The experience of employees who work at your company speaks volumes about the kind of organization it is.
Taking care of your employees and making them want to show for work — and put in their best effort — is what sets the most successful companies apart from the rest.
New research based on 252 organizations discusses the impact of culture, technology, and physical space on the employee experience. It's all detailed in Jacob Morgan's new book, The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate.
On this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — we interviewed Jacob about his book, and why employee experience matters to marketing.
Take a listen here:
Here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jacob about why company culture and employee experience are increasingly critical.
As human beings, we all value good experiences — not only in our personal lives as consumers, but also at work. We all want to have a good experience in the workplace and be part of a team that cares about whether or not we want to be there. Employee experience is not only an HR responsibility. Whether you’re a mid-level manager or a senior executive, all employees need to help create an environment in which everyone can thrive.
In the podcast episode, Jacob describes how an employee’s experience directly affects a customer’s experience, too. He says, “When people are being taken care of, it unlocks discretionary effort to go above and beyond to help their customers. So, experience isn’t just an HR thing. It’s something every employee is responsible for.” That leads us to our next reason why company culture is so important.
Employees want to feel like they are contributing to the overall culture of the organization because it gives them a sense of purpose. But corporate culture is highly misunderstood. Jacob recalled a story from when he was younger and worked behind the concession stand of a movie theater. He and his fellow employees competed to upsell the most customers in a week to receive a gift card. Yet he had no idea why he was doing it or what the actual benefit of the extra money to the theater was.
He went on to contrast his theater employment experience to the employee experience at the San Diego Zoo, where the people who work behind the concession stand know for certain that the extra money they're making from upselling is going toward helping the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Comparing those two scenarios, there is a clear understanding and difference in corporate culture. The zoo gives their employees a purpose by allowing them to contribute to the mission of the organization, which then makes them feel like they are part of a team effort — while the movie theater provided no purpose for its employees’ work.
“That’s a very good example between two organizations with the same roles. One of them doesn’t make that connection, and the other one clearly helps employees understand and make an effective connection,” says Jacob.
Jacob believes that many employees think the responsibility to create and promote a good culture falls on the organization. In other words, many employees simply show up and expect the company to create a sense of purpose for them.
He explains, "You need a little bit of self-accountability and responsibility to make sure that you want to be a part of this organization, that you understand what they stand for, and that you understand the work that you're going to be doing starts with you as the employee.” Then as a marketer, you can also begin crafting stories that tell the story of your organization to the broader public, including possible customers and partners.
Jacob also believes that organizations should step in by consistently explaining to their employees how the company is impacting its communities and customers, so that employees have a good understanding of what their purpose is.
Jacob says, "The successful organizations don’t create things for employees, they create things with employees.” He believes that companies like T-Mobile and LinkedIn are redefining the employee experience by getting their employees involved, and they're redesigning their workplace practices around what their employees value.
This shift in employee experience has brought on a wave of famous company cultures that offer free perks” for employees. But the biggest roadblock for most small to mid-level companies who want to create an incredible employee experience is that they can’t afford to pay for things like childcare and dry cleaning for all of their employees. For this, Jacob advises: “What a lot of people don’t realize is that those things are actually free. Companies like Google are in the concierge and convenience business.”
Jacob indicates that companies like this don’t get hit with tons of costs for these services, because they don’t actually foot the bill for most of it. They coordinate with service providers for a price break and then make those services available and convenient for their employees, though the cost usually comes out of the employee’s pocket. “They are making their employees’ lives easier, and this is something that any organization can do,” Jacob adds.
Companies can also offer free but valuable perks like a flexible working schedule, the ability to work remotely, meetings with C-level executives, and much more.
Marketers can play a very crucial role by helping to build a bridge between the company and the world. Marketers can create stories that explain the company's purpose and how it impacts the world and the community positively.
For example, you could feature employees on your social media profiles who talk about what it's like to work for the company, which attracts top talent and makes customers feel great about working with you.
However, Jacob says “the caveat is that you need to actually have this type of an organization. You cannot market something that isn't great.” He goes on to say, “Marketers need to actually make sure that their organization is making these investments before just trying to make up a story around them.”
Investing in all three of those aspects is something a company must do to achieve a tremendous employee experience. Jacob believes that an admirable corporate culture can be achieved by giving employees great resources, providing an amazing space for people to do their best work, and providing a story that connects and brings meaning to the work they do.
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