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PHOTO: linkedin sales navigator

Today’s consumers expect more, have more choice in the marketplace, and have proven willing to exercise those choices whenever a superior experience comes along. Which could be any time: the democratization of advanced technology means the startup coming to disrupt your business is almost certainly out there somewhere.

It’s never been more important for businesses to deliver superior experiences for their customers — and the latest research, coupled with our practical field experience, make it clear that the place to start is with your employees. Gallup’s 2018 State of the American Workforce report found that companies with highly engaged employees outperform competitors by over 100% in sales growth. And a 2018 study by Aon concluded that improving employee engagement by 5 points was linked to a 3% increase in revenue. 

It’s unsurprising to hear engaged workers are apt to be superior brand representatives, while disengaged workers are often unproductive and likely to be looking for other jobs. But what separates the two groups? And how can business leaders ensure they’re building engaged teams?

Three key areas are foundational to the employee experience:

  • A vision, mission and strategy for employees to rally around.
  • A healthy and transparent culture.
  • Tech and tools that helps connect employees, making them effective at communicating remotely, collaborating on teams and finding expertise in their organization.

It’s time for companies to start thinking about employee satisfaction the same way they think of customer satisfaction. Put simply, you can’t have the latter without the former. 

The Aon report cited above found that in North America, the top driver of employee engagement was enabling technology infrastructure to help employees manage increasingly complex jobs. Successful adoption and utilization of employee engagement technology starts with a deep understanding of your employee experience journeys and daily experiences. Here’s how to get started.

Related Article: Great Employee Experiences Beget Great Customer Experiences

To Increase Employee Engagement, Start With a 'Day In The Life'

In many companies, the daily employee experience is often overlooked or misunderstood. Too often these firms adopt critical components of the employee experience — such as onboarding, enterprise intranets, performance reviews and remote connection platforms — without really considering all the needs and friction points of the employees.

Likewise, we observe many companies taking the steps to roll out enterprise-wide enabling technologies like Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint or Teams for employees, but employee adoption and satisfaction remain extremely low. Company's inadequate understanding of how employees use digital technologies in their daily work leads to a lack of strategy and a lack of understanding around new ways of working and how to implement it so employees find it useful.

You wouldn’t roll out a new product for customers without a deep understanding of their pain points, what problem you’re trying to solve for, or how they would actually use the product in their daily life. You should incorporate a similar human-centered design approach when improving your employee experience.

Start to chart your employee experience journeys by asking and answering a series of questions:

  • Who are the users?
  • What are their issues?
  • What do their routines look like now?
  • What needs to improve? Are you trying to improve a process like onboarding or team collaboration? Are you focused on a particular employee segment like field workers, remote teams or managers? Or is there a particular technology that needs effective implementation?

Focusing on the employee experience in granular detail will pay dividends. The outcome of employees’ daily work shapes their experiences from their points of view. Efforts to improve EX will have more impact if they focus on these daily journeys rather than on the employee life cycle.

Charting the employee journey before jumping straight into prescribing a solution will not only ensure better results with whatever solution is ultimately rolled out. But it will also send a very important signal to your employees: that you care. Demonstrating to employees that you care about them is invaluable and will ultimately translate to enhanced productivity and increased customer satisfaction.

Related Article: Employee-Driven Design: Creating an Engaging Digital Workplace

Communication and Collaboration Are Keys to the Future of Work

Microsoft Teams, the new enterprise-level collaboration tool in the Microsoft Office Suite, is a comprehensive solution that delivers much of what today’s modern employees are looking for: modern instant messaging, video conferencing, subject matter topic-based channels, and collaboration with smaller project, product, or initiative teams.

Instead of looking at a new technology like Microsoft Teams from the perspective of a whole department or a particular moment in the employee lifecycle, for Teams or other collaboration software to succeed, it helps to think about real employees and their day-to-day experiences. By looking at employee journeys within two old-guard industries — Healthcare, and Energy and Utilities — both with rapidly evolving needs and attitudes to technology, we can see how Microsoft Teams can help achieve employee engagement.

Related Article: Why You Need to Map the Employee Journey

Industry: Healthcare

Employee Persona: Manuela is a member of the claims operations team

Manuela’s job requires her to communicate with many employees, both on her team and throughout the company. She needs easy access to documentation, when she’s at the office or working remotely, to swiftly address claims. And when big process changes take place, like bringing on a new CRM, she needs to collaborate effectively with everyone on her team so they know how to prepare for the change. Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one solution that can enable Manuela to do her best work. healthcare

Industry: Energy and Utilities

Employee Persona: Katherine is a field employee for a natural gas utility

As a remote field employee it’s crucial to feel connected to the rest of your team and company leadership back at HQ. Katherine needs the ability to communicate to her other field colleagues and supervisors and save those discussions to look up information later. And being in the field, her primary tool is her mobile phone, so any app she uses must work just as well for any device. Microsoft Teams can help Katherine feel just as connected in the field as she would if she were in an office. energy and utilities

Related Article: Slack or Microsoft Teams? Well, That Depends ...

Thoughtful Implementation Pays Dividends in Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction

It’s time to prioritize employee satisfaction at the same level as customer satisfaction. Happy, engaged employees who are given the tools and environments they need to do their best work will slowly but surely transform your business. It starts with really examining your employees’ experience in their day-to-day work lives and asking yourself how to make their lives easier. New tools like Microsoft Teams can provide built-in value by increasing collaboration and communication. But before you press “Start” and introduce an out-of-the-box solution, take the time to demonstrate you implemented it with employees in mind.