I had the pleasure of spending some time speaking with Gravity Speakers Exclusive, Mark Levy, about the work he is doing in employee experience. Mark is a pioneer in EX with his work at Airbnb and has been showing organizations what is possible when you empower employees and rethink HR.
Creating an Employee-Centric Environment
It all starts at the top. I have often said that people underestimate the value of leadership in business. If the leadership of an organization has the wrong goals, they will win at losing. The Milton Friedman mindset of businesses having only one responsibility – to increase shareholder value – doesn’t create businesses that can survive in this ever-changing and competitive environment. It creates short-term thinking that is void of key stakeholders like customers and employees. Mark teaches the value of creating an employee-centric environment that pushes value back into the organization and ultimately back out to the customers.
Success is made of many parts. Much like customer experience, employee experience requires a holistic approach and some deep understanding. Curating a culture isn’t about money as much as it is about thoughtfulness and effort. Modern employees want to feel valued, appreciated, part of something bigger, and they want to contribute in a meaningful way. To facilitate this requires leaders to change the way they think about leading an organization. Leaders are now tasked with designing an employee-centric environment that will let employees be fulfilled at work which has a multitude of benefits within the organization.
Employees are Not a Commodity
When your products are just products and your employees simply serve a function, your brand will never become bigger than your product. With the rise of AI and technology, many are concerned about the humanity of the future of work. This is fueled by the old thinking of employees being functional task doers. Who employees are and the value they represent through their contributions and potential contributions is so much greater than the tasks they perform. Mark does an amazing job of showing organizations of all sizes and across industries how to put humanity back into their business. Talent is a differentiator for businesses that want to thrive in the future. The potential value and the realized value of an employee is the new conversation. I love Mark’s vision and commitment to helping HR evolve into what it could and should be, and it just so happens… it is also great for business.
Empowering Brand Resonance
If your brand doesn’t resonate, it isn’t relevant. A brand can’t resonate with customers when the internal creators, managers, and storytellers don’t resonate with the brand. All stakeholders are interconnected. Technology and mobile have created more connected businesses and that has fueled digital transformation, but technology is only one way to connect an organization. In our conversation, Mark said something that was profound. He said, “Belonging is connection.” We often think about inclusion and diversity as belonging but it is really about connecting. A connected organization increases its ability to push value to the customer. When employees are part of something bigger and they have clarity of their contribution to the brand, your brand starts to become amplified and your organizational culture starts to add value to the brand. Once your whole organization drives value into the brand, it starts to resonate with customers. This is the secret sauce of great brands and amazing organizations. Customers can feel the thoughtful contributions of everyone at the company.
Unearthing the potential of human resources requires tools, leadership, and guiding principles. Before the potential of an organization can be expressed you have to create an environment of trust and connection. There is a big difference between “performing tasks” and “contribution”. When a team, store, or brand is filled with people willing to contribute their best, the organization can grow, take on new challenges, and innovate. The current business environment is so desperate in its need for these and yet very few have any kind of plan or strategy to cultivate employee contribution. Mark does an amazing job of teaching any industry how they can close that gap and start to develop a positive employee experience.
Delivering Brand Value
Employees are the DNA of brand experiences. From design, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and customer service employees are touching and impacting the value delivered to the customer at every moment from creation to delivery. With all the focus on technology to deliver customer experiences, it is still the human interactions that leave lasting impressions and create real brand relationships. Technology will continue to enable organizations, but people will generate value. As brands realize technology alone won’t transform the customer experience, they are turning to their people to make the difference. Mark can help your organization understand the value of designing strong and inclusive company cultures and also deliver the tactics to create amazing employee experiences that will deliver the highest level of brand value to both external and internal customers. Book Mark for your next event today!