Your employees need any hope and positivity than can get. While you can’t solve or resolve every issue they have, you have an opportunity to create a positive employee experience for them. This isn’t necessarily your obligation but it is an opportunity that could lead to better retention, better employer branding, increased job satisfaction, better employee productivity, etc.
Before I share the five steps I want to talk about this title. It is your opportunity to create a positive employee experience. This is pretty much the same thing as creating a positive organizational culture. I really want to say it’s your job, your obligation, but that might not be true. Your job might be to ensure you have strong financial results, or some other metric that doesn’t seem to be tied to long-term culture or a positive employee experience.
By the way, “positive” is an intentional word here. You aren’t just creating an employee experience, but you need to create a positive employee experience.
Twenty Twenty Too is a play on words for 2022. It references that 2022 is just more of the yuck from 2020… the pandemic year. Unfortunately, 2021 felt a whole lot like 2020 and so far no one would be surprised if 2022 is the same as 2020. People are tired of all the fighting, the division, the uncertainty, the personal cost of what we’ve been enduring.
Your team needs a place where they can have some respite. You can provide them with a safe place where they can contribute to something successful and positive. You can provide them with positive reinforcement, and the cohesive feeling of being on a team. This is what “employee experience” is about and the impact is far-reaching.
Again, you don’t have to do this. But you have a great opportunity to provide this positive employee experience. Here are five ideas to do this:
Positive Employee Experience through Recognition
Employee experience (EX) should be a critical part of your executive strategy and conversations. You need to take care of your people so they take care of your customers. When you provide an excellent employee experience you create an environment where people want to bring their best to your team. They come with better ideas to improve products, processes, systems, etc.
One of the ways to enhance your employee experience is to allow others to show recognition to their peers and colleagues. An employee recognition system takes the burden off of a manager to continually notice and praise the work and efforts of each person on a team and shares that not-burden-but-opportunity with everyone else. Getting praise from a boss is cool. Knowing your teammates see and value what you do is awesome.
Employee recognition can happen in many different ways. Snowfly makes it easy to create a repository of recognition where praise builds up over time. You can see a history of impressive work and results as your team works over months and years. It’s easy to open Snowfly and write, “I just saw Mike handle a difficult customer situation with grace. He was kind, patient, and helped move to a very good end result. The customer was happy and Mike might have saved the customer relationship!”
A tiny snippet like that might help Mike really feel appreciated. Encouraging this type of employee recognition in your team can foster this attitude of looking for good throughout the day. Can you imagine what kind of culture you would build if your team was continually looking for these good things? WOW!
Positive Employee Experience through Incentives
Continuing the example of Mike, who probably saved a customer through his great skills, what if you could throw Mike some money? There are a few ways to incentivize good work. Surprisingly, recognition is continually touted as a very effective incentive. But adding some kind of reward to the recognition is like icing on the cake. Imagine if Mike got a “great job! Go have a nice dinner, on us!” with money to cover dinner for two.
That’s going to be more memorable than just a “good job Mike!”
Not everything needs to be incentivized… at least with a price tag. Maybe incentives are just achieving a new level or badge (this is where gamification comes in). Maybe some monetary incentives will be meaningless (not enough, or not relevant). Figure out what would really incentivize your team. When we talk with new customers who are working on increasing employee engagement we seek to understand their environment, the culture, and many other factors to really figure out what a proper employee incentive program would look like.
In a world that feels confusing and polarized, getting some recognition and incentives could feel like a wonderful, positive thing in a world of darkness!
Positive Employee Experience through Communication
Let’s stay with Mike, since he’s done such a great job. Mike actually does a great job all the time. He knows he’s good. His customers would follow him even if he went to other companies. But Mike just doesn’t feel like you appreciate him.
Perhaps he gets a recognition here and there, and a gift card or some other incentive, but he wonders if you really understand the value he brings to the table. He might get inquiries from your competitors to see if he’s open to a change. Even though you like him, and management or executives talk about him, he doesn’t know just how much you appreciate him.
Mike is not having a positive employee experience. I’ve seen this time and again with star performers who are needed but don’t feel needed. It could happen when they ask for a raise, or something to help with their work, and are shot down. One little negative communication could feel affirming that they really aren’t appreciated.
Make sure that you foster a culture where regular, constant communication is shared. This can feel like a broken record player, but as long as you are genuine and authentic you will get to the results you want: creating a culture of positive employee experience.
Constant. Authentic. Even for trivial things, this type of communication can really improve your office vibe which will have an impact on your most important metrics.
Positive Employee Experience through Listening
It’s critical to listen to your team. This includes things you can hear as well as things you can’t hear. Pay attention to the sentiment. Pay attention to real messages that people want to share. Sometimes you have to ask deeper questions to drill down and hear the unsaid. Other times you have to ask the same question multiple times to multiple people.
Snowfly has created a flexible survey system that allows you to easily survey your employees. Asking questions could happen one-on-one, in group meetings, or automated with employee surveys. However you are soliciting and collecting the information, make sure your intent is to listen fairly and avoid listening just to give an immediate appeasing answer.
Collect information and be grateful when your team shares information hard to hear. They are risking their standing in the organization, maybe even their job, by sharing this hard information. But when they are heard, wow! Feeling heard can really contribute to a positive employee experience!
Do you see a theme here? If you consistently listen, and are authentic, you’ll create this positive employee experience. Be real with people… that’s what they need from you.
Positive Employee Experience through Authentic Emotional Intelligence
As you increase your emotional intelligence you’ll find a lot of this stuff naturally coming together. Emotional intelligence is built on five pillars. Each of these make you more authentic, and help you care and communicate with others better.
I’ve had bosses who had high emotional intelligence and bosses who have seemed to have no emotional intelligence. Going to work for someone with no emotional intelligence can be very discouraging. I am not one who needs a lot of praise, but going to a bad extreme to the point where I’m not sure if the boss even knows who I am or what I do is not fun.
On the other hand, working for someone with high emotional intelligence is FUN. It is rewarding. I feel recognized, incentivized, and listened to. I want to contribute and bring more value to my team. I add more because I know it actually matters. This is a critical part of having a positive employee experience which, again, improves all kinds of metrics.
By the way, I created a course in Pluralsight on Emotional Intelligence… you can find it here.
Create a Positive Employee Experience with Snowfly
We’d love to partner with you and bring our best, our years of experience, to help you create this amazing culture. Let’s help our employees feel the love in 2022, and not make it a 2020-too. Click here to schedule a chat!