Intentional Culture: Start with the Employee Experience

Are you facing the question, “How do we change our culture to support the strategy we have just defined?”  As my colleagues and I were discussing this challenge, we identified an important element of creating an intentional culture: purposefully connecting the Customer Experience to the Employee Experience.

When done right, good customer experience work should clarify whom you serve and the need you solve for them – and identify the most critical moments in the customer’s journey in getting that need solved.  And while process change is a key element of change, we know as leaders that it’s people who will make a transformative change sustainable.  We believe there is no better way to instill how you want your customers to be treated than to embed it into how you treat your employees.

Cropped shot of a diverse group of business professionals giving each other a high-five

There are 6 important elements of creating an Employee Experience that reflects your desired Customer Experience (CX):

1. Hire the type of people who will best deliver on your customer’s needs. Align your HR and screening processes to look for talent that has a passion for the problem you solve for your customers.  As an example, if the need you solve is around relieving your customer’s “anxiety about their healthcare” – then hire people who, in addition to having the technical skills, also have the ability to be compassionate and show empathy.

2. Share success stories about what employees are doing with and for customers to solve their needs. Potential and current employees should hear early and often about the important role CX plays in your organization’s success and how it is motivating and inspiring your staff.

3. Make sure your employees know the company’s objectives, their department objectives, and their personal objectives and how they tie back to your customer. When there is a clear connection from the start about how an employee’s performance is tied back to impacting the customer experience, the foundation of a customer-led organization takes root.

4. Provide a streamlined hiring and onboarding approach from the moment a potential employee is learning about your company, to the hiring process, to their first 3 months on the job, to how you incorporate CX metrics into their performance and incentives. If your customer experience includes making sure your customers feel you are there for them every step of the way, then give your employees the same experience.  One way to do this in an employee’s experience is to assign them a mentor for their first 30-45 days.

5. Provide some shared experiences for your employees that allow them to get into the mindset of your customers. Spending time working in stores, listening to customer service calls, or receiving training on customer insights are all ways you can help your employees hear and feel the voice of your customer.  Keep this type of input an ongoing part of the employee experience, not just a one-time “new hire” activity.

6. Train every leader in your organization to speak to the importance of your customer experience strategy as they hire and onboard new employees and lead their teams. Practice making CX part of your culture with your leadership team by exploring what it means to them personally and the stories they would tell to bring it to life for their teams.  Each leader should identify how they will hold their teams accountable to the goals.  Don’t let one or two leaders be the “owners” of CX.

There is an unfortunate propensity for organizations to lose sight of their customer experience goals.  We believe that aligning your employee experience to your customer experience strategy will help to provide the footings for an intentional customer focused culture.

How are you aligning customer experience and employee experience in your organization to intentionally influence your culture?

Deborah is a retail and wholesale executive who has spent the last 20 years leading business teams to continuously improve the customer experience.