We live in a world where we are all accustomed to having things our way.
Whether it’s recommended content through our streaming services, our rideshare drivers knowing how to best engage with us, or buying a can of Coke with our names on it, the fact is that we like personalization. This expectation is no different when it comes to everyone’s employee journey in the workplace.
So often, business leaders drive uniformity and sameness because they think it’s more efficient, or more manageable. Think again! We’ve fished out a few of the most common places a uniform approach to business happens, and how by thinking outside the box as a leader through a personalized approach will yield better results.
Employee Development Plans: It used to be that an employee would start in an entry-level position and work their way up to management, or higher. Now, with the emergence of the modern workforce, we’re seeing the need for personalization more and more. The employee journey is about managers being aware of how their team members define their path of professional development, and supporting them in their pursuit of that. Taking this approach versus promoting people down a pre-defined path will help you better place team members in positions that suit them, even if it’s not a leadership position. What do they want out of their experience with your organization? Maybe they are in Sales but wish to unilaterally transition to Marketing. Provide them the training to make a successful jump rather than narrowing their opportunities.
Annual Reviews: This is perhaps one of the hardest changes to make in an organization as a leader because it requires a mindset shift. We argue that organizations that evaluate their people on a scale of 1-10 through various performance questions only foster anxiety and limit the possibility of an open and honest conversation. What if reviews were based on goals that are set by the individual, agreed on by their managers, and supported by a quarterly process that keeps everyone on track? Swapping annual reviews for quarterly conversations centered around goals, aspirations, and training needs keep both managers and team members on the path to success.
Employee Recognition: Whether it’s an employment anniversary, a huge sale, or finding massive cost savings, there’s plenty of reasons to recognize our people. Many companies choose to offer a plaque, coin, or some uniform way of recognizing someone — regardless of the achievement. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if managers knew how their team members preferred to be recognized and went the extra mile to do so? Do they prefer one-on-one recognition, a modest handshake, or an office-wide email appreciating their efforts? Everyone is different. We aren’t suggesting that managers cater to their team’s every need, but instead to actively acknowledge and honor the qualities that make them vital to your organization.
What you may lose in efficiencies by personalizing the employee journey, you will gain by having team members who are more engaged in their work, feel a part of their own professional growth, and are committed to the organization as a whole. Personalization doesn’t translate to being just about the fun stuff. Using personalization where it matters triggers better results for a stronger business.
One final thing to consider: The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. If we aren’t setting the tone by creating something unique and special for our own people, how can we expect them to create something unique and special for our customers?