What is Employee Experience?

What is Employee Experience?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For several years ‘customer experience’ has been the driving force behind many business strategies that bring about product development, marketing, and all-around business culture. However, recently, there has been a shift in focus to what many are calling ‘the age of employee experience’.

Here’s what you’ll find out in this article:

  1. What is Employee Experience
  2. The importance of Employee Experience
  3. Why there has been a shift from culture to experience

 

What is Employee Experience

The rise of what we’ve come to know as ‘employee experience’ has set new demands for most businesses. An easy way to understand this fairly new concept is by saying, if customer experience relates to how we measure all communication a company has with its customers, then employee experience relates to everything the workers of a company experience – every interaction from the very first interview up until the moment they leave the company.

 

Related: All you need to know about a revolving loan

 

Employee experience goes beyond providing a great place to work. It forces companies to offer their employees a new level of support in their career and personal wellbeing, flexibility, and a plethora of opportunities.

Some key features of a good employee experience include, but are definitely not limited to;

  • Protecting and encouraging a healthy work-life balance
  • Encouraging a collaborative work environment
  • Using technical advances to minimize ‘meaningless’ tasks
  • Offering flexibility and support for individual schedules
  • A designed professional development plan to suit each employee’s growth
  • Encouraging employee autonomy and self-direction
  • Promoting an environment of purpose and meaning beyond making money

 

Related: What is a business credit facility?

 

The importance of Employee Experience

So the question on everyone’s mind is, why is it so important? According to a Forbes article, in 2019, employee experience became a ‘preeminent corporate priority’. The reason for this is partly due to the evolution of the employee-employer relationship, as well as the fact that job-hopping is more frequent than ever. All in all, there is an imminent need for companies to raise the bar when it comes to retaining employees and providing a thriving work environment for their people.

 

Why there has been a shift from culture to experience

There’s no doubt that the rising importance of “customer experience”, with its focus on empowering individuality, influenced it. Where most companies previously focused on employee engagement and company culture, recently it’s more about overall employee experience.

While company culture is still important, it’s significance is limited. Your office can be as trendy as ever, filled with table tennis areas, Friday drinks, and casually dressed staff working flexible hours – but that will only get so far. These types of perks are fast becoming the norm and probably do promote collaboration and a shared vision, but if employees are not motivated and engaged with their work, these perks are futile. Employee experience relates to the daily norms of the workplace, the bonds between team members and managers, the sense of support between everyone in the company. These are the things of real value.

 

Related: Business Funding: An overview of how SMEs can access funding in SA

 

So why should SMEs care about investing in their company’s employee experience?

Those who make a sustained investment into employees are able to retain top talent within their industries, dominate the competition, and in turn, promote higher turnover because people are motivated to do their best at every turn. According to HBR, on average, companies that invested in the experience of their employees returned over four times the average profit – despite being around 25% smaller, implying greater levels of both efficiency and creativity.

The statistics certainly back up the hype: having a positive experience is not only crucial to attracting and keeping the best workforce, but staying relevant as a business, too.

 

How to increase your business resilience

How to increase your business resilience

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There’s a very good chance that you’ve been talking about resilience in and around your business and there is a good reason why. In a 2016 survey, Control Risks explained business resilience as “an organization being able to identify, analyze, and implement planning to be better able to recover or ‘bounce back’ from disruptive events”.

Many business and managerial practices have proven that a focus on resilience is increasingly important to ‘bounce back from disruptive events’, such as a global pandemic. In this article we share insight on the following:

  • What is resilience?
  • How do you manage and measure it?
  • How do you build a more resilient business?

 

Request a callback from our Funding Specialists

 

Related: Increasing Your Business’s Resilience to Come Back Stronger

 

What is resilience?

Business resilience can be defined as an organization’s ability to predict, plan, react, and adjust to changes and disruptions in the business environment. If a company can effectively develop its resilience, it can eventually secure its ability to accomplish its goals and objectives, regardless of the unpredictable events and changes taking place.

 

How do you manage and measure resilience?

Traditional management methods have some significant drawbacks that make it difficult to assess and achieve resilience:

  • Many conventional companies have been designed to increase shareholder value from dividends and share value. Very few organizations really aim to calculate resilience beyond particular material threats.
  • Companies and shareholders also concentrate on optimizing their short-term returns. However, resilience requires a multi-time perspective: to forgo a certain amount of productivity or success now for the sake of more sustained performance in the future.
  • Businesses have focused primarily on designing and implementing stable strategies that perform well when the causal relationship is simple, predictable, and unchanging. Resilience deals with what is uncertain, changeable, unpredictable – which although can have serious implications.

Managing resilience requires more than just coming up with new ideas or resources to apply to today’s approaches. It needs a different business model – one that embraces complexity, uncertainty, interdependence, systems thinking, and a multi-time scale perspective.

 

Related: How to write the perfect business plan

 

How do you build a more resilient business?

There are 3 major areas through which resilience can be enhanced:

Leadership and strategy – Building a resilience vision starts with the identification and awareness of vulnerabilities and an overview of the possible effects of these vulnerabilities on the business.

Operations – Operational resilience can be improved by recognizing possible crises that might affect the business and rating these threats against the effect they will have and then implementing a risk reduction and management plan.

People – Employees and their expertise are essential to the organization’s resilience. Investing in the workforce is the only path forward. Ability levels, turnover of workers, work satisfaction, training, and learning opportunities should be closely controlled. Ensuring that people are involved in the change program, and keeping them motivated, will yield rewards for every business.

 

Let’s not forget, many businesses already take on some form of risk management but mostly to understand the effects of specific, known risks. Your business’s resilience should also be to deal with unknown risks, be able to adapt and change any external stress, and possibly turn it into an opportunity to succeed.

5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We all understand that growth is essential for any business. With that said, we also know that growth isn’t easy and many organizations struggle to find growth areas that work for them.

If you’re currently struggling to grow your business or are looking for new strategies, we want to inspire you. Here are our top 5 growth areas for you to incorporate into your 2021 business plan:

  1. Sales & Marketing Alignment
  2. Customer Experience
  3. Digital Transformation
  4. Data-driven Transformation
  5. Training

Request a callback from our Funding Specialists

 

1. Sales & Marketing Alignment

If you want to see effective results, your sales and marketing teams should not be working in silos. When you align these two areas, you enable our business to increase conversion rates, generate higher revenue, and retain more customers through streamlined sales and marketing funnel.

A collaborative sales and marketing team will not only convert more leads but also generate higher quality leads too. When a strong sales team informs the marketing team on what a ‘good quality lead’ looks like, they’re far more likely to find them.

 

2. Customer Experience

You may think you understand your customers but you still have to constantly ask yourself, “How well do I really know my customer?” because, as we know, people are ever-changing.

In order to retain your customers, you have to constantly put them first. You can do this by understanding what it is they enjoy about your brand, and what they don’t. Focusing on creating a memorable and positive customer experience goes beyond just making the sale. Having a follow-up journey and personalized added extras will show your customers that you value their business and will go the extra mile to keep them coming back.

 

Related: A quick guide to Bridging Finance

 

3. Digital Transformation

2020 showed us that we live in a time of a full-scale digital revolution. If it’s not online, is it really there?

The power of technology has allowed any type of business to seamlessly fit into our lives. Going digital has also made it easier for businesses to simplify and streamline their internal processes for a more efficient way of working. For example, using online tools to store your data like accounting or human resource documents can free up your time and physical space to do more.

 

4. Data-driven Transformation

The great thing about the digital age is that most of the data you need is readily available at your fingertips. However, the biggest factor that should inform any decisions you make within your business should be based on customer feedback.

Using data from sources such as your cancellation feedback, customer reviews, and even your customers’ behavioral patterns on your website to inform what changes you need to make to your products and services, will add greater value to the growth of your business than a decision made by one person.

 

Related: Gear up your business for growth

 

5. Training

Ongoing training is essential to the growth of any business and should always be a focus area year after year. Whether it’s technical training for machinery, customer service, or sales training, any form of educational improvement will spark new life into the quality of work your team pushes out. And it will show in your profits too.

By investing in your people, you’re directly investing in your business as well.

As we go into the new year, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the game and plan for success as far as possible. Use our 5 growth areas to kickstart your 2021 business projects with a bang.

Tips to boost your eCommerce sales on Cyber Monday

Tips to boost your eCommerce sales on Cyber Monday

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If your business is gearing up for Cyber Monday then you already know that your deals should be too good to resist. Whether you have a physical store or sell your products exclusively online, setting up for a Cyber Monday special is a crucial part of driving sales during the festive season. 

If you don’t have an online store yet, fear not. It’s not too late. Here’s a guide on how you can set one up.

 

While eCommerce giants like Takealot, Superbalist, Zando, and others might get the most media publicity around Cyber Monday and Black Friday, it does not mean they are the only players in the game. With a little planning, smaller retailers can implement strategies to have profitable sales on Cyber Monday. 

 

Here’s our list of 5 tips to help boost your Cyber Monday sales: 

  • Start with an epic Cyber Monday offer
  • Don’t forget to advertise
  • Create a worthwhile experience for your customers
  • Make sure you close the sale
  • Secure a lifelong customer

 

 

  1. Start with an epic Cyber Monday offer

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Report, 95% of shoppers say that price discounts are the most appealing promotional offer, followed by free shipping and gifts. A great strategy here is offering a further discount on Black Friday offers or new discounts on specific items. These should be items or services that are already popular so you can almost guarantee a couple of sales. 

 

 

  1. Don’t forget to advertise

Whether you’re using pamphlets, social media, or even word-of-mouth, you have to advertise your offers so people know about it. With it being CYBER Monday, you’ll want to put more focus on your digital marketing efforts. This is the one place gift-givers and avid shoppers look for inspiration.

 

 

  1. Create a worthwhile experience for your customers

Now that you’ve got customers on your site (or in your store), you have to make sure they have a pleasant shopping experience. Optimizing your website for mobile is key to attract customers who are able to shop anywhere and anytime, or might not have access to a desktop. Remember to be on standby to manage the spike in traffic to your site. The last thing you want is to lose a sale because your site crashed. 

 

 

  1. Make sure you close the sale

Getting customers to ‘Add to cart’ is only half the job. Getting customers to check out is what seals the deal. Make sure your promotional prices are clear for each item or service. If there are extra charges such as taxes and delivery fees that come up at check out, customers may abandon their carts.  It should also be clear to shoppers where they need to enter any promotional codes. If you can, add a cart total somewhere on your pages, that runs as the shoppers add to their cart so they know how much they will pay. 

 

 

  1. Secure a lifelong customer

While some Cyber Monday customers may be new to your site, this is a great opportunity to make sure they come back. If they have a seamless shopping experience, followed by great (but not suffocating) customer service along with it, they’re most likely to return. You should also plan to follow up with your new customers shortly after their first purchase to ask them about their experience and strengthen that relationship.

 

Cyber Monday is a great way to boost your online sales in time for the holidays. If you are able to plan ahead and work your strategies well, you’re sure to see success.

Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone who is in the retail business or has previously owned a retail store of any kind will tell you that Black Friday – and the festive season as a whole – is the best time to grow your sales. 

And the numbers certainly don’t lie. A Geopoll survey showed that over the last three years, Black Friday shopper numbers have grown by an extensive 16 percentage points.

Despite South Africa’s slow economic growth over the years, consumers are still interested and willing to spend money – especially when there are major savings involved.

However, you can’t be too confident because your competitor knows this as well – and they will surely have a few tricks up their sleeves to cash in on the busy buying season. With this in mind, it’s always important to have a great marketing campaign that is unique to your brand in order to stand out from the crowd and bump up your sales.

 

Related: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Prepare For Black Friday

 

Here are a few of our top tips for marketing your business for Black Friday.

1.Have your sale for longer

Extending your sale or savings period further than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday window will give you more opportunities for sales. Yes, we’ve seen this tactic many times before [How many businesses start promoting their Christmas promos in October?] This is the perfect time to get creative.
Using comedy, emotive language, and familiar faces or trends to lure customers will definitely re-engage the stragglers who might be holding off for a better deal.

 

2. Say yes to in-app offers

Mobile eCommerce is definitely where it’s at – whether it’s on a mobile site or an app. Most consumers are glued to their devices anyway, so offering a mobile-only saving is definitely a plus.
However, you have to be very clear in your messaging that deals on offer are specifically for mobile-only and will not be available in store. This provides your mobile-first audience with a sense of exclusivity, but it also allows you to easily track which – and how many – of your customers came to your site via push notification or email.

You can also use this time to remind your customers that shopping online saves them a lot of time and frustration during the #BlackFriday rush.

 

3. Make a gift guide

The festive season is a time for giving, and creating various gift guides for your customers using products they can buy from your business makes you stand out as a convenient store of choice.
This is also a great way to attract customers outside your normal target audience who are looking to purchase gifts for their friends and family.

A smart way to do this is to group your products first by your most overarching customer segments, then get more specific within each of these categories. For example, gifts for men, women, and children, and even colleagues.

 

4. Let your buyers shop ‘guilt-free’

While some shoppers are very clearly focused on the #BlackFriday specials for items they want for themselves, we should not forget that some people might also have the ghost of Christmas upon their shoulders to ‘do the right thing.’
So why not offer the best of both? Creating a donation option at payment is a great way to do this. This way, both your customers and a charity of your choice gets a little something – and you clean up. It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

5. Everyone loves a giveaway

Since it’s the season of giving, a little thank you to the customers that shop at your store will go a long way. The chance to win a great collection of goods from your store just for shopping during your #BlackFriday or #CyberMonday specials will keep the customers coming back.

 

Related: 5 Ways to support local businesses this Heritage Month

Even though you should leverage Black Friday and the festive season as an opportunity to increase sales and make your business some extra cash, you should not forget the complete customer journey. Sometimes, the most wholesome and effective approach is to stick to what your customers love while adding an extra saving on the goods they love.

If you’re in need of funds to make the most of your #BlackFriday sale this year, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering you a repayment holiday until January 2021 if you apply for funding before 30 November.

Check out more on this exclusive Lulalend offer here.