Engagement is a two-sided game: Why the customer journey and employee journey must be interlaced

Build a strong client-focused culture. Introduce new ways of working. Grow your people. Empower them to be agile and adaptive. Harness the potential of diversity across the organization. These are just some of the challenges your HR department faces today.

In the meantime, employees are also changing. The new generations are looking for a sense of purpose in their job: they are attracted by the brands they admire as consumers. And by choosing to be employed by a particular brand, they are signaling their values and the beliefs they stand for.

That’s why the employee experience is as critical to business performance as the customer experience. While employee engagement is often a task delegated to HR leaders, there is no reason to keep it separate from the customer engagement practice. But unfortunately, this happens.

Colleagues spending time at relaxing area at work talking to eachother

The risk is a misalignment between the promise you broadcast externally and the cultural environment you promote internally, which can create disillusion among your employees and dissatisfaction among your customers.

In other words, there is no useful distinction between an employee brand and a customer brand: they are two sides of the same coin. And “brand” is not used here by chance: brand is what can effectively align the purpose and execution of the employee journey and the customer journey.

With customer journey mapping emerging as a vital discipline for sales, service and marketing teams, all businesses can benefit from this burgeoning skill set. Here are some suggested steps:

  1. Identify the personas you want to attract and retain in your organization: What are their profiles, needs, beliefs and expectations?
  2. Involve employees in assessing their current experience and learn from competitors and category best practices. How can the employee experience be improved?
  3. Use the brand as a filter to design a differentiating employee experience. From first impressions to the application and selection process—whatever the outcome (positive or negative)—does experience convey an honest portrayal of what it will be like to work for your company?
  4. Encourage newcomers to proudly wear the team shirt. Shape the onboarding process to make your new employee feel part of something great and different.
  5. Involve managers in developing the employee journey. They know best how to place value on an employee’s contribution.
  6. Test the employee journey with employees. Does the entire process and its individual components work or can it be improved?
  7. Don’t forget the “ex.” The community of former employees and managers is of paramount importance in forging a company’s reputation. How can you keep them in the loop?
  8. Support the employee journey with rituals, symbols and stories. These are tangible manifestations of your culture that will foster belief and commitment across the whole organization—all leading to better business results over time.

Businesses need to change their approach to employee engagement by focusing first on the brand in order to develop the culture—not the other way around. They need to model brand-led behaviors around a carefully designed employee journey because beliefs are a consequence, not a goal.

Brand equity and value are no longer created just by the impact you have on your customers. More and more it’s about the impact you have on your employees—it’s about the level of engagement you have with your team.