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Design Your Employee Experience as Thoughtfully as You Design Your Customer Experience

Source | Harvard Business Review : By Denise Lee Yohn

Improving customer experience is often a top business priority, but what about employee experience?

Temkin Group reports a correlation between employee engagement and success in customer experience. In its 2016 Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, the firm showed that companies that excel at customer experience have one-and-a-half times as many engaged employees as customer experience laggards do. Gallup has found that a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged, but companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.

I’d argue that companies already know how to improve employee experience: All they have to do is apply to their HR practices the principles of customer experience design that their marketing and operations teams probably already use.

Applying customer experience strategy to employee experience begins with needs-based segmentation, grouping employees into clusters based on their wants and needs.  Most companies organize employees in standard groupings like job title, rank, department, business unit, or geography. But just as customer experience design requires a more nuanced understanding of customers than simple demographics or economic value, employee experience design should be based on employees’ drivers and desires.

It isn’t news that employees don’t all want the same development opportunities, rewards, and schedules. They differ in their level of interest in communicating and participating and in the kind of compensation and rewards they value. Companies should be able to provide experiences designed to appeal to these different segments.

Companies can also use a segmentation strategy in times of change. For example, it might be helpful to create groupings of skeptics, observers, participants, and champions. who have distinct needs and can be reached with tailored tactics.

Another tool HR can borrow from customer experience is the journey map, which outlines the steps customers go through in engaging with a company. This approach can be applied to employees through the employment life cycle as well. For example, here are the 10 stages a client of mine identified in their employee journey:

  1. sourcing and recruiting
  2. pre-boarding
  3. onboarding (orientation and initial training)
  4. compensation and benefits
  5. ongoing learning and development
  6. ongoing engagement, communication, and community involvement
  7. rewards and recognition
  8. performance planning, feedback, and review
  9. advancement
  10. retirement, termination, or resignation

For each stage, we outlined the desired outcomes for the company and for the employee. Working through each stage and employee segment, we identified the gaps between the current experience and an experience that would address employees’ needs, cultivate the desired culture, and align with our business objectives and requirements.

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