Why the CEEO should sit next to the CEO in the boardroom

It was announced this week that Airbnb had promoted their Chief Human Resources Officer to become their Chief Employee Experience Officer.

While the title ‘Employee Experience Officer’ might be an unfamiliar one, it may be set to become a new entrant to the C-suite, as companies become more forward thinking in their approach to employee engagement.

With millennials slowly becoming the biggest share of the modern workforce, finding less traditional ways to keep the new generation of employees engaged and happy is fast becoming a business priority.

The importance of employee “brand ambassadors”

What companies like Airbnb are beginning to recognize is that the best talent expects more than simply appraisals and a pay rise – and smaller businesses too must follow their lead by turning their attention to the employee as a brand ambassador.

Though most companies pour endless resources into understanding how customers experience a brand, many generally fail to appreciate that how workers experience it can differ substantially. In fact, a recent Sage People survey found that 86% of respondents felt employers focus more on their customers than their own people. No surprise there in an economy just emerging from recession.

Fundamentally, focus on the Employee Journey is equally (and sometimes more) important to a business than the customer journey.

What is the “employee journey”?

The Employee Journey is the full lifecycle view of an employee’s interaction with a brand, and encompasses every communication with the employer. From acquisition and onboarding, compensation, benefits and performance, right through to separation and offboarding; awareness of which is critical to determine levels of brand engagement, affinity and advocacy – all of which can be negatively impacted by poor employee engagement.

Companies can spend fortunes on creating brand experiences for customers only to deliver a completely different – and often less compelling – brand experience to their employees. They may then in turn may communicate these different brand experiences in a very public way outside the organization.

Workforce experiences & boosting productivity

In order to boost productivity and ensure employee loyalty, companies need to embrace the concept of the employee or worker journey, and approach workforce experiences with the same meticulousness as they do the customer experience.

For example, there is an argument that HR and Marketing functions need to work together more closely in order to better position the brand for talent acquisition and retention; and HR, marketing, internal communications and social media should all be aligned to promote the company and its brand to employees as much as customers.

When all is said and done, employee experiences generally stick with people for life. If businesses can ensure they’re facilitating positive ones at least most of the time, employees will be happy – and there’s no better brand endorsement than a content workforce. Allow your people to drive your word-of-mouth marketing machine, and it won’t be long before this translates into bottom line benefits for your business.


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