Customer experience isn’t the only experience that matters at healthy companies

So you’ve hired a new employee who begins the job all enthused and happy to come to work every morning. The employee is eager to learn and has lots of new ideas, but after time the enthusiasm goes away and the employee is doing only what has to be done. What’s going on? It could be a matter of employee engagement and the experience he or she is having.

A powerful keynote speaker at the recent In Business Expo & Conference got people thinking about “experience.” After the event, several business friends had a discussion about how experience impacts both employee and customer engagement. One friend talked about the constant employee turnover at a local business. This created the impression that the business was suffering from lack of employee training and engagement. Some time ago I wrote about the employee from “you know where” who made it very clear she didn’t want to be at work. It was also very clear that there had been little, if any, customer care training to help create a knowledgeable, productive, and customer-centric employee.

Entrepreneur magazine recently reported on a Watson Wyatt survey that showed more than 50% of employers had no formal strategy for employee retention. Employee engagement and creating a good employee experience was not a part of the business plan.

Experience is important in employee retention. Turnover is expensive. Research shows that focusing on talent, employee behavior, and employee engagement isn’t a one-time deal; rather, it should be performed over time to track success and look for ways to improve.

A well-kept secret is that the best staffing plan is really a great retention plan that pays attention to the following:

  • Engaging the soul. Great employees usually look for, join, and stay with organizations that give them compelling reasons to commit their hearts and souls to something beyond ordinary tasks. Imagination, creativity, and a passion for doing great work reside in the employee’s soul. It should go without saying that engaged employees are “in the loop” with what’s going on within the company.
  • What gets rewarded gets done. This principle gets lost inside of stress-packed, fast-paced business days; however, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that rewards — no matter how small — become a focal point for most employee behavior.
  • More than money. That said about rewards, money is typically not the prime motivator for employees. Something deeper inspires employee excellence, something that connects with the employee in a personal way — experience. Experience is about positive attitudes and behaviors that lead to improved business outcomes. It’s where the focus is placed on pride in the organization, being part of something important, career development, and team spirit — along with traditional pay and benefit plans. This demonstrates that the organization values the employee’s professional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, which is a powerful and effective retention technique for hiring and keeping great employees.
  • Learning drives earning. Companies that invest in learning programs and continuing education for their team members have a competitive advantage. Employees tend to leave companies that don’t offer training and development for their future.
  • Allowing employees to have a life. Balancing work and personal life is, and will continue to be, a challenge for all employers. Focus is now being placed on what happens outside of work almost as much as what happens at work. With pressure to produce more products with higher quality, and with fewer workers, companies have to be willing to integrate the outside, personal life of workers with their inside, business life.

Creating employee engagement, providing an atmosphere of good experience, and retaining great team members takes hard, focused work. Companies that work hard at retention are always able to find great employees when they need them, and good experiences help them keep the ones they have!

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