Unsatisfying working environments, procedures, and technology can destroy employees’ experiences at work. When the employee experience plummets, so does their commitment to the company, the customer, and the product. How much do the employees’ positive and negative experiences at work impact companies?
Tiffani Bova explores this concept in her latest book, The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth, which demonstrates the value of balance between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). This book, and her first, Growth IQ, made it onto The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Bova has spent two decades leading large revenue-producing divisions in everything from start-ups to Fortune 500s. She is the Global Growth Evangelist at Salesforce and a Research Fellow at Gartner. Twice, she has been named a Top 50 business thinker in the world by Thinkers50.
During a speech several years ago, Bova expressed that she didn’t think it was a coincidence that Salesforce was both a great place to work and one of the most innovative companies in the world. She recognized the interdependency between fast innovation, growth, and serving the customer better. Not only do these factors rely on one another, but Bova says a company’s growth is dependent on the balance between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Whatever a company promises to customers to raise their experience falls back on the employees—they are the ones who must carry through with it. EX drops if the employees aren’t provided what they need to fulfill that promise. “And when that happens, they get dissatisfied, disgruntled, they disengage. They’re not as committed. They’re not willing to go the extra mile, not only for the customer but for the company and their teammates.” This reaction to employee dissatisfaction, known as “quiet quitting,” is so prevalent that it went viral on social media starting March 2022.
In The Experience Mindset, Bova suggests leaders shift their mindsets to encompass everyone’s experience. When they decide to enact change for their customers, they must pause to consider the implications for their employees. For example, a customer might be able to seamlessly place an order using a single application tab because all the tabs required to do so—finding the product, placing the order, entering payment and shipping information, and tracking the order—have been integrated. However, when employees place orders for customers, they may need to jump between multiple applications because the systems aren’t integrated on their end. This means the customer experience is up but at the employees’ expense, lowering their EX.
The solution seems straightforward. So why aren’t all companies building stronger employee experiences to improve customer experiences? Bova says, “I think many companies believed they were delivering compelling and meaningful and great employee experiences until they realized they weren’t.” The examination of employee experience is a relatively recent development. Bova suggests that it came about from a perfect storm: the pandemic, which challenged the employee-employer relationship and brought up unique concerns such as whether working in-house or from home better enhanced productivity and collaboration.
Many companies don’t have an executive team, or even a single individual focused on the employee experience, so managers, leaders, and executive teams don’t have a line of sight into the issues affecting EX. “If no one is aware of it and paying attention to it, or they are aware of it and they’re doing nothing about it, it should be no surprise we find ourselves in this situation where quiet quitting and the great resignation are happening.”
Bova suggests creating an advisory board to analyze the aspects of employees’ daily tasks that impacts them most. To address the employee experience, companies must measure it, so they know where to start. Bova suggests turning to the top 3-5 customer metrics the company tracks and setting up a correlating employee metric. If a company’s top three customer metrics are net promoter, satisfaction, and effort scores, they should set up the same metrics to measure them for their employees.
But figuring out the issues is only half the job. Bova says that three-quarters of companies are collecting data but have no idea what to do with it. They must take the information they gather and enact positive change to better the employee experience. This starts with the company communicating what it will do—or not do, and why not—along with a timeline for completion.
Companies would be nothing without the employees who work to keep their customers satisfied. Happy employees foster satisfied customers, growth, and innovation. In Tiffani Bova’s book, The Experience Mindset, leaders can learn how to shift toward this harmony and greater success.