Employee Experience STarts at the Beginning

If you want to frustrate your best new employees, I have a foolproof way. 

Be unclear on your expectations.  

Frustrated new employees rarely develop into high-quality long-term team members who contribute to a remarkable customer experience. So those first impressions of the work and how they go about it are crucial. 

The good news is that it’s an easy problem to fix. More on that below.  

The reason that a lack of clarity is so serious is that the expectations gap is one of the biggest killers of the employee experience. The expectations gap is: they thought the job was going to be this, and it turns out it’s that.  

Or they know what they’re supposed to be doing, but success isn’t clearly defined for them. 

They never know if they’re meeting your expectations or not. They don’t know if they’re being successful or not. It’s one of Pat Lencioni’s three signs of a miserable job: Immeasurement. 

One of the best ways to fix this is through a job scorecard.  

Not a job description – a scorecard. There’s a difference.  

A description is often a vague collection of adjectives that sort of point in a general direction but are open to interpretation. Or misinterpretation. 

A scorecard is specific with measurable goals and key performance indicators. It lays out the mission for the job, the duties that person will perform, and how success will be assessed. 

Because all good employees want to know the score. They want to know if they’re winning. 

This is a proven tool to develop the kind of team that can help you grow your business. 

Don’t let your vision get blurry

Culture.

Think about that word for a moment. We put a lot of stock in that word, from world politics to your back door.

Yet, it’s unspecific. When it comes to your culture — that collection of relationships and policies and rules and habits and norms that are your business — we need more guidance.

What is your culture and how do you define it?

At FiveFour, we think it starts with a basic idea. What is your vision? What is that big idea that defines who you are and who you hope to be? If you can’t express a vision in a concise phrase, how can you expect your employees to understand it?

That’s just one of the aspects of your business we’ll explore in our Experience Gap Analysis, which you can take here.

We find that as companies grow, the early passion and vision of the founders frequently gets blurred. It’s no longer being communicated to the teammates on the front lines. Communication is filtered through layers of management. The byproduct is often disengaged employees, disgruntled customers and stalled growth.

Culture is where we started with A&B Business Solutions, an equipment, service and supply company that has grown to 120 employees spread over 15 locations in five midwestern states. They wanted to improve employee engagement and customer loyalty.

FiveFour was the ideal partner to achieve those goals, says Amanda Odegaard, the company’s vice president of operations and human resources.

“FiveFour’s partnership in defining our culture and communicating our message throughout the organization was superb. It is refreshing to see the results with clear expectations in how we work together and with our customers.”

Improving communication has improved the employee connection to the vision and goals of A&B Business.

“The shift of the attitude of the people internally, I would say has been the biggest change,” says Odegaard. “With that change in attitude there are more positive conversations happening. That’s the biggest transformation that has occurred and that’s across the company not just in small groups.”

The great companies in our world have great vision statements.

Apple: Make a dent in the universe.

Coca Cola: Refresh the world.

Instagram: Capture and Share the World’s Moments.

It’s tempting to say, they’re just a few words. But it’s the intention behind them, the drive and the desire that make them great. They are guiding statements that transcend goals and quarterly reports and keep purpose in focus.

And this is important: They are succinct. You can remember them.

Our vision at FiveFour is, “The Battle for Better Business.”

We live it every day. Because business is a battle. Somebody is always trying to tempt your customers and cut your market share. To win the battle, you must have great troops. These are the people who will go into that battle with you every day and give their best.

That’s a culture of success.

Which brings us back to the word again – the amorphous culture.

Maybe this is true, it’s up to you to define it. We helped A&B Business and we would love to see if we can help you. The first step is to take our assessment and find out.

Note: this is the second of five posts talking about what we do at FiveFour. You can read the first one here. Stay tuned for the other three.