— May 17, 2018
In late 2016, the talent acquisition and retention teams at Asurion realized they needed to transform the employee experience (EX) if they wanted to win their fair share of top talent. The privately-held company provides mobile protection insurance and technology warranty support services for over 300 million customer devices and appliances. They literally help people stay online and optimally productive—and that requires a lot of technology talent!
In the tech sector, the war for talent is real. We’re experiencing one of the toughest talent shortages in a long time. The amount of “time to hire” is in a seemingly never-ending rise and 68% of HR managers say they’re having trouble filling positions. Hiring managers fiercely compete for the right candidates within a very limited talent pool. Asurion needed a clear and authentic story about why a technology candidate should join and why current high-performing employees should stay at the company for their career.
Asurion leadership tapped David Marks to develop a compelling employer story, fully align the EX to stand out from the ‘sea of sameness,’ and differentiate the company from competing employers in their markets. David needed to effectively communicate that Asurion brand story to reach the high-quality talent they sought and assure that the EX was fully aligned and consistent with the promise of their story.
You may think that compensation is the keystone of a compelling employee experience. But as David learned at Asurion, increased wages might be at the top of mind for employees, but compensation is often far down the list of benefits that actually trigger behaviors to join or stay with an organization. It turns out that many of the strategies to improve EX are very cost-effective and easier to implement and sustain.
As Jacob Morgan points out in his book, The Employee Experience Advantage, there are three environments that make up any EX: cultural, technological, and physical. The cultural environment characterizes the feeling that employees get working for a company. The technological encompasses the tools and capabilities that employees use to get their work done. The physical embodies the actual spaces in which employees work.
These three environments support and reinforce each other. Some of the most interesting strategies actually exist at the intersecting points in the above graphic. Here are three quick examples of strategies to shape employee perception of the environment and improve EX:
1. Giving control and flexibility
Your employees know more about their workday essentials than you do. Even if you are a super micro-manager, you’re probably not dealing with every one of your customers every day. Your front-line employees are the face of your business. If you give them the autonomy to make decisions and hold them accountable for managing their own workload and getting results, their perception of the EX improves dramatically. Workplaces that have adopted flextime and telecommuting also score higher on EX. If you can help employees avoid grueling commutes every day, you’ll see an uptick in productivity as well. At Asurion, a customizable schedule option is a big attraction for prospective employees and it increases positivity and motivation across the business as employees feel in more control over their work lives.
2.Making strategic employee investments
While it’s easy to assume that the majority of people work solely for the paycheck, high-performance workers are increasingly looking for much more. The days of lifelong employment are long gone, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t foster an EX that reinforces personal and professional progression. The highest potential performers at Asurion view their job as an opportunity to learn, grow, and progress within the technology industry. The benefits of creating a learning culture and investing in your employees’ career progression are broad and encouraging. When staff members know that they are progressing towards a personal goal, their motivation and positivity increases and reduces any potential for stagnation and boredom. Celebrate and appreciate the achievements of your team, and they will pay you back ten-fold in performance and advocacy.
3. Assuring simplicity and clarity in roles and responsibilities
There’s nothing worse than starting a new job expecting to carry out one function, only to discover that you are actually being asked to perform an entirely different role. This is especially true in the information technology sector where Asurion competes. “Technology” is such a broad discipline and it’s difficult to find employees who are capable of high performance across a diverse IT function. Sometimes, the best strategy is to think about the problem in a different way and include a staffing capability in the EX. Tapping into on-demand staff from leading IT experts allows you to fill specific roles and special skillsets in certain areas of your IT function. This frees up your in-house staff to focus on more strategic challenges while also bringing more simplicity and clarity to your staff’s perception of their role and workload.
Much like the customer experience (CX), a compelling employee experience (EX) gives your target audience a reason to care, a reason to listen, a reason to engage, a reason to join and most importantly, a reason to stay. By aligning the cultural, technological, and physical environments with your employer brand story, you can attract and retain a high-performance team.
Read the rest of the story about the Asurion brand story and employee experience in Chapter 5 (“Telling a Story to Win Talent”) of my new book, Marketing, Interrupted. The book is written from the perspective of transformative experiential marketers at brands like Asurion, Disney, and T-Mobile. You will hear their stories and learn how they made remarkable experiences the cornerstone of their strategy and generated outsized results in the process.