By Naomi Simson

How experiences at work and employee connection impacts your business

The reopening of the experience economy after the Covid-19 lockdowns has been at the top of everyone’s wish lists across Australia, and it’s exciting to see that resurgence come to life in full force. The experience economy is crucial to the way businesses operate both outwardly and inwardly. It affects more than just consumers’ relationships with brands – it can impact innovation, customer service, effectiveness, efficiency, and employee retention, to name a few.

What are experiences at work?

Employee experience is more than just a HR buzzword – it’s an untapped asset for many businesses and it’s more important right now than ever. With the majority of the workforce working remotely and businesses looking to incorporate remote working into their long term plans, the desire for meaningful, connected experiences has increased exponentially.

Work is no longer a place we go, so moments need to be intentionally created to give employees the opportunity to connect with each other, and the business.

Employee experience is comprised of:

Connection:

Employees want to have a strong connection to their colleagues, managers, the company and the wider community. For example, in ‘normal’ times at BRG we would usually hold offsite meetings, weekly manager 1-2-1s, a monthly all-company meeting, a three-day annual company trip and weekly office drinks as well as other activities and celebrations.

In the current context the company comes together at least once a week for a virtual town hall meeting where everyone is encouraged to ask questions and be a part of the discussion, and we have teams coming together to connect over RedBalloon experiences like pottery and chocolate-making, all the way to yacht racing!

Meaning:

Knowing the company and the work they do has meaning and purpose and being aligned to those. In addition, employees want to be rewarded in a meaningful, personal way.

Impact:

Engagement increases when employees have the option to give back, and overall employee experience is significantly improved. Employees want to have an impact on their colleagues and community in which they live and work – giving back in meaningful ways, with the company helping employees to do so.

At BRG, we have committed to a “1% giveback pledge” where colleagues donate three working days a year to a local cause or charity which is meaningful to them, arranged by the BRG.

Appreciation:

Receiving specific, real-time appreciation for good work, from the people that matter most. At BRG we embody this through our RedBalloon for Business employee reward and recognition programs, as well as open and honest feedback.

How employee connection impacts customer experience

The way employees experience a brand – or life their working life – also has a direct link to commercial outcomes inside a business: Be that reduced turnover, increased employee engagement, client acquisition and retention, or an enhanced customer experience. This part of the puzzle completes the cycle as company culture has a direct link to the customer experience.

According to Accenture, employers who invest in a great employee experience outperform others by 122 percent on key success metrics. And with research showing it extends to customers, it affects more than just workplace culture – it impacts your bottom line too.

In fact, one study from IBM showed that companies ranked in the top 25 percent on employee engagement reported nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales compared to organisations in the bottom quartile. This creates a real competitive advantage for those businesses investing in employee engagement. They not only save on recruitment costs by retaining their top performers, but the flow on effect of delivering a great customer experience amplifies this advantage.

Millennials and experiences at work

In the past, work was a location. Today, work has shifted from a place to scattered remote spaces, and the technology shift from fixed communications to mobile communications has redefined how and where we work. The millennial generation leads by striving for deeper, more meaningful connections in the workplace, and creating the kind of work-life balance Millennials crave, is a compelling competitive advantage in the employee market.

By 2025, millennials are predicted to make up 75 percent of the global workforce. According to Forbes, “Millennials want experiences. They see opportunities everywhere and they want optionality – the ability to move in a variety of directions and pursue different learning opportunities.” A recent US study reaffirms this, finding that Millennials are willing to prioritise a better experience at work over a higher salary bracket. They will, as a whole, prioritise a meaningful career over greater financial security. And if they feel they aren’t making an impact and are not progressing, they aren’t afraid to leave. A Deloitte survey has revealed that 43% of millennials plan to leave their job within two years.

However, according to Ashley Goldsmith, Chief People Officer at Workday, “It’s not only Millennials who want optionality. We’re seeing this across all generations of employees. People are happier and more productive, regardless of age, when they are provided with more engaging work experiences”.

How we can help your business

RedBalloon for Business specialises in creating employee connection and employee engagement strategies tailored to suit any and all businesses. Our clients recognise the impact that shared experiences have on developing connection, trust and productivity in the workplace, and thereby opt to reward their people with ‘things to do’ instead of cash bonuses or material goods. And the results speak for themselves, with RedBalloon for Business recognition program clients having a 31% lower turnover rate.


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