The health of the global economy is always of huge interest to corporations. It ripples through business sentiment and can make or break investment decisions. At the moment, things are humming along. Small businesses in the US have registered their highest levels of confidence in the history of the survey,
“At 3.5 percent, November was the 21st consecutive month with an unemployment rate of 4 percent or lower. Revisions to earlier estimates brought the average monthly payroll gain for the past three months to 205,000, a substantial achievement for the 11th year of an economic expansion.”Patricia Cohen
New York Times
This is great news for job seekers, but less so for businesses. While a full-employment economy means that consumers have a great deal of spending power and the government can look forward to higher tax income, the tight labor market brings its own consequences.
With fewer people looking for jobs, open positions tend to remain vacant longer. Larger companies like the Microsofts, Nikes and AT&Ts of the world still attract a lot of candidates simply because of their name value and reputation. That means that smaller, lesser-known companies find themselves having to compete for employees by offering higher wages or better benefits just to stay in the race.
The macro-factors surrounding the tight labor market cannot be controlled by any single organization. But that’s not to say that they need to raise the white flag and claim defeat. Organizations have an enormous influence over the Employee Experience, which is where they should start focusing more attention.
What is Employee Experience?
So, what is Employee Experience, or EX? According to Jacob Morgan, it’s a combination of the cultural environment, the physical environment and the technological environment. Personally, I like Bersin’s view of Employee Experience, which I can paraphrase as the sum of all the touchpoints an employee has with an employer, all the way from the time of being a candidate to the point of departure.
Basically, what I take away from that is that we all build an impression of our employer through all of the experiences that we have – both positive and negative. Is my desk space noisy? Are the people friendly? Are the expectations realistic? Is the culture a good fit? Does my computer work well? Do I have the tools and applications I need to be effective? Is there access to public transportation? The list could go on forever because the things that matter most to us are very subjective.
That’s not to say that organizations can’t influence the Employee Experience. On the contrary, they can have a great impact on the cultural, physical and technological environments, which in turn contribute directly to employee happiness and retention.
A lot of time and effort goes into the customer journey. What makes customers happy? What are they looking at on our website? How can we turn a one-time customer into a brand evangelist?
It’s not rocket science
Although it’s still in its infancy, our understanding of Employee Experience is starting to make waves within organizations.
NetMotion recently conducted a study to learn what frustrates a specific group of employees – the mobile workforce. Although the issues they flagged didn’t surprise us, we did discover that most of these issues could be resolved (or at least improved) without much effort from the organization. If your employees are having trouble connecting to the company intranet, find a way to fix it. If they’re spending way too much time authenticating, inputting repetitive data, or talking to the helpdesk, get better or more reliable tools. Do remote employees feel disconnected? Invest in unified communications tools that everyone is willing to use.
These things aren’t rocket science, but they are part of the intangibles that companies often overlook when designing a productive environment for employees. Turning customers into brand evangelists is one thing, but turning employees into loyal brand ambassadors can have an incredibly lasting and powerful impact on the bottom line. In today’s tight labor market it can make all the difference.
Download the full Mobile Employee Experience Report.