Why is Employee Experience and B2E in the automotive industry so important? What are the most effective strategies and the best tools to improve it? We’ll answer these questions in this post.
The Automotive industry is facing a critical moment in time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp drop in car sales worldwide. Sales have gone from close to 80 million vehicles at the end of 2019, to forecasts for a total of less than 62 million in 2020. (See this Statista report for more).
At the same time, however, the industry is facing a watershed moment, dense with opportunities to be seized. These opportunities are largely linked to changing consumer habits and Digital Transformation.
We’re talking about a real revolution for this enormous sector, where the role of the customer is shifting to the center of the business as a result. In a previous post, we focused on the Digital Experience of the customer in Automotive.
But, in this new way of thinking about business, who comes even before the customer?
“It’s the employees who come first. If you take care of the employees, they will do the same for the customers.” Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group empire and one of the most enlightened entrepreneurs of our time, gives us the answer.
In short, the first resource of any company is its employees. This may sound obvious, but the reality is much less so. Hence the importance of investing in “Employee Experience.” So how can companies do it?
By putting the most effective B2E strategies on track.
In the next section, we’ll look at what lies beneath this acronym. Next, we’ll tighten the focus on Automotive and talk about how to improve the Employee Experience in the automotive industry.
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B2E: What are we talking about?
B2E (Business to Employee) is a strategic approach that focuses on employees.
All operations that aim to achieve the greatest possible corporate retention are part of this scope. But that’s not all. The primary objective, after all, is Employee Advocacy (the promotion of a company by its employees). All of this has fundamental repercussions on productivity, company turnover, reputation and attractiveness.
Let’s clear the field from misunderstandings. Often, with the term B2E, we are referring to platforms for Business to Employee: intranet systems and those that enable communication and sharing within companies.
Fundamental tools, sure. But B2E embraces a wider field. The focus of intranets, in fact, is the organization; the focus of B2E strategies, instead, is the individual. This fundamental difference has to do with personalization (and we’ll come back to this later).
Therefore, it’s a matter of starting by paying the utmost attention in the recruiting and on-boarding phases. Then there are team-building strategies, training courses and workshops, the possibility of bonuses and special offers for employees, attention to the work-life balance (a very delicate balance in these times of emergency), and the possibility of having flexible working hours.
And then there’s everything on the digital side. The most dynamic companies with the best retention are those that have, for example, personalized home page or desktop systems for everyone working in the organization, at various levels. They are companies that have designed tailored applications and platforms for their employees. They are the organizations that have adopted an omnichannel perspective.
The goal of a well-designed B2E digital environment is to improve not only efficiency, but also employee satisfaction, which in turn naturally increases the sense of community and sharing of company values.
The employee can no longer be considered as a number among other numbers: He or she must become an active agent who can influence the destiny of the company, in a continuous, simple, and profitable dialog.
All of this is true, and even more so, in a sector as broad and distributed as automotive.
Employee Experience and B2E in Automotive: Where to start?
Let’s first consider data from Deloitte’s 2017 “Global Human Capital Trends Survey,” which surveyed more than 10,000 business leaders and HR managers from over 100 countries around the world.
In this survey, about 80% of respondents identified the employee experience (of all levels) in the workplace as “important” or “very important.” In contrast, only 22% rated their company as “excellent” in this area.
What does this data tell us?
That the gap to be bridged is still very wide; there are huge margins to be attacked and a large number of opportunities to be seized. This is even and especially the case when it comes to the Employee Experience in the automotive industry.
A survey by KRC Research (you can check it out here) focused on engineers working in the Automotive industry and the quality of their work life.
There’s a lot of significant data here, but one point captured our attention. This: Only 33% of millennials (those in the 20-36 age group) say that the image of the company where they work reflects the reality of their experience. To put it another way: two-thirds of millennials had higher expectations when they were hired.
This is a significant figure that describes a momentous shift. This is because, today, the flexibility of the labor market is unprecedented; and for younger employees, moving from one company to another has become easier than ever.
That’s why companies are investing more and more resources in improving the quality of the work experience and, consequently, its attractiveness.
Now let’s get down to the concrete and look at the best strategies for improving the Employee Experience and B2E in the Automotive industry. We’ve collected them in three key points.
Maximum attention to recruiting and on-boarding
HR departments are increasingly central to automotive companies today.
You need to know how to pick the right people and put them in the right roles. That’s for sure. But there is an even more decisive aspect, on which there is much room for improvement.
We’re talking about onboarding. It’s during this phase that the new employee begins to share the spirit of a company, to acclimatize with colleagues, to become familiar with his or her role and responsibilities. Finally, it’s where they begin to be increasingly independent and proactive.
Beware of this statistic: 53% of HR professionals say that company engagement and the quality of the work experience increases significantly when more attention is paid to onboarding (source: SilkRoad).
This is a step-by-step process. The most cutting-edge strategies recommend a 90-day process (more on this here).
The ultimate goals are to achieve the employee’s highest degree of independence; to stimulate them to take on more responsibility, to start contributing to the company’s destiny by adding personal value, according to their roles, interacting in a broader framework.
Once again, it is a matter of finding the right balance between the individual and the organization as a whole…like in a good orchestra!
Retention always comes through engagement
Employee Engagement measures an employee’s engagement with their workplace. It’s a crucial metric and – again – the data says it all.
Let’s look at some points:
- About 70% of the U.S. workforce considers themselves “disengaged,” meaning they are not involved in the company’s spirit and choices.
- Of these, 84% would consider changing jobs if offered a position in a company that was more attentive to their needs (source: Glassdoor).
- Highly engaged employees tend to change jobs at a rate 87% lower than disengaged employees (source: Corporate Leadership Council).
- Companies with a high rate of employee engagement produce, on average, 2.5 times more revenue than competitors with low levels of employee engagement (source: Korn Ferry).
We believe that this data does not need much commentary. What emerges is very clear: The quality of the Employee Experience and B2E in the automotive sector (as in all other sectors) depends on attention to engagement. This is the only way to achieve loyalty and advocacy.
But how, then, can Employee Engagement and B2E in the automotive industry be improved?
There is no universal recipe. There are many strategies, and they vary according to the characteristics and needs of each individual company. However, they all have to do with a decisive concept: personalization.
It’s all about personalization
Want to improve the Employee Experience and B2E in Automotive?
Good. It’s all about doing something very simple: Treating every single employee as an individual, a person with his or her own characteristics, needs, and requirements that are different from those of everyone else.
Establish a dialog and interaction that is one-to-one.
But how do we do that when we’re talking about a workforce that includes hundreds or thousands of individuals? Through the most advanced digital technologies. The “old” work platforms, rigid and standardized, are no longer sufficient today.
Work tools must be customizable, elastic, and adaptable to the needs of individuals. Above all, they must be designed in omnichannel mode (…think of the importance of smartphones, even in the workplace).
An example? The customized mini-sites that are provided to companies by specialized companies like Doxee. Or, think of the opportunities for communicating with employees (from large factories to dealerships) that open up with tools like Doxee Pvideo®: Personalized and interactive videos built around the characteristics of individual employees, which have enormous benefits for communication and involvement.
In short, it’s about re-learning to communicate through messages that are as tailored as possible, in a simple, interactive, and multi-channel manner. All by leveraging the power of data.
And then the circle closes. And from the most advanced technologies we return to the individual, to the employees who really feel put at the center…and in this way become the first ambassadors of their company!