A Customer Experience Firm to Manage Employee Surveys?

Today, the employee experience matters nearly as much as the customer experience. As the U.S. unemployment rate dips to 50 year lows, the reality is that organizations must pay attention to their employee’s experience. The alternative is a revolving employee door that has a direct impact on customers and the bottom line, never mind the millions invested in repeated onboarding and training. 

The stakes are high. Fast Company has a new article that lays it out very plainly:

It only takes one engagement survey to destroy the company culture you’ve worked years to create.

The article lays out the argument that most of these studies erode culture because the answers to the questions don’t actually result in any changes that the employees can see. 

By asking someone for their opinion–whether it’s about work or what they’d like for dinner–you imply that you care about it, and create an expectation that you’ll do something based on what they have to say. At the very least, when you ask for feedback, you make an implicit promise to acknowledge it.

Any too many companies fail to acknowledge the feedback, let alone act on it to make positive changes for their employees. Every employee is someone else’s customer and customers are becoming increasingly aware that their experience matters.

There is a data bargain that we make. As consumers themselves, employees now look at the data they give their employer (and any other company) as their personal currency. If that currency is collected, but there is no reciprocal value back to employees through improvements to their experience, (or at the very least in the form of transparently sharing the results of the survey), their confidence is gone. And, ultimately, they will cease to provide that feedback. A key take-away from customer experience planning: don’t waste valuable time if you don’t actually intend to change anything about the experience.

But beyond just wasting time, by asking employees about, say, that potential “nap room” or the idea of free lunch everyday, the organization has raised the stakes. Suddenly something they’ve never had or perhaps even considered may become part of the value equation of employment. The loss of that idea—not the reality of the thing—has the potential to create a sense of loss. And losses, it turns out, hurt more than gains feel good. Customer experience experts understand this phenomenon and carefully construct surveys so as to gather the necessary information without raising the specter of unrealistic outcomes.

Any company bothering to survey employees at all, we hope, recognizes that for the brand to have resonance outside the organization, it must be an authentic representation of what is going on inside the organization. Increasingly organizations are understanding how closely their brand success is linked to both their customer and their employee experience. 

In the same way you would never trust an internal Survey Monkey alone to determine your brand position or monitor your brand asset over time, your customer and employee experience metrics require the same degree of careful planning.