“What do you mean it can create a negative outcome? If I at least try to improve my employees’ experience, will it not at least benefit them and the firm a little bit?”
This was the comment I shared from a COO of a 400-person firm in last month’s blog, CX & EX: Vicious or Virtuous Cycle. What this firm leader believed, and honestly what I hear a lot, is that if he asked his employees for internal feedback once a year and tried to execute some part of what they told him, he would build loyalty. And, more importantly from an ROI perspective, he trusted that this increased loyalty would insulate him from the talent wars the industry is facing.
What our 15-years of experience has shown us is that some strategies, while well-meaning, can actually do more harm than good. Today, I’d like to dig a bit deeper into employee experience (EX) strategies that are proven to drive revenue growth.
A Culture that Energizes
Let me state the obvious. Your employees are human beings. Sure, you say. I know that. But did you know that all human beings crave three things: safety, belonging and mattering. And they crave these things at work too. What does a workplace that fosters safety, belonging, and mattering look like? Here are some statements made by employees on high functioning teams:
- I feel safe to try new approaches, innovate, and share my ideas at work.
- I trust other members of my team to support my and the company’s success.
- I am motivated by my company’s mission, vision, and values.
- When I make a mistake, I am corrected with respect and the desire to help me improve.
- I have a career development plan that my leader continuously supports me in.
Are there any of these that aren’t important to you? With more than 75% of the Gen Z and Millennial workforce indicating they would consider new opportunities that promised to meet these needs, creating a culture that focuses on these factors makes strong financial sense.
Don’t Mess Up Your Team
Creating a culture that supports and rewards a high functioning team atmosphere takes commitment, but it does not necessarily involve your leadership team coming up with a highly detailed employee engagement program. In fact, according to an article in BU Today, the role of leadership is not to motivate their employees, but to “not mess up their employees’ natural motivation.”
A 2018 study done by researchers at Valencore in collaboration with the Ken Blanchard Companies identified a link between an employee’s motivation to work hard and workplace culture. The results clearly linked high performance with leadership’s ability to tap into their employee’s natural motivation to achieve their potential and to contribute meaningfully. Five strategies your leadership team can adopt are:
- Set goals that have meaning. Take the time to help them visualize what their role looks like and how it contributes to the overall benefit of the firm.
- Celebrate milestones focused on areas important to the individual and the firm. Celebrating milestones, includes understanding your team’s challenges. If a milestone isn’t met, take the time to discover what is blocking progress.
- Provide meaningful feedback. Saying “great presentation” is nice, but taking the time to tell them “what you did benefits the firm in this way” shows them you are really paying attention.
- Provide support and guidance while allowing your employees to comfortably suggest their own ideas and solutions. Telling your team “Don’t bring me a problem without a solution” can inhibit your team from bringing challenges to leadership attention. Giving them the opportunity to share their solutions in a supportive manner will empower your team.
- Follow through on promises (including implicit promises). This was one of the challenges we shared in last month’s blog, CX & EX: Vicious or Virtuous Cycle. Leadership asked for feedback and then employees never heard anything more about it. This impacts motivation and feelings of trust.
Your employees bring with them the energy and enthusiasm to be part of your team when they join your firm. Integrating these five strategies into your workplace culture is not difficult. Doing so does require the intentionality and commitment of your firm’s leadership.
The connection between positive employee experience (EX) and positive customer/client experience (CX) and loyalty has been well documented. And with the obvious connection between client loyalty and increased share of wallet on your firm’s financial performance, the connection between EX and financial performance is important. Research has documented that:
- Firms in the top quartile of EX experience 10% higher customer loyalty – Gallup
- Firms that excel at CX have 1.5 times more engaged employees – Tempkin Group
- High employee engagement can increase revenues by up to 2 ½ times that of firms with lower engagement – Hay Group/Korn Ferry
- Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability – Gallup
- Disengaged employees cost US companies up to $550 billion annually – The Engagement Institute
The significance of these metrics makes measurement of your firm’s efforts essential and just makes sense. Think about your firm’s financial metrics. I think it’s safe to say leadership does not implement financial growth strategies without measuring the success of those strategies year over year. Why would understanding the success of your employee engagement strategies be any different?
Client Savvy has worked with more than 450 A|E|C firms in 16 years to design, implement, and measure their EX and CX initiatives. You understand the importance. We understand the process to integrate EX and CX into your existing workflow processes. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a complimentary 30-minute consultation.