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Juan José Ávila | Business Leader | everis Chile

From Customer Experience to Employee Experience | Part 1

Millennials have established a new social order based on experience. Processes and technology must accompany this experience based social order. This is an opportunity where everis can provide a completely employee experience based offering. We will learn how to tackle this new corporate challenge in a series of articles on employee experience.

By Juan José Ávila, Business Leader, everis Chile

Millennials have established a new, experienced based social order. In a recent Eventbrite report, 78% of millennials prefer living and investing in experiences rather than acquiring or accumulating stuff. In Chile, millennials make up 35% of the workforce, according to data from the Chilean National Institute of Statistics.

At everis Chile, out of 1,700 employees, around 70% are millennials and they prefer to take on work-related challenges that connect with their life goals and provide a learning opportunity -within the context of collaboration and trust-with their peers, superiors and customers.

Many organizations understood years ago that if they wish to attract and retain millennial talent, they have to create cross-sectional strategies for the entire organization that lure them and convert them into actual fans of their brands.

Employee experience is a new concept that is playing a critical role. It goes beyond employee engagement and employee advocacy programs, which we are all familiar with at large organizations.

At everis, we believe we can’t be a part of the digital transformation without delivering a good experience to our employees. Employee experience has helped reinforce our value proposition regarding employees and customers by leveraging our competitive advantages and aligning our technological efforts so that the digital transformation can be fully experienced at the organization.

At everis, we rely on necessary competencies to consolidate our employee experience project: culture, physical space, and technology — three key factors we have incorporated into our conscious-business model.

How was employee experience born? Before we review this experience, it is necessary to discuss how this concept came to be. How is it related to customer experience?

The concept of employee experience emerges from the experience economy and how it is related to a more common concept, customer experience.

Around 2014, this new concept became popular with authors such as Jacob Morgan, who discussed it in books, magazines, and niche blogs, among others.

Morgan, in his book The Employee Experience Advantage, suggests a four-tier evolution of the concept:

· Utility

· Productivity

· Engagement

· Employee Experience.

Utility involves how the employer was forced to provide employees with the necessary means to perform their duties in the 1970s: a pencil, calculator, and notepad. Then, employers had to ask, what do employees need to work?

This concept evolved and to be more competitive, organizations realized that it wasn’t enough for their employees to have the necessary tools to work — they also had to be more productive. The question that followed was: what do employees need to work better and faster?

Then engagement appeared, a radical new concept where organizations paid more attention to what employees care about and value instead of trying to get more from them. This has been a fixture in most organizations for nearly two decades now and begs the question: how can we make employees happier?

Engagement quickly paved the way for a broader concept, employee experience.

From an employee’s point of view, employee experience is everything that makes him or her show up for work at an organization every day. It’s about the vibe they get from the work environment, their coworkers, the physical space, as well as the technology that makes their life easier at work. From an organizational point of view, it’s all about the outcome of an articulate strategy that allows the company to attract a specific type of employee so they can do their best for themselves and for the organization.
The question becomes: how can I create an organization where my employees want to stay?

Employee experience is the memory generated in the mind of an employee after interacting rationally, physically, emotionally and psychologically with the company from the moment he or she became interested in joining the organization, going through the interviews as well as onboarding, training, and development processes, until leaving and even thereafter.

Based on this definition, at least three features stand out:

· Employee experience is a memory that is stored in the employee’s mind that conditions his or her behavior subconsciously, based on the quality of the memory (positive or negative). Employees take action based on what the experience made them feel rather than the experience itself.

· Employee experience involves reciprocal interactions between the employee and the company where both parties may or may not be present. When the organization is not present, we talk about moments — when both are present, we talk about points of contact.

Employee experience goes beyond the employee’s life cycle, which ranges from their first interaction with the company (from the first visit to the company’s website to learn more about it) to their last interaction at the time of separation, resignation, retirement, and so forth. The employee experience · must be understood from the employee’s point of view, not from the standpoint of internal processes within Human Resources.

Considering how novel this concept is, I think it is important to mention certain definitions, models, or methodologies that are utilized in employee experience projects and that sometimes are mistakenly used as synonyms.

· Employee experience does not mean human resources. The Human Resources department is only a piece of this giant puzzle that must engage all organizational departments.

· Employee experience does not mean employee value proposition. Employee value proposition is only one element that may be included in an employee experience strategy.

Employee experience is not a journey, a pathway, or a trip for employees. The journey map or experience map is a research tool that may be used as part of the employee experience design process and allows you to map certain · steps and interactions that employees go through during their life cycle at the organization.

· Employee experience is not compensation or an employee benefits plan. Employee experience refers to an employee’s emotional state as a result of environmental stimuli that go beyond the consideration an employee receives in exchange for delivering his or her services.

· Employee experience is not design thinking. Design thinking is a methodology that allows you to solve issues creatively within the employee experience design process, but that’s not employee experience.

· Employee experience is not engagement. Engagement is an employee’s motivation during his or her life cycle at the organization, while employee experience is a broader concept that encompasses moments before and after the life cycle where engagement is a plus.

· Employee experience does not mean employee advocacy. The purpose of employee advocacy programs is motivating and making it easier for employees to participate in marketing efforts by taking part in activities and sharing corporate messages in their personal social media feeds.

Investing in employee experience not only makes sense, it also positively affects the bottom line of organizations. Such correlation is not direct or proportionate as we’re not talking about a mathematical formula, instead we’re discussing actions that when strategically planned, affect or influence employee behavior.

For employee experience to have an impact on the business, the following behaviors must take place:

1. Employees must STAY with the company. It is important that employees enjoy working for the organization and establish a rapport that goes beyond enticing salaries and general working conditions.

2. EMPLOYEES should RECOMMEND the company. It is necessary that employees say positive things about the organization and take action to promote it.

1. Employees must BE PRODUCTIVE. It is essential that they are motivated to do their best to help the organization achieve its strategic goals. When I mention productivity, I’m talking about performance (how) and output (how much) as a measurement system.

Despite the effort I went through to make a distinction between employee experience and employee engagement, a skeptical reader might say that all this employee experience talk is a fad and at the end of the day, it’s just another formula to boost engagement.

Even though boosting engagement is a must, it does not establish a performance level that’s in line with the best interests of the organization. Therefore, the employee experience must be in line with the customer experience, inspiring the former with the company’s vision and core values so employees are proud of working there and try hard to do their jobs better than the day before, which positively affects the organization’s bottom line.

Employees are brand ambassadors. For employees to be able to recommend the company and its products, two things must happen. First, employees must live the experience the organization wishes its customers to live; secondly, the organization must revolve around its employees and not the other way around.

You can’t expect an employee to call a customer by name if their leader can’t recall his or hers. For example, an employee will not recommend buying insurance or getting a loan if the bank won’t extend them the facilities to acquire the products.

I think it’s important for organizations to rethink the chain of command with their employees. Can you imagine an organization where job descriptions are created with employees and not tacked “by default”? What if employees could customize their benefits or choose their cell phones or laptops according to their interests?

For the next part of this journey through employee experience, we will revisit the factors that influence it so we can discuss the steps to design a memorable experience for your employees.



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