Positive Online Experiences Aren’t Just for Customers

Positive Online Experiences Aren’t Just for Customers

Successful businesses understand the importance of creating a positive online experience for their customers. But are they doing the same for their employees?

The online sales process varies from company to company, but the goal is always the same—facilitating the purchase. Think of how Amazon eases consumers through the process with as little friction as possible. Visual and written communication cues on the website with supplemental email communications are integral to Amazon’s model.

Although employees are not making purchases from their employers, companies often rely on their online channels to get employees to complete various calls to action. These requests can include attending an optional training session or sharing personal diversity data. What if companies were as focused on making online employee “asks” as easy and straightforward as the customer purchasing process?

Recently, I completed AlterSpark’s Digital Behavior Change course, where Dr. Brian Cugelman focused on how to make websites more effective in driving sales. Let me share what I learned, much of which applies to employee communications.

1. Build more trust into your communications. Trust—the most important takeaway from Dr. Cugelman’s sessions. Without trust, the customer will not make the buy. The same applies to employees. As part of how most of us process requests, we evaluate the level of trust we have in the source, so each ask can involuntarily cause employees to reevaluate their current level of trust in the organization. That trust level can influence whether they will complete an optional action in the same way a customer would make a purchase. Employee-facing websites should look professional and have accurate information.

Additionally, you can build or maintain trust by being transparent about why you’re making this particular ask, and carefully considering which leader will deliver your message. A leader who already has employees’ trust will help move the message. Conversely, a leader who doesn’t or isn’t the right spokesperson, won’t.

2. Think visually. Your employees are busy. Starting a campaign with a long email won’t resonate, will overload them with information and they’ll stop paying attention. Start smaller and rely more on visuals until the project has started being socialized.

3. Make an emotional connection. More than likely, you’ll want to use your initial communication to tap into the employee’s curiosity and spur initial interest to learn more. Your content should pull employees toward the project or initiative, not push them into it.

4. Lead with the light, follow with the heavy. Once you’ve pulled your employees in, give them the details. On the website, provide them with the resources, such as FAQ or process documents, to understand the effort.

5. Make the path to act easy. In the battle between tradition and technology, choose technology. If you find yourself saying, “That’s just how we’ve always done it,” consider how you can do it differently, or how you would want to complete the action if a vendor were making the ask. For instance, don’t email your employees expecting them to complete a paper form. Instead, make the form accessible right from a link (bonus points if it auto-fills with as much employee information as possible). Reducing friction can increase participation and create a more positive employee experience.

When employees have a positive online experience, the effect is the same as when customers do—increased engagement and increased trust—which you can build on with each future ask.

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