The Importance of Understanding Your Employee’s Experience

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Understanding employee’s experience is key to improving employee satisfaction in the workplace.

About a year ago, I wrote a post titled: “Is Customer Satisfaction More Important than Employee Satisfaction?” in which I brought up an interesting point: Why do we ask our customers about their satisfaction with our product or service, but we don’t ask our employees how satisfied they are at work. If employees are seen as the most important asset of an organization, we must ask for their level of satisfaction too.

And I wonder, do we have to choose?

A few weeks ago, I read an article in which Emma Giner called: “managing Human Resources like the Marketing department, but putting the employee in the customer’s place”. I think this is something all of us who work in the HR department can reflect upon. Replicating the same thing which has been done for years by Marketing, instead of putting customers at the core of our business, placing our employees, and applying the 4 Ps of Marketing to them instead. Compensation instead of ‘Price’, comfortable places to work as equivalent to ‘Placement’, well-structured career plans as ‘Promotion’ and extra benefits for employees in place of ‘Product’. Not bad, right?

Marketing in Human Resources

Shortly afterward, I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd Forum on Employee’s Experience organized by Lukkap (@LukkapSpain): there, some interesting insights were presented. Besides, I had the opportunity to attend Esther Burges’ presentation (@BurgesEsther), regarding Communication and Employee’s Experience. Esther told us about her two-years evolution, since she changed role, and took a more employee’s experience-centered approach and how, again, the actions they carried out were perfectly comparable to those carried out by the Marketing department. Yes, people, Marketing 3 – HR 0

Seeing things from this perspective, it seems that Marketing is winning and I mean, a landslide victory, which is no surprise since the customer has always had more weigh in value. What I don’t think is fair is to start comparing the HR department to Marketing without having the same conditions to operate. Because I am sure that putting the customer in the organization’s spotlight with a budget is even easier than putting the employee in the same position with just using a lot of imagination, and without a budget!

This is the common denominator of Human Resources. There is no budget. It seems all the actions we take are expenses and we have to ask for money to manage the most important asset of our organizations. And if this is the case, some very logical questions arise: are we really putting the employees in the organization’s spotlight? What is the real value we give to our employees? We compare ourselves to the Marketing department, which is very good when we learn from what they have been doing with customers for years and translating it into the employee’s experience. But, is this possible without money?

The Internal customer comes the first

I think the time has come for us to really start having a budget for those who are important in organizations: people. Then, we will be able to talk about ‘Employee’s Experience’ starting with the same conditions we have when we talk about Customer’s Experience. Shall we do it? If we are willing, there are ways to accomplish it.

For instance, the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute’s data on the Employee’s Experience provides some clues to guide organizations wanting to follow this path and help to focus on Human Resources actions.

The drivers which have been taken into account are:

  1. Having a meaningful job

2. Recognition and growth

3. Empowerment

4. Relationship with colleagues

5. Trust

6. Conciliation of personal and professional life

On a global level, of the 6 evaluated areas, it is significant to observe how having a meaningful job is the most important thing for employees in all participating countries, including Spain, where this motivation was also the driver most valued by employees.

I think data like this shows we have a great opportunity ahead in order to make HR become (finally!) a strategic department within organizations.

Final reflection

Lastly, I share with you one of the recommendations included in the study’s conclusions, which I, of course, agree one hundred percent:

“Hearing the voice of your employees regularly (through platforms, pulse surveys, social listening, etc.) in order to understand the nature of their experiences at work and to discover opportunities for greater empowerment”.

If you liked this type of article, click here to find out about the power of an engaged workforce.