Is EX a flash in the pan, or is it worth taking notice of? Why should we try to understand it and what’s in it for business owners?
Part three: What does good EX look like?
So far in this series, we have discussed how the future of work is shaping our working styles and environments and identified what the business benefits of enhancing employee experiences are. We are now going to explore what it is that our employees specifically want from their work life.
Tell me what you want; what you really, really want
It can be difficult to ascertain what it is that your employees really expect or desire from coming to work as individuals classify, describe and prioritise in different ways.
Let’s start with the basics. Jacob Morgan, Author of The Future of Work, describes 3 key environments that make up the employee experience.
- Physical. Comprised of your office or cubical, the break room, vending machines, kitchen facilities, showers, décor etc.
- What you feel about your organisation. Do you have a sense of purpose? What are the leadership styles and power structure?
- Technological. The tools available. Do you have access to the appropriate, up to date software? Are you provided with devices to facilitate flexible working?
Many organisations offer one or more of these provisions, but seldom are all three present in any one company. In the next instalment we discuss the various combinations and how to optimise your current situation, focussing on the contact centre industry. But to add some context to these factors, here are some examples.
One of the most successful disruptive operations to date have prioritised their employee experience by introducing an EX officer. This is a real life manifestation of their mission statement which is to make everyone feel like they belong anywhere – “Belong Anywhere” including at work! They take their physical space seriously, testing different options to see what works best for the staff.
Beam me DOWN Scotty. Cisco employees do not have a designated desk, but can log onto any machine in any area they choose and have their work space uploaded to that device. Pretty neat. This is particularly apt for the innovative tech company.
The culture at Whirlpool takes a flat structure approach and encourages any employee to submit ideas for development or consideration.
Culture always comes out on top when the three environments are put head to head. Issie Lapowsky, regular blogger on all things business, breaks down the top cultural ‘Employee Wants’ and how we can take action to meet them.
You might be surprised to learn that the majority of employees are not just in it for the money. Staff want to feel that the work they are carrying out is relevant and contributing to the success or growth of the business. Being a part of an organisation, especially one that is performing well, gives employees a sense of pride and accomplishment.
To prove that your employees have a purpose and that their day to day activities are important, organisations can set goals. No matter how small, achieving these goals reinforces their worth and encourages them to make progress.
Having allocated responsibilities will demonstrate the trust that should exist between line managers and employees. Employees with designated accountabilities take pride in their work and have a sense of ownership which boosts performance and output.
You hired your people because you thought they were the best for the job. So let them work in a style that suits them! Provided you have set clear goals and time-frames, there is no need to micromanage every project.
One of the most valued elements of the employee experience, yet one employers often find hard to accommodate, is flexible working. There are different degrees of flexibility and it can mean everything to some employees and not much to others. Either way, knowing that there is some room for adjustment should it be required is a great comfort to staff.
Yes, our employees want freedom, flexibility and trust, but they also crave praise, guidance and feedback! Holding a two way conversation with your team allows them to feel a part of the project or decision-making process and gives them a chance to put forward suggestions, concerns and observations.
Knowing that there is room for growth, personal development and promotion or movement within the company encourages staff to be the best that they can be. After all, what is the point in working hard if it isn’t going to get you anywhere?
Organisations grow from within, so nurturing the ideas your employees bring forward is crucial. Never shoot someone down for having inspiration and creativeness. Encourage development of the idea or steer the thought process in a more appropriate direction. If an individual is showing interest in particular areas of the business, bring them in to management or project meetings and let them understand the fundamentals.
Ensure the business strategy is communicated effectively at every level so that aims and objectives of the organisation are thoroughly understood. Hold regular staff meetings to relay interdepartmental information and encourage an open door policy to discuss any business centric issues.
Of course employees’ salaries and bonuses are important, but perhaps not in the way you may expect. Author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel Pink says “The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. It’s better to pay people a little more than the norm and allow them to focus on their work than to pay them based on performance. Don’t pay people a measly base salary and very high commissions and bonuses in hopes that the fear of not having enough food on their tables will inspire them to do extraordinary things.”
These wants relate to culture, which is the top priority for most employees. Catering to the needs of the modern employee in a contact centre can be a real challenge. In the final instalment of this blog we will take a look at ways we can deliver an excellent employee experience in the contact centre world.