Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Comparative Peek into the Employee Experience

Another hat tip to Mark Hurst of Good Experience for this link. [If you don't subscribe to his excellent Good Experience email newsletter, you really should. They are simple, relevant, and always insightful. Sign up here.]

Working for Happiness
Some workplaces are happier than others. Journalist Alex Frankel tried to discover why. Link

"In what became a two-year adventure through the world of commerce, I served as a driver's assistant at UPS, poured coffee at a busy Starbucks cafe, folded garments at Gap, rented cars for Enterprise, and sold iPods at an Apple Store.

Though my mission was primarily to study modern workplace cultures—reporting that turned into my 2007 book, Punching In—I came away with an appreciation for the roots and benefits of on-the-job happiness."

Especially interesting is the comparison Frankel makes between the focus of employees of the Apple Store and Gap:

"At chief duty was to fold clothing that had been unfolded by customers, a Sisyphean task. Sisyphus, you might recall, was condemned by the gods to keep rolling a boulder up a hill for eternity. And that's just what working at Gap felt like: an eternity.

In contrast, work at the Apple Store was set up so you were focused on accomplishing goals, not filling up time. At Apple, most product layout was left to one 'visual merchandiser' who was passionate about keeping the store neat, leaving others like me to interact with customers, share information, and be ourselves instead of following a script."

Even in this short vignette, one gets a good understanding of the impact the Employee Experience has on the Customer Experience.

Who would you rather be helped by: an employee trapped in the drudgery of their work, or one free to improvise and focus on YOU, the customer?

Alex Frankel is author of Punching In: One Man's Undercover Adventures on the Front Lines of America's Best-Known Companies.

Here's a video teaser:

Alex Frankel's Web site:

Book links: Amazon | Google Books (w/ "Find in a library")

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