It’s axiomatic: if you want to stage great experiences for your customers, you must stage great experiences for your employees. They must have the wherewithal to engage your customers, whether consumers or businesses. That means you must offer your workforce experiences that are robust, cohesive, personal, dramatic, and even transformative.
Robust experiences hit the sweet spot between entertainment, educational, escapist, and esthetic experiences. Learning & Development’s primary role is to educate the workforce, but does it do it in an entertaining way to hold employee attention? Does L&D bring learning into the actual arena of work, escaping the classroom, and the screen? And in today’s increasingly remote and hybrid work environment, does your company provide employees the proper technology, tools, and home office equipment to work effectively from wherever they happen to be — while simultaneously maintaining the culture of the organization and its capacity for innovation?
Cohesive experiences start with a theme that brings together the design of every experience into one unified whole. Do you theme your employee experiences? Theming sometimes gets a bad name because we equate it with the fantasy surroundings of theme parks or the in-your-face aspects of theme restaurants. But the theme is simply the organizing principle of the experience, a two-edged sword that enables you to decide what is in the experience, and what is out.Theming needs to be applied to workplace experiences just as much as to experience places for customers.
Whirlpool Corporation, for example, themed its sales training after the MTV reality show The Real World, only they spell it Real Whirled. The company houses its fresh-out-of-college recruits in a condominium where they stay together for the whole program, making their own meals with Whirlpool appliances, washing their own clothes (again using Whirlpool appliances),and getting their training in the building’s common room. Since embracing this theme, retention rates have gone up 50%.
Personal experiences involve mass customizing to each individual employee. For, like customers, all employees are unique and need to be regarded as such. Do you treat different employees differently, or force them all into the same mold? Do you mass customize benefits? Do you let them use their own devices for work (usually called “consumerization”), which they have already mass customized to be unremittingly personal to their needs, or force them to use antiquated equipment and software?
Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Oregon, puts the personal into its very theme —Personalize. Humanize. Demystify. — that over three decades it has become its meaningful purpose. It doesn’t apply solely to patients, but to its employees as well; not just to its onstage medical facilities but to its backstage workplace environments. Employees, as just one example, choose the individual charities the hospital gives to (if and only if it makes a profit that year).This creates a virtuous cycle where employees volunteer for organizations they individually care about, which creates the incentive for people in the community to get their healthcare at MCMC.
Dramatic experiences recognize the principle that when you stage experiences, your work IS theater. It’s not a metaphor – work “as” theater; it’s a model – work is theater. So first, you must direct your workers to act in a way that engages customers, the audience of your experience. And that means you must prepare them for their roles to play. Think, therefore, of Human Resources as a talent agency and of L&D incorporating an acting school.
Further, embrace dramatic structure in all your experiences. A simple way to do so is to design every experience in five stages: enticing, entering, engaging, exiting, and extending. You can apply this as well to the entire working experience. How do you entice prospective employees to want to work with you? What is your onboarding experience as they enter into employment, and how does it set them up for success — both for you, and for them? How do you engage them throughout their employment? In what ways can you even make exiting employment an experience that creates a great reputation — and perhaps a future customer? And how do you extend the relationship so that past employees recommend you, both as employer and supplier?
Finally, transformative experiences recognize that employees themselves have goals, aims, and aspirations. While you hire them for work, they hire you to gain knowledge, skills, capabilities, a career path, and so forth, with every individual employee having his or her own set of aspirations. You must guide them throughout their careers, helping them achieve their work aspirations all the way along, while simultaneously achieving your own aspirations for their work output.
Mid-Columbia, for example, understands that its long-term success fully depends on its ongoing investment in qualified people (whether medical, professional, or otherwise) and their development over time. It therefore re-recruits employees every six months to ensure that management understands their individual goals and knows they are progressing on the path they individually chose. MCMC must continually meet their needs as an employer just as much as employees must meet the needs of the hospital.
Creating and staging robust, cohesive, personal, dramatic, and transformative experiences proves no easy task, of course, whether to customers or employees. But something that can help tremendously, particularly on the personal element, is an experience platform.
Intellective’s Employee Experience Pack sits on top of ServiceNow to deliver a personalized and unified employee engagement experience where you can integrate data across software platforms to deliver a world class employee experience. You can leverage the analytics inside ofServiceNow to gain insights on employee engagement since team members will be using the portals to get the information they need since it is now so simply.
Below are some of the benefits you get from the Employee Experience Pack: