A vital step in improving product and client experience is identifying customers' pain points and fixing them. But while many companies are focused on enhancing the customer experience, they might ignore something just as critical: the employee experience.
Just like customers, employees also have pain points with your business. From shoddy technology to lack of flexibility, your team members' grievances could impact not only your work culture but also your bottom line.
Why Employee Satisfaction Matters
Consider this: Over the summer of 2020, employee engagement dropped to an all-time low, with 54% of employees disengaged and 14% actively disengaged, according to a report by Accenture. While you could try to chalk this up to working remotely because of the pandemic, it's part of a larger problem across the world, where only 15% of employees are engaged with their work.
But when you work to ensure your team members actually want—not just need—to come to work, you will see tangible benefits, including:
- Higher productivity: Satisfied employees are more likely to work with purpose and care about their contribution to the business.
- Better employee retention: Naturally, people are more likely to stay with a company where they're fulfilled.
- Larger talent pipelines: From positive online reviews to personal referrals, employees' happiness will help improve your reputation as an employer.
- Greater profitability: Companies who invest heavily in three aspects of employee experience (culture, physical space, and technology) had more than four times the average profit, according to research from Jacob Morgan.
Happy employees also turn into fantastic brand ambassadors—sharing their pride and belief in your business with others.
The first step to identifying employee pain points is to get everyone on board. From executives and HR to IT and finance, every company leader and manager should be invested in improving the employee experience. This won't be a quick process, and being successful will require dedication from all key players.
Ask and Listen
It's not enough to simply guess at your employees' pain points—it's essential to listen to what they have to say. There are two main ways to gain insight into your team's experience:
- Use a survey. Sending out a survey to all employees is a great way to get measurable data while allowing your team to stay anonymous. It also makes collecting feedback quick and easy. But while qualitative results are beneficial, it's important to ask open-ended questions as well to learn more about certain topics in more depth.
- Sit down for a one-on-one conversation. Where it's in person or virtually with your camera on, a personal conversation can really make a difference. It not only shows a level of care and commitment to making improvements, but also allows you to ask follow-up questions and really dig deep. Plus, this allows leadership to really get to know their employees, which leads to a more comfortable, trusting environment.
Do Your Research
In addition to learning your current employees' pain points, it can be quite eye-opening to learn what previous employees are saying. Reading reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Comparably can give you valuable insight into why people left, what they liked and disliked about working at your company, and how you can improve.
Get a Fresh Perspective
It can be quite useful to bring in either a management consultant or a fractional COO for some outside perspective. A fractional COO is a Chief Operating Officer that an organization brings on a part-time or as-needed basis. They can provide guidance and expertise—free from bias—as you survey employees and strive to improve their experience.
Make Changes and Continue Improving
It might go without saying, but you must take action after surveying your employees and making your initiative known. Keep in mind that this should be more than adding small perks like ping pong tables or free food—you need to address the deeper issues at hand, even if it's done in manageable steps at a time.
No matter how many changes you make, it's important to continue asking questions and listening to employees. You won't be able to please everyone 100 percent of the time, but you should always make employee satisfaction a priority. Your culture, bottom line, and business as a whole will be better for it.