Employee experience and customer experience are clearly linked—especially on a large scale at the world’s largest employer.
According to Donna Morris, Chief People Officer at Walmart, if employees don’t have a great experience, it’s difficult for people who don’t get a paycheck to have a great experience.
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A great customer experience starts with a great employee experience, and the line between the two is increasingly blurring. After all, employees are customers of the brand. And with more than 2 million global associates, Walmart’s employees have an incredible impact on the brand and the customer experience. Morris believes lifting up employees directly impacts customer experience because customers know when they interact with a company that invests in its people.
Walmart uses its broad employee base to gain insights into its customers. Every associate is given a free Walmart Plus membership, and feedback on if and how they use it and how it changes their shopping experience provides leaders with great insights into its people. Morris says the more you can learn from your employees about the patterns of your customers, the better.
Creating a great employee experience centers around valuing employees and providing them opportunities to grow and do their best work. Walmart’s goal is to offer unparalleled opportunities to its employees, which its does in three ways:
- On-the-job training. Associates are given mobile devices with job and learning prompts, information about their employment and opportunities to build connections. Morris says this is the best way to help an employee’s future.
- Walmart Academy. These two- to six-week courses teach frontline workers advanced retail and leadership skills.
- Live Better U. This program creates pathways for employees to finish high school and earn a college degree and has been a catalyst for thousands of employees to gain skills to move from hourly to salary work.
These development programs require a significant investment from Walmart, but they result in engaged and empowered employees with the skills to improve their lives and better serve customers. As jobs change and new jobs are introduced, Morris says prioritizing an environment focused on ongoing learning is paramount. Offering upward mobility for frontline workers also opens the pipeline for diversity and inclusion and changes people’s lives.
Employees are valuable customers of any company. Prioritizing their growth and feedback to build a strong employee experience also creates a strong customer experience and showcases a brand that focuses on what matters most: people.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.