To be customer-centric companies first need to be employee-centric. Increasingly, that means using technology to transform EX. Surveys show that this is rapidly becoming a priority for IT leaders. New solutions for making work more employee-friendly include using AI in recruitment; gamification of digital learning; HR self-service; new tools to empower the “augmented worker”; and systems that simply make work better.
It’s no secret that the 21st century consumer holds the power.
From markets dominated by a handful of producers, globalisation and digitalisation have made far-reaching waves, shifting the power into the hands of the buyer.
But perhaps true customer-centricity doesn’t begin with the customer.
After all, John Lewis’ 156-year success story is based on giving employees ownership in the business to encourage outstanding customer service. That personal stake doesn’t have to be financial. It can be in the form of job satisfaction or employee experience (EX).
A 2016 Yale study identified a direct link between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. It showed that increasing employee engagement also improved the likelihood of a customer being highly satisfied by 2.5% points.[i]
It makes sense that employees that value their jobs and are happy at work will deliver above and beyond to ensure customers have a positive experience to share.
A further 2016 Employee Engagement Benchmark Study by Tempkin Group reports that companies excelling in customer experience have one-and-a-half times as many engaged employees as those underperforming in customer experience.[ii]
So how do we create more engaged employees?
Forrester[iii] claims good EX is built on three key dimensions; employee empowerment, Inspiration - the feeling that you are part of a core mission, and enablement which depends on having the technology and resources to get important work done.
In fact, IBM found that organisations with EX index scores in the top quartile report high levels of productivity and work performance. The report also suggests a clear link between smarter technology, employee productivity, and employee experience.
So, how is technology being used to boost the human EX?
There are many ways that tech can be used to boost the human EX. Whether it be how it impacts their day to day efforts, how much they enjoy what their tasks or just making those essential paperwork tasks easier and more accessible.
Improving the work/life balance
Prior to 2020 there was a stable and persistent growth of telecommuting, however the growth of homeworking was catalysed by the 2020 pandemic. Entire workforces suddenly began working from home and continued to do so for months. This enforced change has prompted a whole generation of video conferences.
Recent studies suggest that around 82% of company leaders are planning to continue to allow employees to work remotely some of the time following the Pandemic. There are many benefits to working from home such as spending less time commuting, more time with family and having the ability to do some physical activity at lunch time instead of grabbing a sandwich at your desk. So, with employees having the technology they need to work remotely, organisations are already improving their EX.
By embracing technology to remove the monotony of repetitive, labour-intensive tasks, organisations can boost the enjoyment of their employees. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence can free up employee time to think more strategically. It can also support organisations to deliver more accurate insights, results or forecasts, heightening the feeling of individual user success.
Enabling employees with capabilities such as HR Self-Service removes the frustration of not having access to documents when they’re needed. It bolsters a feeling of efficiency among staff who aren’t waiting around for the right holiday form, expense form, or change of address document to be sent by email.
Making learning enjoyable
Then, beyond the removal of frustrations and delays, there’s the ability of some organisations to turn sleep-inducing monotonous digital tasks into a more enjoyable pastime, boosting results in the process.
For example, the gamification of digital learning means organisations moving away from passive digital training and, by actively taking part in an educational game, increases the viewer’s retention rate.
Making jobs easier
The role of technology in boosting EX is no longer limited to white collar workers either. Manufacturing and logistics can use augmented technology to improve EX. Making items easier to identify, monitor, and manage, can all help boost performance, and identify and address costly issues before they arise. This, in turn, enhances the feeling of satisfaction at being able to troubleshoot with all data and information needed readily available.
However, it’s possible that the benefits of delivering a better EX could extend beyond CX.
One benchmark study[iv] that looked at over 1200 senior executives in 8 different countries from organisations with over 2000 employees found that those organisations with above-average customer experience (CX) and above-average employee experience outperform their competitors in revenue growth, profitability, and employee retention.
Blake Morgan, writing in Forbes, claims that companies that invest in employee experience are 4x more profitable than those that don’t.
Perhaps the first step towards improving EX is ensuring that your staff have the right technology set up to deliver the processing power, performance and longevity that they need for the tasks they perform.
Finding the right devices for your workforce is essential to removing the barriers to efficiency that are key to unlocking the far-reaching benefits of positive EX. A device such as the Lenovo Thinkbook Plus, with a screen that can notify you of upcoming meetings, even when the laptop is closed and able to power up in less than a second makes the EX more practical, efficient, and enjoyable.
With around 80% of productive employees satisfied at work, compared to 23% of employees who believe they are not productive, but are still satisfied, it’s possible that by boosting productivity, or at least ensuring there are no barriers to productivity in the workplace, you may be able to improve your EX and watch your CX follow suit.
[i] Net Promoter and NPS are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score is a service mark, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.
[iii] SMBs: Your Tech Choices Impact The Employee Experience, Whether You Plan For It Or Not A Global Study Of SMB Employee And Device Buyer Experience