4 Winning Employee Experience Ideas You Can Steal From the Customer Experience Playbook

Did you know? Customer experience best practices are a great source for employee experience ideas.

It seems hard to believe, but the concept of “experience” is a relatively new phenomenon. It was only a decade or so ago that tech giants like Amazon, Netflix and Airbnb really opened the world’s eyes to the power of a simple, intuitive experience. Ever since then forward-thinking organizations have been jumping on the bandwagon trying to replicate that unique magic for their own businesses.

That focus towards delivering an exceptional experience has been focused almost solely on customers however, the rationale being that improving the customer experience would lead to greater customer retention and increased sales. Thankfully, that focus has begun to expand in recent years to include employees.

Organizations finally understand that not only do employees have a huge impact on customer experience themselves (happy employees = happy customers after all), but that employees -- the foundational force behind the success of any organization -- are equally deserving of simple, easy-to-use digital experience as they go through their work day.

So how can your organization deliver the kinds of award-winning employee experiences that will help you attract and retain the best talent, increase productivity and drive bottom line value? By stealing a page from successful customer experience playbooks and taking advantage of these top 4 practices:

#1 Personalization

Personalization plays a huge role in any leading customer experience, to the degree that it’s really become a table stake. Whether it’s Amazon alerting you to deals on products like those you’ve purchased in the past or Netflix recommending your next binge-worthy show based on your viewing habits, consumers have come to rely on technology to provide them with guidance that makes their lives easier.

Your employees are also looking for that sort of assistance, so provide it! It’s easy to do and can be accomplished by simply taking advantage of all the employee data you already have at hand.

Consider this all too common example:

  1. Your employee logs in to the corporate application portal to search for new software.

  2. They’re presented with multiple options related to operating systems and processor sizes, very little of which they understand so they choose the option for Windows 32bit figuring it can’t make that much of a difference.

  3. The software downloads but fails to run, instead displaying an error message. Time invested: 10 minutes. Frustration level: Mild annoyance.

  4. The employee then logs in to the IT support portal to review knowledge-based articles in the hopes that they can solve the problem themselves. After multiple unsuccessful searches however, they give up and submit a support ticket. Time wasted: 25 minutes. Frustration level: Growing irritation.

  5. Eventually a help-desk representative calls and conducts a standard diagnostic protocol, asking a series of questions before determining that the employee downloaded the wrong version of the software (32bit vs 64bit). Time wasted: 10 minutes for the help desk rep and 10 minutes for the employee. Frustration level: Discouraged and ready to give up.

  6. The employee is now back at square one. They not only have to go back to the software portal to find the correct software and restart the install process, they have to first uninstall the incorrect software they never should have been allowed to download in the first place. Time wasted: 25 minutes. Frustration level: Tired disappointment and disgust.

All of this could have been easily avoided.

Your organization has huge volumes of information available on employees, ranging from location data to job function, devices, reading behavior, learning preferences, and more. Use it to create personalized, contextual experiences for employees that simplify processes, reduce friction points, and increase engagement and satisfaction.

#2 Self-Service

Consumers love digital self-service as a faster option for accomplishing almost anything. Whether its using a laptop online, a mobile app or a chatbot to make an appointment, schedule a delivery or order takeout, the vast majority of people prefer to take care of tasks themselves as long as the process is faster or simpler.

Why it is then that employees still don’t generally have access to easy digital options for performing routine business-related functions, like updating their employee information or requesting time off?

To create an employee experience that competes with its consumer counterparts, organizations need to provide tools that empower workers to quickly and easily handle tasks as and when it’s convenient for them. Creating an employee experience layer that aggregates important information and tasks from core enterprise systems is one way to do that. Implementing a chatbot is also a good option, one that gives workers round-the-clock access to all the information they need, regardless of functional group, from an easy-to-use conversational interface.

#3 Simplicity and Ease of Use

It’s just a fact that online retail stores that fail to make it easy for customers to browse, shop or find information won’t be in business for long. Successful shopping experiences require thoughtful UX, with sites designed to eliminate all roadblocks or points of friction that could stand in the way of a sale. Amazon is probably the best example of the ideal experience, with the site design making it possible for customers to search, find, compare, and purchase products within seconds, while also making it easy to find all the information they could need to make an informed buying decision.

Now, compare that to the experiences your employees face. How many steps does it take to complete high volume tasks such as booking a day off, submitting an expense report, getting IT requests resolved, and so on. Does your experience stack up? If not, then you’ve got some work to do because you’re basically paying your workers to waste time and preventing them from focusing on their high-value work.

If you would never work with a business that required multiple systems or phone calls to request a service, don’t put your employees in the same frustrating position. Talk to them about their pain points, understand their needs and design purposeful systems and processes and facilitate work, not stand in the way of it.

#4 Omni-channel Experiences

Consumers expect to be able to interact with their favorite brands on any channel at any time of day. They also expect those interactions to be seamless, whether it’s in store, online or across conversational interfaces such as chatbot support. Given how ubiquitous that anytime, anywhere access has become, people are now expecting the same level of service in the workplace, especially since they’re often no longer tethered to a physical office space.

Employees need the flexibility to manage the rapidly blurring lines between their work and personal lives. The more organizations can meet employees where they are and facilitate that fluidity, the more engaged and productive employees become, creating a win-win situation all around.

There’s a lot organizations need to think about and decide as they evaluate their employee experience strategy: how to avoid potential pitfalls, approaches to involving the right teams, whether to outsource or build a custom solution…it feels like a daunting, never-ending battle even at the best of times.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

By focusing on these 4 key strategies that have helped lead consumer businesses to success, your organization can be up and running with an intelligent, award-winning employee experience of your own in no time.