The labor market for today’s hyper-accelerated business world is increasingly open, fluid, and competitive.
This is the result of profound change at the political, social, and economic levels, and it is a trend accelerated by the technological innovations of digital transformation, which has impacted sectors at all levels.
When facing change, we cannot simply freeze or put our heads in the sand: the most innovative companies know this well and behind every challenge, every transformation, they seek out new opportunities.
While marketers and operators in most every sector understand that customer experience is key in overcoming the challenges of engagement and loyalty, they may have missed out on an “experience” factor that’s even closer to home: that of valued employees.
Employee experience is not just about attracting talent, it’s about and being able to retain your most skilled and talented employees, to keep them satisfied and at the center of your focus, and transforming them into true brand and corporate ambassadors. This is what B2E (Business to Employee) does.
What is Business to Employee?
Similar to the concept of B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer), B2E (Business to Employee) is an approach that focuses on employees.
It includes all operations that aim to achieve the greatest possible rentention. This includes recruiting and on-boarding, team building strategies, training courses, schedule flexibility, bonuses and special offers, and benefits of various kinds, just to name a few.
It is important to underline, however, that the term B2E often refers to platforms for Business to Employee: the company intranet, and systems for communication and sharing within companies. The most dynamic companies (which are often also the healthiest) are often equipped, for example, with home page or desktop systems personalized employees.
A fundamental theme, that of personalization is, therefore, beginning to appear, and we will concentrate on it a little later.
B2E systems are often considered almost synonymous with the corporate intranet. But this is not the case: the focus of the intranet, in fact, is the organization, while that of B2E portals is the individual. A really central difference.
An efficient and well-designed Business to Employee system must, on the one hand, include everything an employee expects to find on a classic intranet, and on the other — and this is the most important and innovative part — it must implement personal information, opportunities for personalization, and tailor-made communications that are as dynamic, interactive, and omnichannel as possible.
The aim of a B2E digital environment designed in this way is to improve not only efficiency but also employee satisfaction, which in turn increases, almost naturally, the sense of community and sharing of the company’s values. The employee can no longer be considered as one among many, but as an active agent who can profoundly influence the destiny of his company, in a continuous, simple and fruitful dialogue.
There’s a long way to go in this direction. For example, just consider how today, most companies rely on a combination of external tools in this field, platforms such as Slack, Google Calendar and Google Drive, Dropbox and Skype (to name a few). While such platforms are useful, they are not designed to suit individual companies and the possibilities for personalization are limited.
It’s no wonder then that, according to a recent study by Gartner, 40% of such investments cannot achieve the hoped-for ROI (Return on Investment). It’s all about experience.
Consider Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, which involved more than 10,000 business leaders and HR managers from over 100 countries worldwide. In this survey, about 80% of respondents identified the experience of employees (at all levels) in the workplace as “important” or “very important.” Only 22% rated their company as “excellent” in this area.
Analyses like this are more helpful than theories in explaining why almost all companies are increasing their focus on B2E systems and platforms. The gap to fill is really wide.
Elizabeth Rosenzweig (an expert in information systems architecture and a consultant on User Experience issues at Bentley University in Massachusetts and author of “Successful User Experience: Strategies and Roadmap”) wrote: “…user experience is arguably even more strategically important inside the enterprise than out.” She continues: “Consider the digital tools people use in your company every day to track time and expenses, check their email, manage travel, and conduct hundreds of other routine tasks. These employees are trapped, forced to use your company’s software systems regardless of UX quality, and relegated to spending hours on the phone seeking help if they don’t understand it. How much of their time do these systems squander? And what does that cost you in call center expense, potential turnover, and loss of commitment?”
Unfortunately, the experience described by Rosenzweig is a very common one that ends up affecting employee rentention, and excessive turnover can be expensive (think of the costs incurred for finding and then training a new employee). The damage, then, can also be reflected in your company reputation, and may be amplified by sites such as GlassDoor, an online platform where current and former employees can anonymously review companies.
In short, we are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of B2E and the direction in which to go is quite clear: personalization.
The final turning point is personalization
The best B2E strategies combine best practices and the most established methods of marketing, customer care, and HR departments. It is a matter of re-learning to communicate through messages that are as tailor-made as possible, in a simple, user-friendly, interactive, and multi-channel way.
Every employee is different and expects to be treated like an individual. Today, personalization can be successfully applied to large numbers, thanks to the most advanced technologies for collecting and organizing data (especially the so-called “smart data” or “deep data”).
On this basis, personalized mini-websites can be created and tailor-made messages can be sent in a one-to-one dialogue. The Italian postal service, Poste Italiane, used tools from Doxee to support employee communications.
The idea was to exploit the most effective means of communication: video. Each employee received a personalized video that presented the company’s benefit options in three points. With this tool, individual employees were able to quickly and immediately learn about employee benefits in just a few clicks.
We close this article by quoting the words of Elizabeth Dukes, co-founder of iOffice, who 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.”
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