Last May, Forbes asked several clients and CMOs a simple question: “What is standing in the way of you achieving your brand goals and ambitions this year?” The top response was, in my opinion, surprisingly employee-centric — the notion that if employees don’t buy into their company’s brand promise, they won’t be able to deliver a great Customer Experience (CX)… and in turn, they’ll fail. This is exactly what we’re talking about at Appirio when we talk about the Virtuous Cycle:
Job flexibility over money and promotions
You simply can’t deliver a game-changing, competitor-trumping CX without cementing a mission and creating a culture your workforce can get behind. When it comes down to it, millennials — the new majority of the American workforce we can’t stop writing about, catering to, and scratching our heads over — have simple wants. Workers between the ages of 25 and 34 stay at a job for an average of just 3 years. For millennial women, this relatively speedy turnaround is largely due to 3 things: lack of advancement opportunities, poor culture (in many cases, this means a subpar or nonexistent work-life balance), and inadequate parental leave policies.
While many companies don’t have the means to offer several months of paid leave for new parents or provide on-tap cold brew in the breakroom, every company can and should provide a collaborative, flexible work environment. While older generations care about flexibility, it’s millennials that are leading the way in making job flexibility a top priority.
According to PwC’s study on millennials at work, many millennials prioritize flexibility over more money and promotions. Companies need to create a culture in which people can congregate, share ideas, and have access to the best technology with which to better serve customers — not simply throw higher pay or free snacks into the mix and call it a day.
Build the brand you want to see in the world
To that end, companies like In-N-Out and Starbucks (companies you wouldn’t normally associate with an employee-centric company culture) have more in common with tech giants like Google and Airbnb than you’d think; all 4 companies have helped set the standard for great company culture and an exceptional CX; not to mention the fact that not all 4 come equipped with massage chairs and on-campus bowling alleys.
The one thing each of those companies have in common is that they understand how their Worker Experience affects the way their brand is perceived by the rest of the world. They buy into the very real brand ambassador power employees hold — if given a Worker Experience that empowers them to spread the word about the company culture. Today, people want to work for companies that walk the walk. Hopefully it’s no surprise to hear that these are the same companies they want to do business with — companies that promote transparency and genuine concern for their brand from the inside-out.
Consider this: If your employees buy into your mission, the style and schedule of work, and the products/services you provide, it’s easy for them to provide a more authentic, engaging CX. Every employee is also a customer, and as such, they recognize the need for companies to treat every worker just as they would a valued customer.