The Employee Experience Is As Important As the Customer Experience

Editor’s Note: It’s an annual tradition for TLNT to count down the most popular posts of the previous 12 months. We’ll be reposting each of the top 25 articles between now and January 2nd. This is No. 18 of 2016. You can find the complete list here.

First of all I just want to say thank you for this amazing opportunity. I have learned a lot and I am still learning. The past 5 months have been life changing. By working here it has really boosted my self-confidence and gave me the courage that no matter what size I am, I can do anything. I just want to thank you for being patient with me and not getting upset when I make a mistake and for working with me step by step. I am so grateful; I love coming to work every day. Thank you for everything. XXXXXX is my 2nd home.

The manager who shared this with me was in tears as she told me the story. This was an employee that she said “she took a chance on.” She told me that in 5 months on the job this worker has out worked and out hustled all the others on the team. Although being paid little more than minimum wage, she is thankful for her new job.

Diamonds in the rough

As I read this I thought of the numerous times we have interviewed people and, by all instincts, we decide not to move forward. However, there are times when we decide to take a chance because something just tells us that this is someone who needs a chance. One opportunity is all that is needed to turn someone’s life around.

We all know people who have been downsized for whatever reason. I had one friend who was in a dying industry and had the title of vice president. He got so desperate after being unemployed for over a year, he was applying for administrative assistant type roles. I told him no one would hire him for this role because they know he is just looking for work. As soon as a more appropriate role comes along he’d be history. They knew he was just looking for a holding pattern till the right thing came along.

If the shoe was on the other foot

But on the other hand, there is a lot of discussion today about quality of hire. We have some variation of the 3/6-month probation period. What if we were to turn that on its ear and our employees could rate us as an employer? Would the honeymoon period still be on?

I have always advocated that all managers have this vital discussion, conducting stay interviews at the end of probation periods. We as managers have our say, so why not afford that same opportunity to our reports? Of course, this discussion would take place as a conversation and not an interrogation. How many of our people would take the time to pen a note thanking you and your company for employment?

The employee experience

As we struggle with the “employee experience” as well as the customer experience, it should give us pause because both are the same. Organizations would gladly receive this type of note from a customer. Those types of testimonials are framed, applauded and talked about. It should be the same with our employees.

While the vast majority of employees would not become word poets extolling the virtues of their place of employment, it is heartening to read this type of note from an employee, just stating how happy they are to work and thanking this manager for the foresight in “seeing something” in her.

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While I have been managing people a long time, I have never had the honor of having an employee send me a note. I am grateful that my friend sent it over because she knows that this is my “kind of action,” as she said.

We as managers play an important role in people’s lives. We must never forget that. They spend possibly more time with us than they do with their families. We must strive to make that experience as fruitful as possible.

Do this not as some corporate edict. Nor do it just because it is the right thing to do. Everyone we deal with is someone’s sister, brother, wife, husband or child and I am sure you would want the same for your loved ones.

Managers leave accomplishments; leaders leave people transformed through love and character.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.