“PC load letter? What does THAT mean?” This is a favorite line from a classic 1999 comedy film Office Space, where an employee attempts to print a document only to see an error message flashing on the printer. He has no idea what it means or how to solve it. Spoiler alert, he steals the printer later on and brings it to a field where he and his friends proceed to beat the life out of the machine with bats. All I have to say is … that printer had it coming!
While maybe not to this extreme, it’s safe to say we all have encountered similar situations in our professional lives where we attempt to complete a necessary task only to meet roadblocks that prevent us from doing so. Add customers to the mix and the stakes go up exponentially. It all adds up over time for employees and the frustration caused by this unnecessary effort ends up transferring to the customers we serve.
At its core, unnecessary employee effort is about:
- redundancy, inefficiency, frustration, and stress
- caused by the day to day and cumulative interactions
- with customers, managers, teams, processes, policies, and the work environment
We see the most progressive companies understand and starting to act on the powerful relationship between the Employee Experience and Customer Experience. These companies have traditionally tracked and addressed employee engagement indicators to build a workforce that is empowered, engaged, and ultimately committed to their work. But to what end? Those employees are efficiently and effortlessly advancing the Customer Experience. The bottom line is CX leaders also have a role to play in improving the employee experience and in doing so, this actually benefits customers too.
So what are we up against? Our research shows a majority of employees frequently encounter unnecessary and time-consuming tasks that often prevent them from meeting customers’ needs. We surveyed over 1,000 employees across a range of industries and roles, from front line representatives to C-suite executives, and 92% of them report occasionally having to deal with unnecessarily difficult and complicated tasks. Employees themselves are well aware of the link between their experience and those of their customers. Nearly two-thirds of employees think unnecessary effort is preventing their company from consistently excelling in CX.
While CX leaders are focused—and rightfully so—on customers and their experiences, they often neglect to recognize how CX initiatives impact the employee experience. The good news is, there is no need to reinvent the wheel here! By taking it one step further and making the solid connection evident between improved customer experience and employee experience CX leaders will be that much closer to achieving optimal customer and company outcomes. The following steps initiate a virtuous circle of reduced unnecessary employee effort and an improved employee experience:
- Reduce Customer Effort
- Promote Customer Centric Employee Empowerment
- Champion Collaboration and Information Sharing
So while a bat-hitting printer destruction session may feel like an easier option in the moment, CX leaders should identify, measure, and communicate the impact of improved CX on the employee experience.
This change has the potential to build stronger relationships with other functional leaders, unlock new sources of funding, and build greater confidence in the CX strategy and function.
The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.