Ep #18: What is Your Employees’ Experience?
What do your employees say about working for you? Do they say “she’s a beast” or do they say “I feel like I won the lottery”? Here are some things to consider when thinking about your employees’ experience of working with you.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- If you treat your employees like you treat your clients, you’re going to get the most out of them.
- Think about who you are as a leader and how you act with your employees.
- How do you want them to experience various things like a performance review, getting an assignment or not meeting an expectation?
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
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Hey everyone, I’m Kris Plachy and this is How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs and Founders because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello. Hello. Welcome. Welcome gorgeous. Thank you for tuning in today. Today I want to talk to you about the employee experience and I’m, you know, always coming at this from I think a slightly different perspective.
You know, there’s obviously like in the corporate space, there’s all sorts of talk about employee engagement and the employee experience and all the things.
But I want to really have you think about this because I know the majority of people who listen to my podcast you’re not managing 187 people. Some of you are. Most of you have smaller teams.
What I have noticed is that when we have our business, we hit about a million dollars in revenue and then we start to grow from there, we get to about the two to five million dollar mark, every company is a little bit different, and everything starts to rattle.
And that’s usually where I sort of there’s this intersection where people find and reach out to me because all of the way that you’ve been running your business up until that point starts to not work the same.
Just you can’t get the work done the way you want. You can’t find the people that you need. The people that you have are not delivering like you want. You’re frustrated, you’re feeling overwhelmed by your business, you contemplate selling it. You contemplate just going out on your own again and quitting the entire thing.
So, one of the last things that tends to be on the mind of an entrepreneur is the experience that their employees have. And I think that you … I know that you have to think about your employees just like you think about your clients.
I actually leverage a way of thinking that worked for me when I was a brand new manager in the startup that I worked in because I’d been very successful in selling. I’m a hunter like most of you, right? So I like to hunt.
I like to go get the business and make the money and do the thing. But then when I got promoted to manager, I realized like oh goodness, my hunting skills are not going to help me help my team. They need more of a farmer, right? An attender and a seed planter, and this is when I got much more comfortable with the coaching role.
I used coaching skills in sales, but I’ve realized as a manager it was such a different role. But what I did really pay attention to was, oh, okay, if I just treat my employees like my clients, I’m going to get the most out of them. What is that?
What are the things that I did with my clients to build relationships? What are the things that I did with my clients to set expectations so that we knew how the things were going to go?
We knew how to perform and we knew how to get results, right? How did I train my clients to interact with me so that I got the best outcome for them, for me and for the business?
So when we think about your employees, I want you to really think about them, not just as people who come into your business that you pay money to, that they do work for you. Okay? That’s yes, it’s ultimately true. They’re a resource. You’re hiring them to get work done and you’re … and it’s an exchange for their skillset and their results for money. That’s always true.
But if we want to recognize that they’re human beings and that we want to maximize their potential and their capability, then we also have to think about them in a different way.
So, I’ve had conversations with different clients about this and one of the clients I recently asked, you know, “What do you want your employees experience to be working for you?”
And she thought about it and she came back and sent me an email and said, “I want my employees to feel like they won the lottery.” And I love that. Right? What an incredible way to think. I had another woman say, “I want to be the place where women come and they make at least $100,000 a year.” Okay. That’s awesome. Right?
As soon as I start to think about what I want my employee’s experience to be, then of course I design it, right? But most of us are on autopilot when it comes to hiring and we’re not very conscious about what we want our employees to experience when they work for us.
So there’s a few things to think about as you ponder this, right? Who are you as a leader? How do you act with your employees? How have you been acting maybe unconsciously, and how would you like to act? Right?
I know for me this is always the work I have to do because you know, I think I’m pretty gracious. I think I’m pretty collaborative. I think I’m very open-minded in most cases and so that’s attractive for a lot of people to work for me.
I also know I can be a total quick start. I can change my mind frequently. I can easily get impatient and I’m forgetful and I’m terrible with the details. And so I have to factor in that there are things I’m always working on, right, that are going to help me be better for my employees. Like how can I be more organized? How can I be more thorough? How can I be less impulsive? Right?
As an entrepreneur we are so used to just doing whatever the hell we want. And then as soon as you hire people, you can’t do that anymore. Especially the kind of people that we need to hire, right? We have to hire people who are good at structure, who are good at processes, who are good at slowing things down so that you can speed up.
And I … It’s such a fascinating experience for me because I know I hire people to do that and I get annoyed that it’s slowing me down. It’s so ridiculous. So what I think about then is what is that experience for that employee? It must be very frustrating, right?
So at least I compensate for it for not being an asshole, but I’m still, right, it’s probably difficult to work for someone like me on occasion because it can be kind of, I think erratic is a stretch, but you know? You know what I’m saying? I know you’re identifying with this. So judge me all you want.
So when I think about what I want my employee’s experience to be, I think about who am I as a leader? Who have I been kind of unconsciously? Who do I want to be consciously. When my employees are out in the world connecting and you know, socializing with friends or you know, being not with me and with my business, what do I want them to say about me?
What do I want them to say about my company? What do I want them to say about working here? Well, how would they describe it? Would they say, yeah, it’s fine. It’s a pretty tough job. I’m not really crazy about it, but it’ll do, or do they say, I won the freaking lottery with this job? Right?
How do they feel when they think about working for you? Are they excited? Are they overwhelmed? Are they eager? Are they afraid? Are they stressed out? Do they feel fulfilled? Right? And there’s a lot of facets that you have to think about, right?
So if you’re clear about the kind of employee experience you want to create, then of course you are then very much more clear about the kind of person you need to bring into your business, which of course then informs your decision making and it informs your hiring, right?
But when was the last time you thought about your employees and the kind of experience you want them to have? And so then we can take this to all sorts of parts of your business. So there’s sort of the overall vibe, the overall brand that you want to have as a business that you want that experience to be for them, right?
Then there’s how do I want them to experience a performance review? How do I want them to experience feedback? How do I want them to experience if we have to go to an event together? How do I treat people when we go to events? How do I treat people when I ask them to work on the weekends?
I just had a conversation with a client about this right now. Right? It hadn’t occurred to her. And then she’s like, “Oh, should I have comp time? Should I provide comp time if I ask people to work on the weekends for an event?” These are parts … You know, I think you think … A lot of us think those are policies and certainly we want to have that drafted and communicated.
But it’s also part of the experience, right? Because if we don’t give comp time, what’s the experience going to be? If we do give comp time, what’s going to be the experience? If we don’t address it and we just make it like do whatever you want, what’s going to be the experience?
Right? So it’s so important to think through not just the overall vibe of working in your business and what they would describe their experience to be, but then all of the different kinds of pieces. Like when they get an assignment from you, what’s that experience? When they didn’t meet an expectation, what’s that experience? Right? You put it through the funnel.
And for me, it’s a given to me that people will not meet my expectations. I don’t mean that in a resigned passive aggressive, right? Like throwing up my hands like nobody can ever meet my expectations. I don’t mean it that way. I mean it in the way of saying there is no way people are going to ever read my mind, and there is no way that I can expect people to do exactly the way I want things done in my brain.
And the truth is 90% of the time, the way that I want something done is not the best way you guys, especially if I’m hiring somebody else to be the expert, right? So I have to … I go into a working relationship with someone already kind of knowing like, okay, I know they’re not going to do this exactly like I want.
Now for me then where’s the line of that sort of non-negotiable, right? That’s where I want to always be able to give feedback. But for me, and I’ve, if you followed my podcast even before I launched the Female Entrepreneur Focus, right, I did a ton of podcasts before that just for managers and my thought process is always love and grace. If I can’t give you feedback from a position of love and grace then I really have no business giving you feedback.
And it was sort of interesting because I have a group of women that have worked for me who worked for me for years, who were coaches that I trained and we really did a ton of amazing work together. We called each other the goddesses. We really were and still are an incredible group of women.
I got some really interesting feedback the other day because I was working through a decision and I reached out to them and I thought wow that’s so interesting that even after all this time, we haven’t worked together for over seven years.
But one of my former employees who is also a coach and works in a corporate environment, wrote to me and said, “Kris, what advice would you give to us in this situation?” She said in Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead she says, being clear is kind, being unclear is unkind, you always leave me feeling whole and empowered to be the best me, give that gift.
And I loved that she said that for first of all, it was such a great feedback and advice. But second of all, what I loved is that she said I always left her feeling whole and empowered. And from my perspective, that’s what I want an employee experience to be.
I’m going to tell you things I don’t like. I’m going to tell you I’m not happy with something. I’m going to tell you, you could have done this better. I’m going to tell you, you didn’t meet a deadline. I’m going to tell you, please don’t ever do that again, but I’m not, I don’t ever want someone to walk away from that feeling shamed or hurt or injured in a way that was unnecessary.
If they make it mean something much more than I meant, I can’t control that. But I can always control how I, and the intention I have behind it and how I deliver that experience. And ultimately it’ll be up to them to receive it. And the truth is there have always been, you know, a couple people that have worked for me over the years who I could be exactly the same with them as I was with all the rest of my team and they thought I was, you know, a beast, monster.
So whatever. I mean, those people are going to always exist. But am I clear? Right? So for me, love and grace. I want employees to know that they’re going to experience with me fairness, right? An authenticity, a connection, but also substantive, meaningful feedback.
I’ve talked a lot about employee experience. I want to take this to one next level. I know as an entrepreneur you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about your ideal client, how to attract your ideal client, how to sell to your ideal client, how to get more ideal clients. I know that’s where you spend a lot of your time because you are a hunter. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a hunter.
I want you to spend as much time thinking about your employee experience. What is it that you want your client to experience? I would bet money you could tell me what that is. How you want your clients to feel, your customers to feel I’m willing to bet money not only could you tell me that, you’ve probably invested a lot in figuring that out and you do.
You put a lot of resources into making sure that your client and your customer experience is rock solid. We need to do the same thing for the employee and that doesn’t mean we create this coddled employee environment because that’s what I … I honestly think that’s happened. I think that in a lot of companies, especially big companies, employees have just …
This thing has gone full tilt and we’ve gone so far into employee experience that we’ve forgotten that the whole reason we hire employees is to deliver results. So don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t ping pong tables, and Keurig machines and pop chips and Snapple in the break room. This is legit.
Like when … You to me, what is that experience going to be? What do I want people to say about working here? Does that align with my values or what is aligned with my values?
But at least think about it because like I said, if you’re like most of my clients and you’re just kind of tipping over that strappy, hustley, exhausting part of your business and you’re trying to really build the infrastructure and develop the human capital to support your launch and your growth and your scale.
You’ve got to ask yourself this question and you have to be honest with yourself because some of you will say, I want the employee experience to be casual and open and relaxed and some of you will say, I want the employee experience to be balls out, grueling, intense and fun as hell.
You’ve got to know what it is because you see how those attract different people. And if you get someone who wants the casual, relaxed, chill vibe and they end up in your environment, which is grueling and balls out and exhausting but fun, we don’t have a fit, we have a problem.
So we’ve got to be honest about what we want that employee experience to be. Not what sounds like la, la, la, right, sounds great, but I don’t really live it. Okay? All right. Give all that some thoughts.
Hey, I am going to be meeting with women who are entrepreneurs who lead businesses that are generating a million dollars or more in revenue. I’m doing one-on-one consults to meet with you if you are ready to do the work around building the team, resolving challenges on the team, creating the infrastructure that supports accountability and replicatable performance and hiring and firing and all the things that you’ve never thought you would want to ever do in your life because all you really wanted to do was be an entrepreneur and change the world. But now you have to manage people.
If that’s you and you’re just a little or a lot overwhelmed by your business, I would love to meet you and do a consultation with you and talk to you about joining the group for female entrepreneurs, which is launching soon. These are going to be very small groups of successful entrepreneurial women just like you where we meet weekly and coach, I coach you.
This is not a class. This is not a passive process. This is you showing up, bringing all your, you know what and saying, this is what I’m dealing with. I don’t know what to do. I need to fire my mother. I need to fire my brother. I need to hire someone who can do something and I can’t find a soul to do it. I don’t know how to write a job description. I don’t know how to give a performance. I don’t know how to pay people, should I do bonuses?
These are the kinds of things that I help people work through. If that’s you, I would love to talk to you about joining this group. I think you will find or I know that you will find that the work we do exponentially changes ultimately the results that you get in your business, but it gives you …
We work on you and we get you back, your peace, your love of your business, your joy, some time, all the things that you may have given up over the past few years to build your big and beautiful business.
So if that’s you, this is now the time to meet with me. I am meeting with people. You just go to KrisPlachy.com/appointment. As I said, there are 20-minute consultations. I will make sure by the time we’re done on that 20-minute call, you’re going to know if the group is the right thing for you or not.
But if it’s something that’s been on your mind and you’re looking for help, let’s take a minute and have a conversation. Have a wonderful day.
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