10 Easy Ways to Build Emotion into the Employee Experience

Last week's post focused on the three elements of an exceptional employee experience:  It needs to be effective, easy and emotional.  "Effective and "easy" are more easily applied to a service event.  But "emotional?"  Not so much.

How do you add emotion to the employee experience?

The word "emotional" is abstract.   But specific emotional results are more tangible, and  easier to apply to a service event.
Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Professor of Psychology at The University of North Carolina delivered a lecture called " Positive Emotions: The Tiny Engines of Positive Psychology."  Each of those "Tiny Engines" can trigger a different positive emotional response.  And we can build any of those "Tiny Engines"  into our customer service events.

The Ten Tiny Engines are:

  1. Joy -  the circumstances the feeling that something's going really well for you, or maybe better than expected.
  2. Gratitude -  the feeling you get when someone goes out of their way to make for you, to make a good thing happen.
  3. Serenity - the feeling that your current circumstances are so right, that you just want to have more of this in your life.
  4. Interest -  something that you haven't mastered yet that kind of draws you in.
  5. Hope - the feeling that occurs in negative situations when you've feared the worst, but a yearning for something better gives you a sense of desire.
  6. Pride - the sense of having achieved something that's respected and valued in our culture.
  7. Amusement - amusement occurs when people appraise their current circumstances as involving some sort on non-serious social incongruity; humor.
  8. Inspiration - Inspiration arises when people witness human excellence in some manner. People feel inspired, for instance, when they see someone else do a good deed or perform at an unparalleled level.
  9. Awe - awe emerges when people encounter goodness on a grand scale. People feel awe, for instance, when overwhelmed by something (or someone) beautiful or powerful that seems larger than life.
  10. Love - there's no need to explain this one, is there?
Here's the point:  Don't try to make a customer service event emotional.  Instead, try to make the event trigger one of the ten tiny engines. Make it trigger joy.  Or make it trigger gratitude.  Or make it trigger amusement.  In fact, you can use any of one or more of the ten.

Here's an example using Gratitude.

An employee is going on maternity leave.  She submits her documentation.  Her leave is approved.  On her final day before the leave, you call her personally to wish her the best of luck with everything, and give her your direct phone number, should she need anything while she's out.
The employee feels grateful that you went out of your way to call her personally, wish her luck, and give her your number as a safety net.  Your action has triggered gratitude.  It may also trigger Serenity and Awe.

And here's an example using Amusement.

Lots of organizations have a dress code.  And that dress code must be documented for employees, and added to your knowledge base.   You can create a bland, painful document like this.  Or, you can do what Delta Airlines did with its passenger safety briefing, by creating an amusing video, like this.
Entertainment can be informative.  Which would your employees enjoy more?  An entertaining 2 minute video, or a bland 3-page policy document?

In Summary:

Great employee experiences are easy, effective and emotional.  Easy and Effective are easy to comprehend and implement.  But emotional is harder to grasp, and therefore, harder to implement.  So instead of trying to make your service event emotional, make it trigger any one of the Ten Tiny Engines that trigger a positive emotional response.
Your employees will be grateful.  Or amused.  Or any of the other eight responses. And you'll feel pride!
Emotion in the employee experience