Imagine for a minute that you make a living by owning and running a Ferris wheel at a fairground…
And they’re off. They’re on their way climbing up the Ferris wheel on their first rotation. Everything is new to them, the sights, the sounds, the sensations. Any nerves left after the onboarding stage begin to disappear. They’re quickly discovering the joys of your ride.
The majority of the time, they’re on their own, doing their own thing in their cab. But once a rotation, your paths cross again and you both get the chance to check in with each other, give feedback, share insights.
Of course, successful Ferris wheel operators know that, in order to deliver the best experience – the one that keeps people riding longer and coming back for more – they must do more than simply check in once a rotation. So they give them a wave as they reach the top. Make eye contact where possible. Give them a shout out when they least expect it.
And so it continues, round and round, up and down. Before long, what was once novel now has an air of familiarity. They’re relaxed and enjoying the ride. They’re building relations with fellow riders, welcoming new joiners, waving to those getting off. Enjoying the experience together. The queuing and onboarding are long gone, but not forgotten. The memories are still there. Vital parts of their story.
But unfortunately, nobody can ride the wheel forever. Whether they decide it or you. Whether it’s after the first rotation, the hundred and first, or any rotation in between. Everyone’s ride must come to an end. However that’s not the end of the experience. Follow their journey as they enter the offboarding stage >>
That’s a great story but… how does this apply to my business?
In the business world you and your employees will have regular interactions. Be they planned or ad hoc. And each interaction influences their experience of working, both with you and the company. So how do you deliver a positive experience during each interaction?
Like the completion of a Ferris wheel rotation, these occur at regular intervals with a degree of expectation. Meetings like 1-2-1s, appraisals and performance reviews are all planned interactions between you and your employees.
Ad hoc interactions
These interactions aren’t usually scheduled, or necessarily anticipated. Meetings to discuss promotions, returning to work after a long absence or employee relations matters all fall into this category as do conversations relating to recognition and appreciation. Regardless of the purpose of the meeting, or correspondence, how these interactions are handled has a significant influence on the employee experience.
Some basic rules for these employee interactions
- Treat everyone respectfully – respect their time, respect their privacy, respect their viewpoint
- Be present – turn off notifications, mute your phone, don’t check your email
- Prepare in advance – send an agenda and allow adequate time for preparation, don’t just wing it
- Share the mic – None of these interactions should be one-way communication. Ensure the agenda allows for everyone to have their say, and leave time for open discussion at the end
- Listen and learn – be attentive and ask questions to get to the heart of what’s really being said (or not said)
- Coach and inspire – rather than manage and instruct
- Summarise – ensure there is a summary after the meeting detailing what was said, what was agreed, what the expected results are
When it comes to employee experience, your job is to co-create an enjoyable experience. To check in with all riders both formally, as their cab crosses your path, and informally, as they’re mid-rotation. Do not underestimate the power of each interaction. No rider wants to feel alone on the ride, like all you are interested in is the money. They’re looking to feel like a valued part of the Ferris wheel family.