In today’s economy, it’s important for organizations to find and retain the right kind of employees. To attract people who are perfect for their jobs, organizations are developing cultures that engage employees and keep them happy.
A few startup organizations had success building their cultures around office ping-pong tables, video game stations, snack cupboards and fridges full of craft beer. Since then, culture and employee engagement have become two of the trendiest methods for organizations to not only attract more talented employees, but motivate them to work harder and longer.
But culture is not a ping-pong table. And employee engagement – although a useful concept – isn’t defined or used in the correct context by most organizations.
When organizations say they want to increase employee engagement, what they usually mean is they want their employees to care more about their job and deliver better customer experiences. Essentially, organizations want their employees to improve their performance.
The biggest issue for organizations that focus on employee engagement is they’re missing the first step of the equation: employee experience. It’s the delivery of a great employee experience that drives higher employee engagement – which then impacts the customer experience.
Engagement alone is not enough, nor is it a good place to start making improvements to your organization. At Fifth P we believe employee experience is the driving force behind increased employee engagement.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is a way to measure how employees feel about their organization. Think of it as a scale between one and ten, with every employee falling somewhere on the scale. Engaged employees feel passionate about their jobs, are more committed to the organization, and tend to put in more discretionary effort.
Employee engagement is a reasonable metric to measure – when it’s done correctly. It’s a good measure of how employees are feeling on a given day or week. The danger is how simple it is to overvalue engagement. After all, it’s easy to see why organizations with ping-pong tables and snacks galore might generate high employee engagement scores.
But engagement doesn’t necessarily compel employees to live the brand in their daily interactions with customers and each other. A ping-pong table is fun while it’s being played on, but when it’s not, it’s no more than a desk with a little net.
For organizations looking to improve their customer experience and ultimately increase their bottom line, focusing on employee engagement isn’t the answer.
An Exceptional Employee Experience is Vital
Employee experience is a much more meaningful area of focus for organizations that want to improve their customer experience. An organization only has a great employee experience when every person – at all levels – is living the brand internally and striving to deliver the brand promise.
We’ve said it before – successful organizations treat their employees the way they want them to treat customers. Providing your employees with the same experiences you want them to deliver to your customers is the epitome of employee experience.
Consider this: any organization can get a ping-pong table for a couple hundred dollars. Let’s say an organization with very poor customer experience reviews buys one for its employees, hoping to snap them out of their questionable behaviour.
Sure, employees will play a game or two, and maybe even develop a once-a-week habit. But what does that have to do with enabling employees to deliver improved customer experiences? Nothing. Yet organizations – maybe ones that want a quick and easy fix – continue to make engagement their solution.
Our advice? Don’t focus on engagement. When organizations design and deliver employee experiences that connect with their brand promise, engagement comes naturally.
Culture and engagement are important aspects of an organization’s identity – but they aren’t actionable drivers of great experiences. An organization’s culture is the by-product of the experiences, beliefs and actions of its employee experience.
If your organization is interested in making employee experience a priority, let’s talk!