As we reassess the workplace in the face of the pandemic, employers have been scrambling to fill roles, and employees are feeling emboldened to find the best workplace experience for them and their families. The remote workplace has made much of the workforce untethered, and this has removed geographical limitations on the job search.
IT service and support has an outsized role to play in the employee experience (EX) and retention efforts of the workforce. In this two-part blog post, we’ll first discuss why EX is important, and then discuss how IT service and support can augment EX efforts.
The employee experience (EX) is how employees think and feel through every single touchpoint during their time with your organization. Employee experience management traces the entire employee journey with the goal of creating a satisfied and dedicated workforce. This is the experience from:
- Pre-employment – the job search, the application for a position, the interview, the job offer, and the offer acceptance
- Employment – the onboarding process, engagement, contribution, development, growth, progression, and performance
- Post-employment – separation from the organization, exit interview, offboarding, retained connection with the organization
Employee experience management is concerned with the tools, strategies, and initiatives for improving the employee experience at each touchpoint along the employee journey.
Research by Jacob Morgan shows that companies that invest in their employee experience, outperform competitors that don’t. Not only do they grow 1.5x faster, pay better, and produce more than double the revenue, but they are also 4 times more profitable.
Shep Hyken, customer service expert, explains the relationship between employee experience and the customer experience this way: “What happens on the inside of the organization is felt on the outside by the customer. If you want to have a great customer experience, you must focus on your employee experience. Take care of employees, and they will take care of your customers.”
There are no boundaries anymore. What happens inside an organization is soon known by those outside of it, including the customer. Social media has made the internal experience visible externally and there is no place to hide. If there is a bad culture – customers know. If there is a toxic environment – customers know. If there are bad bosses – customers know.
Customers also can feel it. If employees are happy, motivated, and engaged, customers feel it. It is a whole different experience than dealing with an unhappy and disaffected employee.
There has been renewed attention on EX because of The Great Resignation, a term coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University Mays Business School, to describe the wave of workers across many industries quitting their jobs.
The workplace think tank EY conducted the Work Reimagined Work Survey in 2021 and canvassed the views of more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries and multiple industries and job roles. It was one of the largest global surveys of its kind. That survey found that more than half (54%) of employees surveyed from around the world would consider leaving their job post-COVID-19 pandemic if they are not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work.
In March 2021, Microsoft spearheaded the Work Trend Index survey, which was conducted by an independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence. That survey canvassed attitudes of 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets between January 12, 2021 to January 25, 2021. The research from that survey revealed that 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, and 46% are planning to make a major pivot or career transition because they can now work remotely. This was just months before the US saw a record four million workers resign. 19 million US workers quit their jobs between April and September 2021, according to McKinsey.
The pandemic has given employees a chance to reflect about what is important to them in work and in their personal life. The Great Resignation is also The Great Realization. It is also being referred to as the Great Reset, The Great Reflection, The Great Reimagination, The Great Reprioritization, The Great Reshuffle, and The Great Recognition. Whatever we call it, massive change is afoot.
Employees are in the driving seat. Having proved that remote working can work, they are no longer limited by geographical boundaries when seeking a new employer. They are demanding retention of the flexibility to choose where they work and when. Unless you are an employer of choice offering the right employee experience, you will lose your talent and be unable to attract new replacements.
What part does service management have to play in the employee and customer experience?
Service management must shift from a focus on technology to a focus on people. It must be an experience-led approach. Giving employees a great technology experience – and improving the broken one – must be a core of everything service management does. Technology has a major impact on the employee experience that can drive business success – or demise.
Your approach has to be one of capturing employee feedback on a continuous basis. You must listen to the feedback, and it must be understood. You must verify what you are hearing by taking a Gemba walk. This means going to the place where the work is done and the experience taking place.
It is then an imperative that the feedback is acted upon. Employees will stop providing feedback if no action is taken.
In part 2 of our discussion on service management and employee experience, learn how ITIL 4 provides the guidelines for how best to enhance EX.
Karen Ferris is a self-professed organizational change and service management rebel and author. You can learn more about her work here.