You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories.
Organizations have to ensure that their employees gather pleasant memories at work. Several leaders say that talent availability is a major challenge before them. So, employer brand is to be built and reinforced; undoubtedly one of the most important things that the leaders have to invest their energies on. Moreover, the texture of our workforce is changing and our socio-economic environment is transforming rapidly. Keeping these two things in the background, organizations have to deliver a pleasant and memorable experience to their employees.
This is the real test of the employer brand – if it is able to draw the best it needs, retain the best it has and engage them to generate the best outcome. What can leaders do to create a positive and pleasant experience for all their employees?
Who bells the cat?
Days are busy for all senior executives, so are nights! Everything that they do has an impact on how they lead their respective organization. How many of them really believe that they need to think about employer brand and hence, track and improve employee experience?
Some thinkers argue, employer branding is in the realm of human resources and hence, the HR Director needs to work on it. Some say, it’s a marketing activity and hence, marketing has to own this strategic element and work with HR to deliver a strong employer brand.
Ironically, either of the two approaches produce sub-optimal results. Just in case, someone shows good results by adopting one of the two approaches, it is a mere coincidence with something else that is going well for them. What is that silver bullet?
Every manager has to own this up in his or her key results area and adapt his style of leading his troop to create pleasant memories. As a result, HR team defines and executes the HR processes in such a way that employees experience speed, fairness, empowerment and trust; Marketing team promotes the brand, involves employees in the promotion, measures the impact and improves further; IT team deploys technology in the work processes to help employees improve their productivity and ease some of their challenges in completing their tasks; every manager in the organization across all the functions and the hierarchy, does his or her bit in delivering a pleasant and memorable experience.
Focus on the Moments of Truth
What should be done to make the experience pleasant and memorable? Is it about pay, manager, deadlines, the number of tasks to complete, the targets, colleagues, values, recognition or something else? Is there one or two factors which are more important than the rest?
Organizations have a purpose, a set of beliefs and ambitions that differentiate them from the others. Employees need to understand these and relate to these. How many times a prospective employee knows about these? How about reiterating them when a new joinee starts the new job? How many times does the line manager say these again to the new joinee and translate them into behaviours? These are all moments of truth that an organization has to perform well!
As life goes on, an employee interacts with some of the stakeholders of the business – colleagues, customers, suppliers, partners, government and so on. There are moments when we do well in meeting the expectations of the stakeholders; sometimes we fail to live up to them. There are moments when tough questions come one’s way. The employee acts and reacts in each of these situations based on the experiences one gathers along the way of life in the organization.
The experiences that we create for the employee along his or her journey with us determine how well he or she reflects the identity of our organization. These experiences remain dear and memorable when we care to articulate who we are, how our aspirations need to be fulfilled and how his or her role links with the future of the organization’s impact.
We need a fine mixture of a few factors
As employees go through their own life stages and the organization’s hierarchy, their priorities change. An employee in a senior management role has a set of needs which are different from what another in the entry-level or mid-level role needs. Moreover, given the developments in technology, we customise a number of things for ourselves in our daily lives, such as the apps that reside on one’s phone, the screensavers, colours, fonts, the flexible work hours that one takes and so on. We have to be sensitive to these developments.
Can we provide employees a personalised learning program, career path, bonus scheme and work hours? We need to understand expectations of each employee, clarify what is possible and what is not; and continually set the expectations right. For example, nobody is going to complain if the best pay is offered, industry-best incentives and benefits are offered. However, every organization would have its policy around compensation and benefits for its employees; it must be clear to them.
Employees are attracted, retained and engaged not only for the pay but a combination of factors. We have to see that the overall package of factors is attractive. We as customers are increasingly looking to buy experiences than a product. Hence, product companies such as cars, electronics and industrial goods are collaborating with other companies to deliver a complete package which has the product and several other things to deliver an overall experience to their customers. Similarly, employers have to review if the overall package is comprehensive enough to deliver the desired experience to their employees.
Leadership team across functions have to come together to define what experience would they need to provide their employees and deliver it each day in their own teams. After all, an employee treasures the memories for one’s life which determine if the organization is going to prosper well in the long run.
Ref: Stanislaw Jerzy Lec Quotes.” BrainyQuote.com. BrainyMedia Inc, 2019. 16 February 2019. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/stanislaw_jerzy_lec_132030