It’s been said that COVID-19 and increased online shopping are the death of retail—but instead we’ve seen both brick and mortar and ecommerce businesses adapt by tailoring their shopping experience to the customer.
In the experience economy, where customers are looking to support brands that align with their own values, we've also seen how there’s “added pressure on the intangibles, including a holistic end-to-end customer experience that’s personalized and seamless across channels”.
Not only does this approach impact employees as they interact with customers, but the idea of an experience economy can also be mirrored in company values to emphasize the importance of the employee experience too.
The experience economy is about more than the transaction—it’s about anticipating the needs of the customer and creating an emotional connection.
In many ways, the customer experience should start with company culture, instilling values that—as the Harvard Business Review puts it—are not just about services delivered but also about experiences, and how these experiences are not reserved for consumer industries since “companies consist of people, and business-to-business settings also present stages for experiences”.
Under the lense of the experience culture, company culture is not only internal and limited to employees. Take for example athletic apparel retailer Lululemon, which has a company culture of wellness and fitness that permeates into their stores and marketing right down to yoga classes, creating a sense of community for both customers and employees.
Many of the same principles that apply to the experience economy also apply to the employee experience:
- Fostering a sense of community and belonging
- Determining what sets you apart from other companies—why should someone choose you over another organization?
- Figuring out what people need and how to meet those needs
- Creating a positive end-to-end experience
- Determining ways to increase engagement and retention
In the same way businesses want to foster customer brand loyalty, they should also work to foster employee brand loyalty.
Principles of the experience economy can be used to increase employee retention and overall happiness at work. Using the examples above, ask yourself what it is that you offer employees that sets you apart—whether it’s a competitive benefits package, unique employee perks, or a modern office in a central location (to name a few).
You should also ask yourself what your employees need—not just to succeed in their jobs, but to flourish—and how you can meet those needs. Because happiness at work isn’t the cause of employee engagement, it’s the result.