B2E (Business to Employee) is an approach that focuses on employees. For companies, the Employee Experience reflects the quality of an employee’s overall work experience and it all starts from the HR department in the recruiting and onboarding phases where it is an increasingly decisive factor.
The final objective is company retention, increasing loyalty and reducing turnover, on the one hand, while increasing the organization’s ability to attract new talent, on the other. These two aspects are intimately linked in a virtuous circle, but we’ll talk more about that later in this post.
First, we’ll start with a simple question: how important is the “Employee Experience”? The answer is even simpler: it is fundamental. Today more than ever before. In an increasingly dynamic and fluid market, workforce mobility is increasingly accelerated, but also expensive, with harmful effects for companies.
Attracting new talent, training them in their new role, introducing them to the environment and the team can be a long and costly process. For this reason, the first real objective for companies in any sector must be to improve their attractiveness to those who are already part of their staff, to increase engagement, loyalty, and, finally, advocacy.
In this way, the worker becomes the first positive ambassador for a brand’s reputation, the first marketing agent, but also the first recruiter. To put it even more simply: a company that can retain its employees, and its best talent, is also a company that – almost automatically – will be able to attract new ones.
This is all possible thanks to the quality of the Employee Experience, the ability to put the employee at the center in creating a pleasant, engaging, and cutting-edge environment (also – and above all – at the technological level). Here’s a very significant figure: according to a Fidelity study, younger U.S. workers are willing to accept up to $7600 less per year in exchange for a higher quality working life.
The quality of experience in the workplace, therefore, is at the top of the factors that make people (especially younger talent) remain at a company; it can also be what makes them look elsewhere. This is why it is essential to ensure that the employee experience is as tailor-made as possible for each individual and, at the same time, functional to the company’s objectives and strategies. Once again, in this way, a virtuous circle is created, a win-win perspective with few equals.
To achieve these results, we propose five best practices that are valid for any sector.
1. Everything starts from the onboarding phase
Improving Employee Experience has become crucial. The path goes from improving employee engagement to advocacy (we’ll return to these steps later). One thing that is often forgotten, however, is that everything starts from the delicate and decisive phases of hiring, integrating the new employee within the team and the dynamics of the company (the so-called “on-boarding” phase).
To this point, a study by SilkRoad found that 53% of HR professionals say that corporate engagement increases significantly when more attention is paid to the onboarding phases.
But beware: on-boarding is not a process that lasts one day or even a single week. The most advanced strategies recommend a 90-day process.
- During the first month, it is a good idea to focus on getting the new employee into the team and learning the basic tasks.
- Over the second month, the collaboration phase develops: the newly hired employee is not fully independent yet, but there is more dialogue with colleagues and employers. Given that as much as 20% of turnover takes place in the first 45 days after recruitment (source: Inc.com).
- Finally, the third month is when the new employee needs to achieve independence; it is the moment when it is necessary to stimulate the person to become more and more proactive, to take on greater responsibilities, to begin to contribute to company goals and added value to their roles in a broader framework.
2. The importance of Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement is the degree of employee involvement in the workplace: it is something that strongly influences productivity and motivation to do their part to achieve the company’s goals.
According to the Corporate Leadership Council, highly engaged workers tend to change jobs 87% less than disengaged employees. It is not surprising that as many as 82% of employees of companies with the best growth and turnover performance consider themselves very involved (engaged) in the mission and dynamics of their company (data by Blake Morgan, published in Forbes). Let’s also consider the more purely economic data from Korn Ferry: companies with a high rate of employee engagement produce, on average, revenues that are 2.5 times higher than competitors with lower levels of employee engagement.
Now that we’ve eliminated any doubts about the importance of stimulating Employee Engagement, how do you achieve it?
Putting a multi-level strategy on track starts with onboarding, as we saw above. It must also address a proper balance between the individual’s work and private life (for example, through the possibility for flexible hours and teleworking). It is also important to create the right team spirit, with targeted and effective team-building strategies.
Above all – and more generally – it is important to involve employees in company strategies, in the mission and vision of the brand (consider that only 40% of the U.S. workforce claims to know the objectives and strategies of the company in which it is employed; source: Bain).
In short: you have to know how to put the employee at the center of your business; to do so, you have to aim for personalization.
3. The link between the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience
According to a 2017 survey by Gartner, as many as 81% of marketers expect the customer experience to be the main aspect on which marketing challenges will be played out over the next three years. According to Blake Morgan’s data, as many as 89% of companies believe that the customer experience is the most important challenge versus their competitors.
What we would like to underline here is that the link between the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience is very close. Companies that excel in customer service, in fact, outperform the competition by almost 150% (again from the Forbes article).
4. From engagement to advocacy
Employee advocacy is the promotion of a company by its employees and associates. In this way, employees become testimonials, active and positive ambassadors of the company’s image.
According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer research, employees are perceived to be twice as credible as a CEO or manager when they promote their company.
Advocacy is a step-by-step objective, with different strategies, but they all aim to do something very simple and natural: treat employees as “individuals,” each with their own characteristics (in a perspective of one-to-one dialog). And – finally – make them feel jointly responsible for the company’s mission and vision.
Advocacy arises naturally, in short, when we aim for personalization: which is the fundamental point with which we close this list of best practices.
5. After all, it’s all about personalization
No one knows better about how to improve the employee experience better than employees themselves. As 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.”
After all, the secret to improving engagement, experience and advocacy lies here: getting to know your employees, their characteristics and needs, and learning to communicate with each other in a way that is simple and tailored.
It’s a “secret” as old as business itself, but that today is made possible by data-driven dynamics of thanks to digital transformation (the same tools that apply to customers or users).
See the case of Doxee, a company that puts the customer-oriented and interactive approach at the center of its business, which for Poste Italiane has created a campaign based on personalized videos.
A campaign aimed “inside” the organization at a large number of workers. Each employee received a tailor-made video that allowed them to view and choose from a range of employee benefits. With this tool, individual employees were able to decide in a simple and immediate way how to take advantage of company benefits, all in just a few clicks.
Here, in a concrete case, is how you can transform the employee from a satellite to the center of your business!