The first real resource of any company, perhaps the most important and valuable resource, is its employees.
Not taking this aspect into consideration could prove to be an error with fatal consequences: This is all the more true in the current environment, which is characterized by great flexibility of the labor market, the employment opportunities available (even, and increasingly, beyond national borders), by the dynamism of younger employees, and finally by the transparency made possible by digital transformation.
Today, prospective employees pay a great deal of attention to a company’s reputation. Platforms like Glassdoor, where employees and former employees can anonymously review their companies and staff, have made this even more urgent.
Once in the workforce, an employee gives great importance to the quality of his working life, the work environment, and the “community.” It is above all here that, for companies, the challenge, which is increasingly difficult but equally vital, of corporate retention is played out.
When the aspects of corporate reputation, talent selection, onboarding, and employee experience are well taken care of, the ultimate goal to aspire to is that of employee advocacy, which has a lot to do with personalization, placing the employee increasingly at the center of the business.
This is the true heart of any B2E strategy (i.e. the Business to Employee approach, which we have discussed at length in this article).
First, what is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy is the promotion of a company by its employees and associates. It is something that arises almost spontaneously, but that must be stimulated carefully, with many small, well-targeted actions that aim to improve the daily experience of the workforce.
Transforming employees into active and positive testimonials contributes to improving the image of the company and the brand in a decisive manner. It naturally attracts new customers and new talent increases the sense of internal community and engagement and generates consumer confidence. This is a virtuous cycle, which is triggered by a win-win perspective on all fronts: from top management to employees, to external collaborators and, finally, to potential customers.
Edelman’s “Trust Barometer” research shows that employees are perceived to be twice as credible as a CEO or executive when promoting their business, they are considered to be more sincere, especially on social media. Similarly, Cisco notes that employees’ social posts generate on average eight times more engagement than their employers’ posts. As social platform algorithms work, people are 16 times more likely to read a friend’s post on a brand than a post-produced by the brand itself.
This data demonstrates, better than any theory, the importance of transforming your employees into active witnesses, into the first – and most effective – marketing agents of your brand, but this happens only when employees are satisfied with their workplace environment when they feel treated as “individuals,” as “people”… (in a perspective of one-to-one dialogue) and, finally, when they feel jointly responsible for the company’s mission and vision when they share objectives and strategies.
Let’s start from the first step: that of corporate engagement.
The importance of corporate engagement
According to the data by Glassdoor, about 70% of the U.S. workforce is considered “disengaged,” and therefore not involved in the spirit and choices of the company. Among these “uninvolved” employees, 84% would consider changing jobs if they were offered a position in a company more attentive to their needs. The cost of this huge mass of disengaged employees, for the United States of America alone, is estimated at between $450 and $550 billion (again by Glassdoor).
Now let’s consider another statistic, this time from the Corporate Leadesrhip Council: “Highly engaged” workers tend to change jobs with a rate that is 87% lower than “disengaged” employees.
And finally, consider the results of this study from Korn Ferry: companies with a high rate of employee engagement produce, on average, revenues 2.5 times higher than competitors with low levels of employee engagement.
In short, these numbers are enough to underline how fundamental corporate engagement is. But this must only be the first step along the path of the B2E.
Beyond engagement: sharing objectives and strategies
Again, let’s start from data: according to Bain, only 40% of the workforce say they know their company’s objectives and strategies.
Therefore, it is not enough to put in place (however important) team-building strategies, but it is increasingly essential to link the work of employees to a broader purpose, a global mission and vision that go beyond those of the company: high social goals, for example, such as the return of value through initiatives for environmental responsibility or for a charity. Identifying your brand as one that inspires innovation is also very effective in this respect.
Behind all this, however, there are actions that consolidate the sense of community within the company: the team building mentioned above, first of all, but also the need to show support to employees in times of need, to encourage internal communication, and to make dialog more friendly and tailored using digital transformation tools.
About one-to-one dialog and the importance of personalization, let’s go back to a point.
It is above all a question of Experience – starting with on-boarding
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey (which involved more than 10,000 business leaders and HR managers from over 100 countries worldwide) about 80% of respondents identified the employee experience (at all levels) in the workplace as “important” or “very important.” But be careful of another fact, which emerges from the same study: only 22% of respondents rated their company as “excellent” in terms of the quality of the employee experience. Translated: there is still a lot to be done in this delicate and fundamental field. In other words, there are great challenges and great opportunities waiting to be seized.
Everything must start from the HR department, of course, but the utmost attention must be paid in the on-boarding phases. It is in these delicate situations that the person begins to share the spirit of a company, to get to know their colleagues, to become familiar with their role and responsibilities. That’s why 53% of HR professionals say that corporate engagement and the quality of the work experience increases significantly when more attention is paid to on-boarding (source: SilkRoad).
Let’s take a look at what moves the new generation, the “millennials”: on the one hand, it is here that new talent can be found who are more attentive to innovation; on the other hand, taking into analysis this age group is the best way to grasp the new trends before they hit the market.
According to a Fidelity study, younger U.S. workers are willing to earn up to $7600 a year less in exchange for a better quality of working life.
The employee at the center – the turning point of personalization
Elizabeth Dukes, co-founder of iOffice, wrote: “The “employee” part of “employee experience” is important. You need their input. You don’t make assumptions about what your customers want in your product or service, right? Then don’t make assumptions about what your workforce wants or needs. Ask them what types of resources, technologies and spaces they believe are critical for success and then make sure they have them. No one knows how to upgrade the employee experience better than your employees themselves.”
This concise statement contains a number of fundamental aspects, which we will summarize in two points.
- First of all, the need to put the employee more and more at the center of the business: from the possibility of having more flexible hours, benefits and special offers, to training opportunities … all aspects to be personalized to the highest degree.
- And then the urgent need to implement new strategies for internal communication, sharing, and dialog.
Even when the number of employees is very large, you can increasingly aim for a personalized and interactive approach. All of this is thanks to digital transformation.
In the end, it is a question of applying the same data-driven approach that we take towards our customer targets: in this way, we can collect as much data as possible on our workforce, dividing it into segments with consistent characteristics. On the basis of this segmentation, it will then be possible to communicate and share information in a way that is as tailor-made as possible, clear and simple, user-friendly, interactive, and multi-channel.
See the case of Doxee, a company that puts the customer-oriented and interactive approach at the center of its business, which has created a campaign for Poste Italiane based on personalized videos. This is an internal campaign aimed at a large number of Poste Italiane employees. Each employee received an interactive video that presents one of the hottest issues for employees: corporate benefit options.
With this tool, individual employees were able to quickly and immediately choose their benefits, and all in a few clicks, saving time and avoiding delays. In short, this communication put employees and their individual needs firmly at the center of things.
Discover Doxee Interactive Experience. Doxee iX will help you to drive greater customer engagement and improve the customer experience.