Personalizing the employee experience

Why you need to personalize the employee experience

People and Culture

There's been a lot of talk about the benefits of personalizing the customer experience. From increasing conversion rates, to improving support metrics, to better customer loyalty and lifetime value, personalization is critical to becoming — and remaining — a brand of choice.

But, what about personalizing the employee experience? To attract, engage and retain top talent, it's vital to ensure that your team members don't feel like just another number or cog in the wheel.

There are a variety of different approaches to personalization in the workplace. Taken together, they form a potent combination that drives a more engaging experience for employees. Importantly, the well-documented benefits drive increased innovation driving customer satisfaction and sustained top-line growth.

Connecting with the community through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

A personal connection to your company's mission and values results in greater employee engagement. And, there is perhaps no better opportunity to build that relationship than by giving team members a chance to make a difference in the communities where they live, work and raise their families.

For example, TELUS Days of Giving (TDOG) is a hallmark volunteer initiative where thousands of TELUS International team members join together for a common cause in their communities. Working side-by-side, team members have built schools in Central America, planted forests in Eastern Europe, constructed entire villages for the homeless in the Philippines, and more. This year, because so many countries are still issuing shelter-in-place orders, many TDOG activities have moved to a virtual or remote format including volunteer opportunities to sew face masks or medical gowns, or help with food bank pick-ups and grocery drop-offs.

Giving team members a chance to be part of something meaningful is often rewarded with ongoing commitment and loyalty. In fact, a study by Benevity found that attrition drops by an average of 57% among employees deeply connected to their companies' giving and volunteering efforts.

Leveraging technology for a personal approach

Tech-based tools are an important component of a personalized employee experience because of how they can empower team members to customize learning opportunities or training sessions through self-serve options, and make it easier overall for them to work effectively and efficiently. For instance, conversational bots can help employees perform simple password resets and find answers to HR-related FAQs, rather than forcing them to wait on hold for help from an IT service desk.

At the same time, tools like robotic process automation (RPA) can remedy repetitive workflows allowing for customer service agents, back-office staff and other employees to focus on more complex transactions, leading to higher engagement and satisfaction with their work. The key, however, is to ensure any technology implementation is integrated holistically, with careful consideration of the people and process implications.

Technology has also been instrumental to enabling many people to remain employed and working remotely during these past few months since the onset of COVID-19. As we continue to navigate through the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, tech tools and cloud solutions have been critical to retain some semblance of normalcy during what has been a life-altering time.

Continuous learning and development

Beyond facilitating day-to-day work, companies also have an incredibly important role to play in supporting the personal and professional development of their team members. Given the fact that not everyone learns in the same manner, which is particularly true among the disparate age demographics present in today's workplaces, personalization in this area is key.

Great employers offer a mix of options so that every individual can get the most out of their training program. For a growing number of brands, gamification can offer an engaging way to encourage and promote active learning. Rather than staring at a PowerPoint in a large training session with dozens of coworkers, imagine competing head-on in a virtual world as an avatar of yourself. Correct answers increase your score in the game and top performers can even receive rewards.

In addition to personalized job training, it's also a good idea to provide team members with options to develop their skill sets beyond their every day tasks. Remote or continuous education, special interest groups and language classes can all serve to help create a personalized employee experience.

Inspiring workplaces

Beyond specialized program offerings, personalization can extend to work facilities. For example, TELUS International team members had the power to vote on themed meeting rooms and rest areas in their workplaces. Instead of eating lunch or holding a meeting in a drab room, they can enjoy time surrounded by the ambiance of The Simpsons, Game of Thrones, and Super Mario-inspired work spaces, among many others.

There are other unique facility features including medical clinics, on-site daycares, roof-top soccer pitches and more that team members can access to better meet their personal well-being needs.

Inclusion and diversity

Now, more than ever, we are more aware of the importance and need for diversity and inclusion in our workplaces. Employee groups and formalized diversity and inclusion programs should be integral to every company looking to give their employees a sense of belonging, both within their teams and throughout the greater organization.

Moreover, we know diversity improves business outcomes broadly. In fact, culturally and ethnically diverse management teams enjoy nearly 20% higher innovation revenues than their less diverse counterparts.

In contact centers, agents are likely to talk to people from all over the world. How they themselves are treated in the workplace can influence their interactions with customers. That's why diversity and inclusion training, as well as forming a culturally diverse team, are critical - both to employee well-being and to the company's bottom line.

Encouraging employees to start interest groups and diversity clubs to connect with one another and drive internal initiatives can help members of underrepresented groups feel seen and heard. The same goes for special interest groups where employees can express their creativity and uniqueness.

Importantly, companies should have regular formal and informal check-points with employees as their needs will evolve over time. What's meaningful today may be obsolete the next. Company-wide surveys and one-on-one conversations can keep leaders in tune with those shifts and help them best determine what areas to fund. But, at the end of the day, employers who invest equally in personalizing their employee experience as they do their customer experience stand to reap significant rewards.

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