Organisations have many different stakeholders – two of the most important groups are customers and employees. The ideals of Customer Experience – or CX – have been around for a little longer than employee experience (EX); however, many companies have long stated that one cannot exist without the other.
Mantras like Marriott International's is a phrase that goes back to the 20th century;
"If we take good care of our associates, the associates will take care of our guests, and the guests will come back."
Since then, CX has evolved significantly to keep up with the competition and change of modern society. As employee experience evolves at a similar rate, what can leaders do to keep EX in step with CX?
A great place to start here is to consider that employees, like customers, are evolving at a lightning pace. Organisations are finding – with increasing urgency – that attracting employees is getting increasingly complex, in the same way, new competitors enter the market and disrupt business all too easily.
Customers' spending power has declined during the pandemic, and consequently, they are becoming choosier. Employees are also becoming pickier – the employment market has never been tighter.
Employees are evolving into increasingly diverse, complicated individuals (sounds familiar when you think of your customers, right?). They work (or seek) atypical shift patterns, take on multiple jobs or gigs, view adequate compensation as more than just a fair wage, and look for ways to fit in precious personal time around their job – and not the other way round. Leaders cannot afford to look at this and think, "How dare they?"
Customer Experience is adapting to changing norms in intriguing ways. There has been a monumental shift to online sales channels – almost everything is digitalised, from ordering groceries to keeping fit.
Customers are valuing sustainability in the wake of ever-grimmer news regarding the environment and the planet's future. Customers also want unparalleled personalisation and individualisation, as well as immersive experiences. Finally, they also want to lose the middleman, seeking wholesalers and distributors.
Seeing as our employees are customers of some organisation somewhere (maybe even our own), what better idea than to align what customers want with what you can – or wish – to offer your people?
A digitalised EX is the easy part. Many elements of the employee lifecycle are already online, from digital onboarding, eLearning, virtual interviewing, and electronic employee files. Sustainability is harder to incorporate into EX, but it can be championed through values and corporate social responsibility.
The most significant opportunity to align EX to CX is through individualising the experience. Employers can drive atypical working patterns, encourage working from home and offer other flexible activities to allow employees to find an experience which will work for them.
Workspaces can be modular, and organisations can encourage hotdesking to create a wide variety of working variations that add tremendous value to your employer brand. Other positive solutions are asking employees what they want to work on and creating bespoke goal plans and development pathways.
Personalising EX involves asking employees a (sometimes) scary question:
"What would you like?"
After asking this question, organisations need to be prepared to act upon what they hear. Employees need to remember that it is okay to ask for what they want. Today, workers seek an experience that goes beyond a sterile cubic job in a nine-to-five workplace. What can you do to deliver this?
By aligning CX to EX, you place your people on a pedestal equal to the customer. Communicating what you offer employees drives your employer brand, and if you do it well enough, you will become the best in class. Attracting talent the right talent can be demanding but rewarding, so rise to the challenge and do as much as you can to give each employee what they want, the same way you would for the customer.