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Positive Employee Relations
As employers and HR professionals continue to navigate the impact of the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and changing workplaces post-COVID-19 pandemic, a new question continues to arise. Is employee experience (EX) the new customer experience? The answer to this is multifaceted, but the findings may surprise you. The question is separate from who is more important, although that is also a topic of debate. Customers and employees should be considered equally important. No doubt you've heard the phrase, "the customer is always right" in some line of work you've belonged to, which has traditionally placed the customer's experience as the most important, above the employee. This can often lead to feelings of resentment and workers feeling overlooked or unappreciated by the organization they work for. This can severely impact a company negatively, as positive employee relations are crucial to creating a cohesive culture and an environment where unions are unnecessary.
We hope to emphasize why employee experience is the new customer experience because, in a way, employees could actually be considered an organization's best customers. Employees provide valuable insight into the day-to-day customer experience since they are most likely to be customer-facing and present for it. We've written at length on the ways you can improve your own employee experience, so this post will focus on why it's so important that an organization's employees feel as valued as their customers do.
To fully articulate why the employee experience is the new customer experience (CX), we must understand what these terms really mean. First and foremost, the employee experience or EX is most accurately defined as "a worker's perceptions about his or her journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with job candidacy through to the exit from the company." Essentially, it encompasses everything from the recruiting process, the employee's relationship with leaders and supervisors, company culture, etc. It includes all the learning and development opportunities an employee receives, as well as any ongoing training or potential promotions. Employee loyalty is a direct result of a positive employee experience.
Furthermore, EX has a direct impact on CX. After all, the employees interact with customers and are expected to regularly provide excellent service. If they're unhappy or dissatisfied with their job or even actively disengaged in their position, they won't be able to give customers the best possible experience.
Studies have shown that happy employees lead to increased customer loyalty. Specifically, the Harvard Business Review compiled data that showed that each one-star improvement in a company's Glassdoor rating corresponds to a 1.3-point out of 100 improvement in customer satisfaction scores, a significant finding.
Having an excellent EX can lead to improved performance and productivity. Forbes reported that happier employees could be as much as 20% more productive with their work, meaning when employees are satisfied in their jobs, they're more likely to go the extra mile for customers and put forth their best effort. It's also important to remember that an excellent EX can lead to increased innovation and creative problem-solving, resulting in a higher CX.
It's becoming increasingly important to focus on the employee experience to attract and retain top-notch talent. Job seekers today are looking for more than just a paycheck – they want to work somewhere that values their skills and makes them feel valued. Gen Z, the largest generation, is continually entering the workforce, and they have made it clear what they're looking for in a career. They want a sense of purpose in their work and a healthy working environment with a strong sense of community. Quality of life is an important factor in making your business attractive to prospective employees, and this includes things like a positive work environment, good benefits, and flexible hours.
A 2018 Jobvite study on job seekers showed the following statistics surrounding hiring and retention:
Clearly, if retention is a priority, and it absolutely must be for companies of all sizes, then it's easy to understand why employee experience is the new customer experience. An organization's past and present employees can be the sole determining factor for whether or not they grow and thrive or lose customers and miss out on sales they'd have otherwise improved.
While employee engagement is not the same as EX, they are closely interwoven. If you're still wondering why employee experience is the new customer experience, take note of the following areas that will be positively impacted. When an organization treats its employees with utmost importance, it can carefully consider all that encompasses their work day and the lifecycle of their employment.
In a workplace that continues to change, employee engagement is at its lowest in over a decade, with 2022 Gallup data showing only 34% of employees reporting they were engaged with their work. It's never been more crucial to show employees how much you value them than now. The U.S. has a very pro-union President, and approval for labor unions and independent unions has both been on the rise. The current workforce continues to express their loyalty to companies that listen to their workers, prioritize employee health and wellbeing, and have a positive company culture. Contact our team of experts at IRI Consultants to improve your positive employee relations strategy and cause a domino effect of high EX that improves your CX and results in a better bottom line.
Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.