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Why the Associate Experience is Important


I’m currently reading a book entitled, “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, which talks about identifying and implementing one thing that in turn makes everything else easier. As a HR professional, I immediately began to think about what this one thing could be from a company’s standpoint. To me, it’s pretty clear that if the associate experience you provide to your employees is a positive one, everything else comes much, much easier, whether that translates to sales, happy customers, or any number of things. In particular, I believe there are three areas where the associate experience is especially important. 


When you provide better and faster service to and for your associates, you increase their proficiency and what they’re able to do to complete their work. Technology enhances communication efficiency, as well as collaboration and teamwork. But you want to be careful to maintain a human experience while still providing an improved overall experience for your associates. With tech you have the ability to revolutionize the employee lifecycle! Provide options, for those disengaged with technology to your most tech-savvy associates. And last but not least, collect real-time feedback through the use of surveys and other internal communication tools so that new ideas can be presented and leadership can respond quickly.


There is no “one size fits all” solution in office environments. One important question to ask before implementing a new “trend” is if it makes sense for your business? If it doesn’t, then that idea should be discarded until (or if) it becomes timely. Another thing to keep in mind is to cater to unique work styles, and understand that workers’ needs change throughout the day. How flexible is your business and your space? Do you provide outdoor or indoor green space? Some employees like to work in enclosed spaces while others thrive in a café-like environment where there is constant foot traffic and the chance to interact with peers. Are you providing choices so associates can choose where they work based on their task at hand? It’s amazing but true that environment impacts how we act!


When we think of conveniences offered by our employers, we often think of those things that keep us at work longer than we’d sometimes like to be. I’m talking gyms, restaurants, or even coffee shops on site. But I think of conveniences as reduced distractions. What if your company provided grocery delivery, lunch delivery, or dry cleaning services? Or even standing, treadmill, and cycle desks? Multi-tasking would be at its peak! Other conveniences include alternate modes of transportation like indoor walking paths for associates when walking outside isn’t an option. You can flex your creative muscles when it comes to deciding which “perks” to provide. And finally, remember it’s important to listen to employees. Regardless of whether or not ideas are implemented there should be some action, even if it’s simply following up with the employee to explain where the company stands on that particular idea or request.

While these areas in particular are relevant for offices today, it all boils down to culture. Be consistent but flexible with your offerings and watch as employee morale soars. Then you’ll start to see everything else fall into place.

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