An Employee Experience Introduction and Story
FullStack’s office is in a building that we share with a lot of different companies, and I have caught myself a lot recently introducing myself in the kitchen to people I have never seen before, and learning at least their name and their company. Unless someone is thoroughly uninterested in pleasantries, I am walking away from these interactions delighted to know a new person, and I have to suspect that the newer person felt welcomed and cared for, even if just for a few minutes. I don’t know that I could tell you why I do this besides the genuine desire to work in a place where I know people and I am known, because that intuitively seems important to me and to the success of the companies in our office space.
As we dive this month at FullStack into the importance of the employee experience for the success of small companies, I am realizing from stories like my own the importance of the daily, sometimes mundane interactions that employees have with their colleagues, manager, office space, company, and customers. The combination of these small interactions at the beginning, middle, and end of one’s time with a company are what make up the employee experience.
Many smarter people have said some of this in some form - businesses succeed or fail on the customer experience with your product or service, and at the root of the customer experience is the employee experience. Delightful employees lead to delighted customers. If employees are not having a great experience, neither will your customers, and both will likely leave and cost you a lot of money and time to replace them. Therefore, it is my position it is to your advantage to put your best energies toward the daily and weekly experience of your employees.
To brainstorm how you can do this, I want to invite you into a short exercise that only needs to take a minute or two. Take yourself back to a delightful overall experience you had as an employee, or reflect on the one you are having now. How were you welcomed when you first started the job? What did your manager to empower you to fulfill your role? What did the company do to celebrate successes? What were the regular emotions you experienced while working there? How did colleagues respond when you moved on to your next opportunity?
Now, remember a particularly unenjoyable employee experience you have endured. What were your first day and the first few weeks like? What would you say is the primary reason it was bad? How were your interactions with your manager? How were you not empowered to fulfill your role? How did your colleagues respond when you announced you were leaving?
I would bet that most of your answers for both the positive and negatives experiences were mostly the result of daily and weekly interactions you had with your work, the people you worked with, and the place where you worked. While the larger initiatives a company undertakes to improve the employee experience are important, like incentives for high-performance, fun company events, good food and drinks on site, learning and development opportunities, the daily interactions are what are make it or break it. It is in these daily interactions where company values posted on the walls are lived out or not.
Challenge: What is one daily or weekly practice you can put into place to live out company values, and improve the employee experience for individuals and your team? Think of something very practical like my example at the beginning.