Customer experience. Customer journey mapping. Customer advocacy. Over the past decade, there has been a huge – and sorely needed – shift to focus on the customer versus the product and services that a company is trying to peddle. This is all to the good. But the problem is that with this relentless focus on the customer, there is an equally important group that has been getting the short end of the stick: the employee. I spent five years working in the customer experience management space, and I believe that part of the issue is that companies lacked the necessary digital tools – and the know-how to use them. Happily, current trends are starting to point to all of this changing. What we are finally starting to see is increased attention being paid to the employee experience – it is, after all, the employees that deliver the service to the customers.
There are three key trends that are shaping up to make 2017 the Year of the Employee:
1. Increased executive focus on the issue
The first step is admitting you have a problem. A recent study of more than 550 executives, 71 percent of respondents rank employee engagement as “very important” to achieving overall organizational success. However, only 24 percent say employees in their organization are highly engaged. Organizations are starting to see the importance of employee experience and the fact that they aren’t doing very well at it.
2. Better digital tools
Our work lives and our personal lives are blurred. Employees are expecting the same types of digital experiences at work as they have on their consumer applications. With millennials now making up the largest cohort of the workforce this pressure has increased dramatically. The challenge is that until recently, the answer to this at the enterprise has been clunky information sharing tools that were developed in the 1990’s, when client-server architecture and horrid user interfaces were the norm. The recent emergence of SaaS-based tools like Slack for messaging and PostBeyond for workforce communications and employee advocacy has increased the number of arrows the comms professional has in her quiver.
3. A seismic shift in the nature of work
In Deloitte’s excellent report “Global Human Capital Trends 2016”, they highlight the acceleration of a trend toward new organizational designs in order to deal with the impact of technology and to facilitate a transition to the “gig” economy. Companies of all sizes are struggling to deal with policies around telecommuting, social network usage (personal and professional), Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), etc. Centuries-old perceptions about the nature of work are being shattered in this new age – and the pace of change is quickening, even at large organizations.
This month at PostBeyond, we launched a primary research project with Golfdale Consulting to dive into the topics of employee experience, social media in the workplace, and enabling workforce communications tools. The purpose of the study is to understand the support (or lack thereof) employees and managers are receiving from their organizations in helping them thrive in the digital age and the tools they are putting in place to enable the new ways we work and communicate with each other. We are excited about this project and insights into what the future of work holds. The research will be made available to the public in April.
Have you noticed any of the above trends at your workplace? How have you seen employee experience evolve recently? Share your thoughts in the comments.