At the core of most successful businesses is employee experience.
Tracy Maylett and Matthew Wride, authors of The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results, believe that “every important business outcome lies downstream from the experience and engagement of the people who make the business go.” To Maylett and Wride, successful organizations don’t start with their customers, but instead, choose to focus on their employees. Happy employees lead to more satisfied customers.
And with so much unknown right now in the world because of the coronavirus, we should acknowledge the companies that are taking good care of the employees and helping out the community in its time of need.
The Moment of Truth
So after reading Willpower last month, I decided to go back and read another business book. I wasn’t quite sure how The Employee Experience would inform my day-to-day activities, as well, I don’t have any employees here at Dudefluencer. But as the coronavirus continues to cause shut-downs and affect businesses across the country, I realized that the employee experience is more important than ever.
Before moving forward, it’s essential to define what is “employee experience.” Employee experience is “the culmination of countless work-related experiences gleaned over time.” It isn’t crockpot Tuesday, or a Pac-Man arcade machine in the lounge room. Employee experience is about engagement and comes from purposeful work, respect, and trust.
One of the aspects of this book that I appreciated was their use of real-world examples throughout. Maylett and Wride utilize dozens of companies to help explain their lessons on employee engagement. If the company failed in some way, the authors make sure to highlight where they went wrong and how changing their employee experience could have avoided any issues.
But what comes across to me as the most crucial aspect in all of the employee experience is trust. The book uses the term “moments of truth” to describe how companies react when their beliefs, expectations, and implied and explicit promises are put to the test.
It is during these moments of truth that an organization’s leaders reveal how they feel about their employees, and the employee learns whether or not the company they work for will keep their promises.
Due to the coronavirus, many companies are being faced with their moment of truth, and I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight those that are stepping up to the plate and going above and beyond for their employees.
Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that one of my top five loves in life is the Western New York-based grocery chain, Wegmans. Yep, that means one of my cats is loved less than Wegmans. And probably a few family members too.
But if you’ve never had the opportunity to walk inside a Wegmans, prepare not just for grocery shopping, but a whole-body experience that will leave you speechless and your shopping cart filled. I used to go to Wegmans every Friday for a Buffalo Chicken Finger sub and a slice of pizza.
And before you ask, yes, I was single. No correlation.
I’ve been feeling more grateful for everyone who’s been working at grocery stores over the past couple of weeks. Between the constant cleaning and re-stocking of toilet paper (seriously people, stop buying so much toilet paper), these folks have become the backbones of communities. They deserve so much love and appreciation right now.
Wegmans already offers employees good health care at an affordable cost, and are known to be a great company to work for. Because of the extra work and chaos for their employees, Wegmans announced on Saturday that they were going to be giving their employees a $2 an hour raise during March and April.
In their moment of truth, Wegmans chose to show appreciation for their employees with a raise. And while the money is nothing to scoff at, it’s just as important to acknowledge that the company increased their trust equity with their employees.
A few weeks ago, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the postponement of the NBA season for 30 days. Soon after, the NHL postponed, as did MLB. By shutting the leagues down, the sports organizations potentially saved many lives because of community sharing, but also, unfortunately, caused a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the arena workers who would now be out of work for the foreseeable future.
Enter Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of ABC’s Shark Tank. While many team owners across sports have announced that they would be paying employees during the league postponements, Cuban was one of the first and got the ball rolling for other owners.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Cuban announced that the team was “making arrangements to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30 day NBA hiatus.” Event staff includes security, parking attendants, in-arena entertainers, and anyone who works at the American Airlines Center.
Cuban later tweeted out that any Mavericks employees who buy from small or local restaurants will also have their bills reimbursed. So in what could have been a stressful moment of uncertainty, Cuban made sure that his employees knew they would still be getting paid while also offering to pay for lunches/dinners and helping out small businesses.
In terms of increasing trust equity, Cuban made sure to be accomodating to an emergency and displaying an act of kindness that was soon copied across every major sports league in America.
In 2015, outdoor company REI closed its doors on Black Friday because they wanted their employees (and customers) to adventure outside. REI has been well-known for decades about how well they treat their employees, including a streak on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 23 years. Employees also receive two days off a year to go outside and adventure as well as health care and retirement benefits.
All of that is why it was no surprise that REI CEO Eric Artz announced on March 15th that all 162 REI retail stores would be closed for at least the next two weeks and that employees would be paid during that time. Artz made the difficult decision days before any other companies considered shutting down, and without a second thought made sure to let his employees know that he and the company cared about them.
Artz’s open and productive dialogue with employees goes a long way in building trust amongst the company. REI showed leadership when it came to protecting employees and their families, no matter the long-term costs to their company’s financials.
Companies to support during coronavirus
Another point Maylett and Wride introduce is the idea that employees need to believe in the company’s foundational beliefs and core values. “Your organization’s core beliefs and values are its operating system. What people believe to be true influences how they feel. How they feel influences how they think and how they think determines how they behave.” Explicit foundational beliefs lead to an apparent “Why,” as in why do I work here and why is the work I do valuable.
When faced with a moment of truth, such as the coronavirus epidemic, companies with strong foundational beliefs and employees who believe in those values are the ones who are helping fight against coronavirus.
For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to highlight one organization that’s doing great things to help with the fight against coronavirus.
Team Rubicon is a group made up of primarily first responders and military veterans who aid in disaster relief. “Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.” The company, founded in 2010, started by two former Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty, who began their work during the humanitarian crisis in Haiti after the earthquake that rocked Port-Au-Prince. Since then, the group has grown to hire numerous first responders and veterans to help rebuild homes in New Orleans, helped restore the eco-system in New York City after Hurricane Sandy, and aided in the clean-up after the fires in Sonoma County.
As coronavirus continues to change how we live our lives, Team Rubicon has announced the #NeighborsHelpingNeighbors initiative. Right now, the group of volunteers is helping deliver groceries, food, and supplies to those most vulnerable. You can check out everything they’ve been doing to help out on their map of activities.
You can donate to Team Rubicon here or click the image below.
What other companies are doing the right thing for their employees right now? Let me know in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out some of my other pieces here on Dudefluencer: