2022 – the year of Employee Experience

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Happy, engaged employees lead to happy and satisfied customers. Employee Experience (EX) in organisations need to involve more than unlimited annual leave, Friday socials and free fruit. Engaging your people with real meaningful work leads to business growth. This is how…

I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing organisations over the past few years. Helping them become more customer centric, prioritise work through data and develop more cross-functional and efficient delivery models. 

Some of these organisations had been struggling with delivery for years, not moving the dials enough on their business initiatives and prioritising their customer experience. But there was still a reluctance to change anything fundamentally, even though they knew something wasn’t right with their operating model.

It was only when things came to head with their people, a poor employee engagement survey, steepening staff attrition rates or obvious people conflicts that these organisations really sparked into action. 

And that’s the thing. It’s all about people, and the employee’s experience that matters most – enable this and your business will flourish. 

EX is more than health insurance and free fruit 

Employee Experience (EX) is not really about your benefits, your unlimited annual leave, 10% contributory pension and stellar health insurance. We’ve seen high attrition rates in some really large companies that have fantastic benefits. HSBC has one of the best benefits packages around and staff attrition rates are above the national average at a whopping 19%! 

Nor is it about your free fruit and Friday socials. We’ve witnessed some toxic cultures in more than one tech company with the full modern work office vibes, from table tennis tables to bike racks and sleep pods. 

EX is fundamentally about engaging your people around meaningful work. It’s about empowering your people to work together towards outcomes that deliver tangible value often to your customers and the wider organisation. People need their senses engaged, they need to feel their work is contributing to a wider purpose. Nurturing a culture where your employees can achieve goals, learn and grow together will improve your employee experience and ultimately lead to growth for your business. 

My favourite example of this is the leading fashion retailer Patagonia. Famous for their sustainable clothing they also have an extremely sustainable workforce, with a less than four percent staff turn-over when the typical retail and product industry average is triple that at 13 percent.

Patagonia’s culture is one built on meaning, trust and empowerment, “their employees are so independent they become unemployable anywhere else”. 

How to enable great employee experience

To enable greater employee experience, fundamentally organisations need to move away from their twentieth-century management structures and enable cross functional teaming around outcomes. Many businesses that even claim to have moved to a ‘product operating model’ are still mostly waterfall in terms of delivery.

According to The Anatomy of Work Index, workers spend 60% of their time on ‘work about work’. We’ve all experienced siloed ways of working, activities that don’t move the dials and my absolute pet peeve, meetings about meetings?! Help!

Employee experience improves when we empower our teams and switch from output to outcome based ways of working. Bring teams and capabilities together that compliment each other, give them a mission and access to data that can drive prioritisation in their work.

Get 30% more employee engagement

We worked with one client recently using our Business Agility Accelerator where there was a 30% uplift in employee engagement from teams that were engaged in outcome based ways of working. And unsurprisingly, this all started translating positively through to their customers and wider business. With their work accelerating operational efficiency and driving higher CSAT scores. 

When teams are empowered to set their own quarterly OKR’s and can see their work contribute to wider customer value the business dials tend to start moving a lot quicker. Employees also feel greater accountability, breeding a healthier culture that can challenge poor behaviours and encourage learning and growth. 

resting on a bench

I’ve even seen this happen internally here at S&S. Pre-pandemic, we were scaling fast and the culture was work hard, deliver and have fun. Perhaps naturally in a scale-up we hit some bumps in the road and discovered our way of working was not sustainable nor scalable. So we created S&S Vivid Vision 2023 and for the past 15 months, we’ve really been eating our own dog food and switched to quarterly OKR’s and outcome ways of working. The results have been outstanding, with staff attrition below 5%, annual growth at over 20% and even a Great Place to Work accreditation to boot. We’ve grown a more diverse workforce than ever, have engaged employees and ultimately have happier clients, with our current NPS score at a record high of +73! 

To conclude, the experience of your employees can improve dramatically when they are focused on meaningful work. And guess what, research shows that great employee experience inevitably leads to greater customer experience. Some estimates sight companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t). 

It only stands to reason that there’s a connection between the two, and that happy, satisfied employees lead to happy, satisfied customers. Let 2022 be the year that you focus on your EX, and see your business flourish off the back of it.  

Improve your EX with S&S

Do you need help to enable employee experience across your business and get both happier employees and happier customers as a result?

Get in touch 

Matt Bradley Circle
Written by Matt Bradley
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