“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson

Chances are that you have heard this quote. It’s brought up a lot; especially when looking at company cultures and employee engagement. A recent study showed that 80% of executives rated employee experience as very important or important to them, but only 22% said their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience. So what does ’employee experience’ mean and why aren’t we doing a good job at providing it?

A lot of the time when we think about ‘taking care of the employee’, our brain usually goes to money, benefits, and happiness (meaning cool swag and nice people). All of these things matter and honestly, I care about those things too. However, it is more than that. In today’s workforce, employees are looking for purpose, development, collaboration, and recognition. It is easier than ever for people to leave their job when they don’t find what they’re looking for. It is also easier than ever for people to know about your company and its’ culture before even stepping in the door. Candidates looking for your open job opportunities are judging you just as much as you are judging them.

Examine your systems
At People Centric, we have a framework that outlines the systems that bring long-term solutions and positive consequences. Each of these are not as effective without the others. These systems include:

  • Strategy – clearly convey what winning looks like and how each individual’s work contributes to those wins
  • Management- develop and challenge your people while holding them accountable
  • People – get the right people in the right role
  • Processes – build reliable, effective, and efficient processes
  • Communication – ensure that everyone has the information they need

When people are able to feel psychologically safe among teams and confident in their work, productivity and profitability increase. Buying everyone a tee shirt won’t go as far as making someone welcome and setting clear expectations on their first day of work. Examine your systems and ask yourself if every person on your team is aligned within these systems. 

Prioritize Your Systems
We could always communication more. That manager could probably soften up or push harder. We could probably come up with 20 different key objectives and goals for our company. There is plenty of room for improvement wthin each of these systems. However, there is a time and place for each of these opportunities depending on your current circumstances. What is the core pain your people are feeling? What are the major opportunities? Now what? 

Market Your Systems

Do your current employees and potential employees want to buy what you have to sell? Can they walk into your office and feel the culture? High performing cultures have people recommending trusted friends and old colleagues for jobs in their organization. High performing cultures share stories and pictures via social media and in the break room. 

It is true - when your employees are taken care of, they will take care of the client. The attitude, numbers, and focus will prove it. Let’s start addressing company culture and employee experience the right way.