When I first began my employment journey, my father told me to accept a job as offered, just be happy to be employed, and stay put! Coming from his experience where workers generally stayed at organizations their full career (even if unhappily so), I suspect he felt his advice was solid and wise.
I will say often that I do not think there are many differences in what generation over generation of employees want from their employment, but I do think the difference is the employee voice gets a little louder. My father surely did not want to work in a negative environment, be under-valued or treated as no more than a number. I am sure no one has ever actively sought that as a foundation from which to build. As his generation exited the workforce, we have seen a tremendous change in how employees and employers experience their relationship. Expectations have been raised.
When I am working with any organization, it helps to visualize this relationship (aka the employee experience) in the same way we view customer relations (aka the customer experience - from acquisition to repeat business to customer retention). From the moment a potential employee reads a job posting through to exit of employment, employees ARE the customer. They are customers of processes, systems, and ultimately how we chose to interact with them. When my father was working (and his father before him) he was still a customer of these things – his expectations were just not as high today’s workforce. Imagine if they were!
So why care now?
Organizations have learned that when they invest in positive employee experiences they will ultimately be rewarded with a much more engaged and productive workforce.
What are successful companies investing in?
When we think of employee experience (EX), we need to focus on all the “inputs” that go into how and what the employee encounters or interacts with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. In the above illustration, I have shown a few inputs organizations should be reviewing with employee input.
We cannot forget the “employee” piece of the employee experience.
We do not make assumptions about what customers want……. right? Then do not make assumptions about what your employees want or need. When employees are part of the decision-making process, it will help create a sense of ownership and connectivity to the business. Just as your customers want to know they matter, your employees want to know they matter too.
So now when I think back on my father’s advice, I think if the employee experience takes a front seat and continues to evolve, many folks probably would stay put!
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