Is your company neglecting employee experience at the expense of sustainable business growth?
According to global growth and digital transformation expert, speaker, and best-selling author Tiffani Bova, the answer is probably yes. Bova’s research shows that organizations that prioritize the experiences of their customers and their employees, grow at almost twice the rate of those that focus only on one or the other. Yet many leaders lack the skills needed to balance both successfully.
Bova leads two new ExecOnline programs designed to equip leaders with the skills they need to accelerate sustainable growth by improving employee experience (EX) in balance with a focus on customer experience (CX). In a recent interview, Bova offered insights into why these skills are imperative to succeed in today’s business environment, and how leaders can start to adopt an experience mindset. The following is excerpted from the interview and edited for length.
ExecOnline: Your new on-demand programs with ExecOnline are focused on teaching leaders to adopt an experience mindset in order to accelerate business growth. Why is this an important skill for leaders to develop today?
Tiffani Bova: The top challenges business leaders are facing today are how to retain and attract talent, and how to grow the business. Both of these things are rooted in experiences–both the experiences of your employees (EX), and the experiences of your customers (CX). How you make decisions that drive those two constituencies has long-term impacts on your ability to create a sustainable, growing business at scale.
So, how do you do that? That’s where experience mindset comes in–to help us reimagine the way we approach critical CX and EX issues today in order to grow the business and keep it healthy for tomorrow.
How does focusing on customer experience to the exclusion of employee experience compromise long-term growth?
TB: Attracting and retaining talent is one of the top three issues for the C-suite today, globally. That’s because an engaged, high-performing workforce is critical to long-term success; it’s critical to innovation, to disrupting an industry, or even building a company or organization.
Over the last 10-15 years, strong investment in customer experience has yielded great results for many companies. However, over time, hyper-focus on customer experience yields diminished returns if that focus results in your most valuable asset–your employees–burning out and turning over. For CX-driven growth to be sustainable, you leaders must focus on the people that are actually delivering and creating those experiences: employees.
The pandemic, and ensuing “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” trends illuminated for many senior executives the importance of their people, forcing them to consider more seriously “What do our employees need from our organization and from our leaders?” and “What do our customers need from our employees?”
What is the value to leaders and organizations of adopting an experience mindset?
TB: When leaders start to adopt an experience mindset, they take a more nuanced and expansive view when they make decisions about the customer–one that considers the intended or unintended consequences of those decisions on their employees. They shift away from focusing on the customer at the expense of all else, and start to focus on the growth potential in the relationship between employee experience and customer experience.
Leaders who are open to shifting their mindset in this way are seeing incredible returns. Those organizations that are able to do well on experience for employees and experience for customers see a 1.8X faster growth rate than those that get only one–either CX or EX–right. That kind of growth rate for a billion-dollar brand has a $40 million dollar impact, so if you’re even a medium or small organization, introducing employee experience into your growth strategy will pay dividends over time. That is why leaders who are effective at driving growth across both of those constituencies are performing better than those that don’t.
Gallup research shows that the percentage of satisfied employees over the last decade has remained fairly flat, with only around 28-32% reporting being satisfied at work. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, and with the rise of remote and hybrid work, employees have become pickier about where they go to work, how long they want to stay, and what they’re willing to put up with. Leaders that acknowledge this dynamic and take seriously the experience of their employees will have a much better shot at maintaining, supporting, and growing their employee base, which, at the end of the day, is what makes up the company. It is critical to ensuring long-term organizational growth, and even survival.
What are two ways that leaders can start to shift their mindset and implement employee experience focused strategies for growth?
TB: You can’t manage what you don’t measure. While many executives are very aware of metrics and indicators within their customer base, few are aware of issues in their employee base. As a matter of fact, the majority of companies don’t have anyone responsible for employee experience, and even though they’re surveying and taking in employee data around engagement and satisfaction, 76% aren’t doing anything with that information. Leaders must start by gaining more facility with the metrics and indicators that point to areas of improvement in employee experience.
Leaders can also start to focus on People, Process, Technology, and Culture. These are the four organizational levers that leaders can learn to manipulate to transform both employee and customer experience. The key to doing this effectively is to understand the specific context of your organization and what’s happening in both your employee and customer base. Every organization, culture, structure, industry, and region are slightly different, so context is key.
About Tiffani Bova
Tiffani Bova is a renowned speaker and author of the new book The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think About Growth. She is the global growth evangelist at Salesforce and won the Thought Leadership award at Gartner as a distinguished analyst and research fellow. Her previous book, Growth IQ, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller translated into ten languages. Tiffani is ranked as one of the world’s top management thinkers by Thinkers50 and a LinkedIn Top Sales Expert to follow. As host of the podcast, What’s Next! with Tiffani Bova, she has interviewed thought leaders Arianna Huffington, Tom Peters, Marshall Goldsmith, Ritz Carlton CEO Horst Schulze, and Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, among others.
Bova leads two programs offered through ExecOnline’s on-demand learning platform, “Accelerating Growth With an Experience Mindset” and “Implementing Metrics for Growth.”