Eventprofs Experience…Who Cares?
Customer experience is key to event success. Understanding how well our event has gone down is critical to driving how we develop that event in the future. Re-booking rates are a clear measure of success and an obvious indication that the event has hit the mark with its audience. But what of those behind the scenes? Those who have worked tirelessly, against the clock to make it all happen. What are their scores?
Is there any compelling reason to not want to know how your employees experience working for you?
Whenever I ask the question, the answer is a resounding, no! None whatsoever. And, yet, who among us has put the question, ‘How do you feel about working for us?’ to our employees in the last 12 months?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, it seems that employee engagement surveys aren’t highly regarded in the industry. Why not? Maybe, because we think we know the answer, or we believe we are already doing great? Maybe, because we don’t want to hear the answer? Or, because we have no intention of doing anything, no matter what the answer? Maybe, there is concern that if we ask how employees feel, we will open a can of worms that we won’t be able to handle? Our dirty washing hung out for all to see! Oh no, what will the neighbours think?
What does NOT asking the question say about us as an employer?
We’ll come back to that point later. Firstly, let’s look at what asking the question does for us as an employer.
Attracting talent is a key issue for the industry, and the future on the demographic front is looking bleak. The best talent will seek out the best companies. The ability of an organisation to attract that talent is determined by its reputation – I’m talking about its brand image as an employer, not as a provider of experiences.
This isn’t just about compensation and benefits either. We know that culture, management styles, working practices, flexibility, work and role-based authority, quality of work, and growth potential are all key factors that determine both attraction and retention, and remember we need to be ticking the sustainability boxes too. Asking the question of employees gives us data that can support our reputation and enhance our brand image.
The first impressions a talented candidate has of you (because they will have done their homework) will determine whether they elect to meet you. If you are blessed and a great candidate allows you to speak to them, then your recruitment processes will be their next point of assessment. Lengthy procedures, inadequate feedback and shifting the financials, paints a picture of what it is like to work for you, and leads the talent instantly towards the next watering hole…where the grass is definitely greener. Have you asked your employees how they found your recruitment and onboarding process?
A lot of effort goes into selling your events to potential customers; how much effort goes into selling your brand to potential employees?
So, you’ve attracted the best, got them through your front door and successfully managed to embed them into your business…or at least you think you have. Let’s not be deceived though! Those early days, weeks and months, in a new role can be exciting, enticing and tick a lot of boxes – ‘more money than my last role’, ‘lots to learn’, ‘everyone’s friendly’, ‘the industry is exciting’. But over a short time, and into the second year and the picture has already shifted. Everyone is busy, learning has stalled, the money isn’t worth the stress, and more to the point, no one seems to care!
‘People change once they get past probation.’
I have heard this said a number of times. Actually, people in the organisation change towards new recruits following their probation! And, damn that dirty laundry swinging from the line inside the building. The talent is now fully established and can see the white elephant in the room as clearly as if it were pink and flying around the desks.
Keen to help improve the way the business does business, these enthusiastic, talented people might have already stopped offering creative solutions and stopped working all the hours God sends. If you’re lucky they may begin trying to stick plasters on failing elements of the business, if not, they may have just given up already. But who knows how they feel, because we’re too scared to ask the most obvious question?
Not asking the question, in the face of obvious discontent will see talent leave faster than the recruitment processes that brought them into the business. If you cared, you would hear the air leave their lungs, as they begin to breathe again having left your building. And, to top it all, you are left, stuck, with those who are stuck with you! And then…you begin the cycle again.
If talented people are leaving your business, it is time to ask the question… How do you feel about working for us?
Apparently, 94% of what we worry about, never happens. We will be able to handle the responses we get from disgruntled employees. The picture is never as rosy or as dire as we might first think. Most employee engagement surveys reveal issues that can be solved with better communication. And, the act of giving employees a voice, listening to what they have to say, and actively engaging with them to improve their experience of working for you, doesn’t have to be all consuming, financially crippling, or cause any further pain. On the contrary, the pain is already being felt, remember, and it’s already impacting your business – silently, like cancer, it spreads, infiltrates working practices, commitment and passion. Like therapy, expression is a cathartic act that will go a long way to help give the impression that you really do care.
Great employers know this. Great employers keep asking the question, and commit to a process of continuous improvement. Like anything that causes our adrenaline to pump and our nerves to jangle, once we have taken the leap the future will be brighter. Shining a light on that dirty washing, we can see where to apply detergent to get the best results. And suddenly, the pink elephant will amble triumphantly through our offices for all to see – and maybe even take a ride on!
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