It’s no secret that your employees are more productive and innovative when they’re engaged. But while your employees are just as important as your customers - and deserve the same (if not more) level of attention and care - they can’t be treated the same way.
Context is everything when it comes to engagement, and your employees need to be engaged in a way that takes their specific needs and wants into account.
World class employers like Google and Uber have designed some excellent employee engagement experiences. Here’s what those experiences have in common, and what you can learn from them.
Prioritising autonomy, mastery and purpose
Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says that people aren’t motivated by perks like ping pong tables, free booze or gym memberships. What intrinsically motivates people is:
- Autonomy. Having the freedom to make their own decisions, manage their own tasks, and choose which tools and processes to use makes employees feel a sense of autonomy. And autonomy, according to Pink, leads to engagement, accountability and responsibility. You’re more likely to care about something if you’ve got a stake in it.
- Mastery. For most people, the pursuit of mastery - of learning something, experimenting and trying to achieve a goal - is incredibly motivating. The best employers, therefore, are those who encourage employees to continuously improve via access to coaching, mentoring, training and feedback.
- Purpose. It’s not uncommon for people to leave high-paying jobs for lower-paid ones that give them a clearer sense of purpose. Knowing what they’re doing and why they’re doing it is important, so employers must work to foster a sense of connectedness and relatedness to a higher purpose among their workforce.
The bottom line? World class employee experiences are those that make people feel independent, that help them continuously learn and develop, and that gives them a sense of purpose in the world. Without those key things, employees are left feeling directionless and disengaged.
Click here to read how Uber used a company milestone to connect its employees to the company vision and goals.
Following the path to success
Employment is a journey, not a static thing. People progress in different ways, using different tools, and require individual support.
The best employee experiences, then, have parallels with your customers’ path to purchase. Think about how you map out your customer journeys and apply that same logic to your employees. Do you know their needs and wants? Their pain points and barriers to success? What are the channels through which you can support them? What does a ‘successful outcome’ look like for your employees?
As an employer, you need to create an environment that’s agile enough for employees to design their own journey within your business. This means designing the right office space, equipping them with the right software and hardware, giving them access to experiential learning, rewarding them appropriately, and more.
Remember: employment is a journey that each person takes in their own way. Your job, as an employer, is to support them along that journey.
Nearly every business, regardless of its size or industry, relies on communication and collaboration to keep things running smoothly.
But communication and collaboration don’t just happen. Your workplace culture and the tools you give your employees has a direct impact on their ability to collaborate, communicate and work effectively.
That’s why the best employee experiences are digital by nature. World class employers give their people the right tools to do their jobs, and to collaborate with colleagues regardless of their location or time zone. These employers also make use of digital tools to enable knowledge sharing and effective project management.
Putting thought into your space
At some point in time, the ‘open plan’ office space became the default workplace style in many countries. But new research has shown that face-to-face interactions decrease by as much as 70 percent in open spaces - and the number of emails and instant messages sent skyrockets.
The point here is that you need to put thought into how you design your workspace. You shouldn’t blindly follow design trends or focus on what’s cheapest, best or most aesthetically pleasing. The best employee experiences happen in spaces that are:
- Functional. Consider the different ways in which people work in your office, and design your space around these individual needs. Make sure there are spaces for individuals and groups, for loud debates or quiet writing, for meetings and for leisure activities. The more multi-functional your space is, the better it will be for your employees.
- Connected. Your space should work hard for your people, not the other way around. Use technology to make things like booking meeting rooms, chatting to colleagues or organising social events easier for people. The more connected your employees feel, the more engaged they’ll be.
- Inspiring. Studies show that exposure to the natural environment has a positive impact on people’s mood. Introduce greenery into your space, get creative with lightning and maximise outdoor views to give your staff as much exposure to the outside as possible. The Slack office in Melbourne makes excellent use of greenery and lighting.
Wellbeing has become a bit of a buzzword in corporate circles, but the best employers take it seriously.
When your employees are happy, healthy and feel supported, your business thrives. In fact, companies that invest in staff wellbeing see an enormous return on their investment. The logic is simple: people work harder, better and faster when they’re well.
An employee experience that prioritises work life balance, preventative healthcare and emotional support will help people feel engaged and keep them happy. The best workplaces are those that develop a culture of wellness, and genuinely prioritise people’s wellbeing.
Are you building a world class employee experience?
Your employees are your company’s most valuable asset. Without them, you wouldn’t have products, services or customers. They deserve an employment experience that values their contribution, prioritises their wellbeing, makes them feel valued and more.
Building a world class employee experience takes time, and to do it you have to commit to building a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration and innovation. But it’s worth every cent.