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Employee Experience (EX) as a Springboard for Growth

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Today’s journey of experience is ever-evolving and that is what makes it such an opportunity for differentiation.

As we move out of pandemic mode into something more familiar, we are visited by the Ghost of Christmas past. The economy has become a challenge, and we are all trying to find our way within supply chain shortages, rising prices, and staffing challenges.

It’s possible we need to take a step back and ask the fundamental questions:

"Why should anyone care about customer experience and how does employee experience factor in?"
  • Because experience drives sales?

  • It helps retain customers and employees– and that’s more cost-effective than finding new ones?

  • Happy customers and employees recommend you and defend you in the marketplace?

"If you provide great customer experiences you will find that your customers spend more and more often, that you retain customers instead of having to chase as many new ones, and that happy customers will recommend you to their friends and colleagues."

All of that will help your top and bottom lines.

But as most businesses are fighting for survival, they are ill-equipped to serve customers. There are struggles with recruiting that make staffing shifts a nightmare.

The answer for many has been to post a sign. You’ve likely seen them. They usually read:


Now the funny part is that the shop where I get my hair cut has been understaffed for 3 years because the managers are mean and the pay is terrible. Why would anyone work there when they can’t post a schedule on time, manipulate their tips, and never give them their breaks?

"But now they have an excuse – a crutch – a magic sign written in crayon on the front door making their incompetence acceptable."

So let’s talk about the link between customer experience and employee experience – and yes, I know you have heard this principle more and more over the past 5 years. It is generally accepted that a great employee experience will lead to great customer experiences, but no one ever talks about the how and the why.

There is a reason for that – most of the folks you read out there who talk about customer experience have never really led a team. And if they did it was decades ago for a small company that no one ever heard of.

I’m going to share with you my tactics to improve customer experience through employee engagement. This comes from decades of leading teams, developing managers, and fixing businesses that were fundamentally broken from a people perspective.

These elements are fundamental to the employee journey. Much as you can map the touchpoints your customers go through to do business with you, this is a chance to understand how employees feel about working in your business and where you might be able to take action to improve.


The foundational element of this principle is that it comes back to human beings, not robots or widgets. When you put people at the center of everything, the most amazing things are possible. That fundamental belief will give you and your team permission to think about things differently, and with intention.


The pandemic fundamentally challenged the dynamic between employers and businesses. Employers in certain sectors didn’t treat their employees very well and certainly didn’t value competitive pay, because there were more employees than jobs. And if your organization was one people fancied to have on their resumes, chances are you took even more liberties. That led to the still present staffing shortages in hotels, restaurants, and theme parks.

No one wants to work in places where you can’t get your breaks, there is no place to store your personal items, you get pestered on vacation, or never hear a thank you.

There is also a premium from employees on flexibility and autonomy, as the pandemic reinforced the case that remote work can be rewarding and productive if leaders engage their teams in the right ways.


That leads us neatly into recognition. Employees consistently share that they don’t feel like they receive enough recognition from their managers.

A Gallup Survey reported that recognizing employees about once a week was best for engagement. That is a little depressing since a survey from Authentic Recognition showed that only about 11% of employees received that much-needed morale boost each week.

Gratitude isn’t just the right thing to do, it is a business essential. What you recognize will get repeated and what better way to get your team to do the things you most want them to do. Not to mention that well-engaged employees are safer, more productive, and stay with your organization longer.


How hard or easy is it for talent to apply to your jobs? There was a thought that making it easy to apply wasn’t a good thing because you wanted folks who really “want” to work there. What a short-sited approach. You want as many people as possible to be able to easily apply to your jobs so you have the pick of the best talent.

Also, you need to balance a thorough interview process with what is reasonable.

During the pandemic, I engaged with an employer who had a 10 interview process, background check, final panel interview, and a project as a part of the process. It felt an awful lot like a company trying to get free work.

You should also be sure your ATS (Automated Tracking System) isn’t kicking qualified applicants out of your system because of resume formatting or because of system limitations. Case in point, most outplacement agencies spend an inordinate amount of time on resume formatting and keywords just to get past the bots. How much star talent are you missing out on?


As you bring new team members on board, you have a lot on the line. This is their first interaction with the organization shows how much training is valued. This is the place to be intentional and make sure new team members get off on the right foot. That means having a plan and being able to validate where a new employee is within the process.

Too often onboarding is unfocused and there is no rigor behind the new employee's journey. Think about what they need to know right away and what can be completed farther down the road.

Never let new team members arrive without the basics in hand – name badge, access cards, systems access, computer, parking, and an understanding of expectations.

Often the little things make a big difference here, such as introducing them to the team, touring them around the location, and pairing them up with a more senior employee to help them and perhaps even mentor them a bit as they come on board. You only get one chance to get this right and if you do, you’ll find that their initial performance and productivity are significantly better.

This also applies to current team members – you must keep their skills sharp through coaching and training. So take the time to make sure they have both the hard and soft skills training they need to do their jobs. This is everything from training job duties to improving their customer service skills.

Your training likely needs a dust off since most organizations didn’t put a lot of resources into development during the pandemic. Now is the time to make sure it is engaging, impactful, and easily put into action.


Once you have the right team on the ground you have to manage your team’s performance every day.

When we talk about performance management, however, it isn’t just about understanding your team’s high, middle, and low performers – it is about understanding them as individuals. This requires you dedicating time to meet with your team (or ensure that your managers do so) on a regular basis.

Understanding their struggles, their wins, and needs will help you build relationships that lead to higher quality and productivity – which are drivers of guest satisfaction and business health. Your regular touchpoints with your team give you a chance to establish a dialogue with them and then take action on their needs to make their lives easier at work. They will certainly pass that ease along to the customers they serve.


No one stays long in a dead-end job and that means providing a path for advancement (or at least change).

You will have employees who are intent on advancement and want to understand the runway to make it happen. You will also have team members who may not want to move up, but still want to be challenged with interesting new work or different roles along their current level.

No one’s career path is the same and that means understanding what your employees are looking for and how you can help them find the highest level of satisfaction within their chosen path.

Giving regular development opportunities, training, upskilling, and reskilling are all ways to accomplish this, but they are just tools. The true measure of success here is the time you take to engage your team around what they want and create personalized plans that show them a postcard from the future.

The key is to remember that people are the catalyst for your customer loyalty and your business growth. Prioritizing your team experience in a purposeful way will drive the customer experience that is crucial to your success.

4xi’s Evolving Experiences© Practice is your resource for employee experience strategies, training, and measurement. We also provide advisory services for customer experience, leadership development, and onsite coaching services.

Get in touch and see how we can help you on your Evolving Experiences journey.

Tony Johnson

Chief Experience Officer

Contact Tony today to engage him to build your CX strategy, train your front-line employees, or develop your leaders with his signature keynotes and workshops. To learn more about 4xi, you can contact Tony directly at:


4xi: Inspiring a brighter future, together.

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side creating an impact on the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.

We believe in a people-first, experience-led philosophy, whether client, employee, or guest – their experience is the fundamental foundation of success.

We work with corporations, service providers, and innovators:

  • Strategic Advisory

  • Amenities, Design & Operations

  • Customer Experience (CX)

  • Training & Development

  • Strategic Partnership & Growth

  • Innovation

  • Solutions & Support

Our Strength is in the Power of Our Collective.

4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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