A wooden block with two hands holding a heart signifying customer and employee experiences. The background is a plain wooden surface.
Image: © Parradee/Stock.adobe.com

Treat staff as customers when building meaningful employee experiences

2 Nov 2023

Katie Whitehouse, senior people director, EMEA at ServiceNow explains how to keep employees happy to ensure customer satisfaction and strengthen brand loyalty.

A recent study commissioned by ServiceNow has revealed that 90pc of Irish consumers consider it crucial that companies engage with and treat their employees well. In fact, 79pc of buyers in Ireland agree they’d be less likely to deal with a business if they knew its employees were unhappy.

Organisations must focus on attracting and retaining customers to succeed amidst the rising cost of living and declining brand loyalty. Providing excellent customer experiences is one way to achieve this. However, as our research indicates, it is employee experience that must be ensured first and foremost.

Employee experience essentials

Customers are the lifeblood of any organisation, but they aren’t the only ones driving business success. It’s employees that keep companies running. They power operations and are the face of any brand.

Employee experience describes how staff think and feel through every touchpoint during their time with an organisation. It traces the employee journey throughout the lifecycle from recruitment to onboarding, training, career development and exiting.

A headshot of Katie Whitehouse smiling at the camera.

Image: Katie Whitehouse

The shift of focus towards employee experience is founded on solid grounds. Evidence shows happier, more engaged employees are up to 31pc more productive, 19pc more accurate and make 37pc more sales. And, as the recent phenomenon of quiet quitting highlighted, companies and economies suffer when employees psychologically tune out of work.

Disengaged employees cost the global economy an estimated $8.8trn. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 report, that equals 9pc of global GDP.  Therefore, the goal must be creating and reinforcing a workplace culture that prioritises a positive employee experience.

Treating employees as customers

As my colleague Simon Morris, UK and Ireland VP and solution consultant for customer experience, points out: “When employees are happy, they deliver great customer service. And when customers are satisfied, they stick around, buy more and become advocates – this is the revenue component that connects employee experience with customer experience.”

Morris has witnessed first-hand that employees are as vital for business success as customers are. Put simply, the employee experience has the power to make or break a company, so treating them as well as customers makes total sense.

Approaching the workforce in the same manner as the customer base helps to foster a greater sense of community and belonging. It serves to create an atmosphere of trust, security and loyalty. Boosting how employees feel about themselves gives them the confidence to bring their best selves to work– and when your employees feel the love, so will your customers.

How to deliver a consumer-grade employee experience

No two organisations are the same, so delivering meaningful employee experience at scale will look different between workplaces, industries and sectors. Nonetheless, we know employees value competitive salaries, flexible working policies, strong learning and development opportunities and clear pathways for progression the most.

Leveraging the right technologies to create unified, collaborative and connected workplaces is one of the most impactful changes employers can make on a practical, day-to-day basis. Four key avenues for deployment are:

Listen and learn in moments that matter

Employee data is key to measuring the attitudes of your workforce. Organisations can increase employee satisfaction and gain deeper connections by gathering insights and acting on the issues that matter to employees.

Modern employee experience platforms help businesses collect feedback from personnel, which builds an understanding of how the workforce perceives their experiences along their journeys. So, companies know where and how to improve – just like with customer feedback.

Deliver seamless journeys with intelligent workflows

ServiceNow research into employee experience found that 41pc of employees need help locating information on policies for HR and other departments. Not only is this a source of frustration for staff, but it also adds to the burden of managers who are left fielding the resultant enquiries.

Organisations can help employees navigate career transitions with personalised journeys that simplify interactions between systems and departments. Employee journey management platforms enable HR teams and managers to craft complete, personalised workflows that span the enterprise, ensuring employees have everything they need in a single place, no matter the lifecycle stage or touchpoint. The addition of generative AI within these workflows also gives HR leaders the tools to drive productivity and deflect cases, reduce redundant, manual tasks for HR teams and increase employee self-service to get the answers they need faster.

Support the changing needs of modern working environments

Since the pandemic, the world of work has undergone a monumental change in an exceedingly short space of time. It’s fair to say that most workplaces were caught out and had to cobble together piecemeal workarounds to ensure operations could continue under the challenging circumstances.

With intelligent workflow capabilities, businesses can quickly and easily adapt to market shifts like hybrid work, evolving technology, new employee experiences and policy changes. Employee experience platforms provide the agility and flexibility needed. By automating complex processes, they equip managers with the essential tools to manage and support employees across the enterprise, regardless of location.

Create a unified experience

Disparate working environments, data silos and disjointed processes are an unintended consequence of rapid digital transformation. Not only do they result in a lack of visibility, miscommunication and the laborious duplication of tasks, but they also fuel employee frustration, ultimately leading to disengagement.

All-purpose digital portals are purpose-built to boost engagement and unlock productivity. By providing a single platform that consolidates all the systems employees interact with, whether working from home or in the office, employees can access whatever they need from one system, so time isn’t wasted searching for information.

Technology isn’t a magic wand, but it is an integral tool when it comes to employee experience in the modern workplace—a tool made all the more essential given the importance of customer-grade experiences for business success.

By Katie Whitehouse

Katie Whitehouse is senior people director, EMEA, at ServiceNow. She has more than 20 years of experience in HR and people management.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading