Why your employee experience matters as much as your guest experience

employee experience

As much as we like to focus on customer experience and guest experience, employee experience is an equally important element of success in hospitality. Employee experience (EX) distinguishes companies that lead from those that follow. 

Understanding the importance of the employee’s journey with an organization is key. Your employee experience impacts your acquisition and retention, which, of course, has a big impact on your bottom line. It also heavily impacts your guest experience, which is pretty much everything when it comes to your revenue. Unhappy workers don’t make happy customers. These two things are intrinsically linked, forever enmeshed, can’t be separated – you get the point.

What is employee experience? Not to be confused with employee wellbeing.

Employee experience encompasses the entire employee journey with an organization, from recruitment to exit. It includes every interaction and experience an employee has in the workplace, whether with colleagues, work environment, workplace technology.

Employee wellbeing, meanwhile, is one aspect of the full EX that focuses specifically on the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees. 

How much does employee experience matter?

In a 2016 global survey of 281 senior executives, researchers at MIT found that companies that create a great EX outperform their competitors on innovation, customer satisfaction, and profitability. For the sake of the research, EX was made up of two essential factors: work complexity and behavioral norms; specifically collaboration, creativity, and empowerment.

Companies with great EX were found to be more innovative and profitable and to have higher levels of customer satisfaction. 

The researchers concluded that companies that prioritize both digital technologies and leadership behaviors are better equipped to reduce work complexity and create norms around collaboration, creativity, and empowerment. 

The researchers wrote: “This finding has significant implications for who should manage the employee experience, and suggests that the CIO must take a major role. However, technology is clearly not all that is required. Establishing a more facilitative style of leadership will require a broader level of senior management commitment across a range of functions, focusing on activities such as investment in technology solutions, the reevaluation of business rules, risk assessments, and the creation of company-wide processes. As work in the digital age becomes less predictable, leaders who continuously work with employees to identify and eliminate friction points will enhance employee experience and create the fertile ground to build more value.”

More recent research from Officevibe and The Starr Conspiracy backs up these findings. A study found that organizations making high investments in EX see significant returns across business outcomes, including customer satisfaction, employee outlook, recognition, and productivity.

A survey of more than 1,160 business leaders in the U.S. and Canada found that organizations with higher EX investments are 1.5x more likely to have a positive employee outlook in areas like training managers on providing feedback, fostering open communication, and creating feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment in the workplace.

Key takeaways include:

  • 62% of high-investment leaders agree EX has a significant impact on business success, compared to 37% of low-investment leaders.
  • 54% of high-investing organizations see improvements in customer satisfaction.
  • Organizations with high investments are 45% more likely to see improvements in key metrics such as turnover, absenteeism and employee productivity.

How to improve your employee experience

Employee experience takes work and investment. Here are a few steps you can take to improve yours. 

Create a supportive and inclusive work environment: Foster a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hotels, resorts, and spas thrive on the rich experiences brought by employees from diverse backgrounds. Celebrate cultural differences, encourage teamwork, and ensure all staff feel respected and valued. 

Provide industry-specific training and advancement opportunities: Offer comprehensive onboarding programs, professional development, and clear career pathways. Employees in the hospitality industry often face unique customer service challenges. Equipping them with advanced conflict resolution, customer engagement, and service excellence skills can boost their confidence and performance. Promoting from within whenever possible motivates employees by showing them a clear path for advancement.

Offer flexible scheduling and work-life balance: It can be difficult with the round-the-clock nature of hotels, resorts, and spas, but offering flexible work schedules, including rotating shifts and accommodating personal time off requests, can help employees balance work and personal lives. This approach can reduce burnout – which we all know can be a big problem – and improve job satisfaction.

Enhance employee well-being programs: Implement wellness initiatives specifically designed for the physical and mental demands of hospitality work. This could include access to on-site fitness facilities, wellness workshops focusing on stress management and resilience, health screenings, and complimentary or discounted services within your spa or wellness center. 

Encourage feedback and foster open communication: Establish regular check-ins and feedback mechanisms where employees can share their insights, concerns, and suggestions without fear of repercussions. Use this feedback to make meaningful changes that improve the working environment. For instance, if employees suggest adjustments to the booking system to manage customer flow better in the spa, taking concrete steps to explore and implement these suggestions can significantly impact employee satisfaction and efficiency.

Increase bookings, customer satisfaction, and revenue

By focusing on these specific strategies, hotels, resorts, and spas can create a more positive and engaging work environment and a better EX, increasing bookings, customer satisfaction, and revenue.

Book4Time can help make your employee experience better! Get in touch to learn how.


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at book4time.com.


Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

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