Workplace experience as a foundation for customer experience

Disclaimer: this is a theory I’m currently exploring and working through, and is by no means a concrete thought written in stone. I wrote this in response to some dialogue on twitter.

If an organization is going to take time to build a proper employee/workplace experience (WX), part of doing that the right way is encouraging people to treat each other like people, to treat their customers and employees with respect and kindness, to open themselves to new perspectives and ideas, and to work with certain philosophies and principles while embodying certain values and beliefs

If this foundation is laid for employees as a way to help them do their best work, it will be reflected in the output created by the people and organization.

Therefore, the experience that a customer has with an organization’s products, services, and people, will be an embodiment of the organization’s workplace experience, and will reflect back the principles, values, and beliefs of that specific organization.

(I think).

Diving deeper, if you design a strong, positive, enjoyable workplace experience, made with intention and inclusivity and transparency and empowerment and autonomy and all of the things we know make for leading organizations and wonderful places to work, you will, in turn, be laying the foundation for a meaningful, positive customer experience (CX).

Yes, there needs to be a focus on CX as well, but my theory is that any organization that creates a truly successful and enjoyable WX will, as a byproduct, end up with a truly successful and enjoyable CX, because part of a successful WX is encouraging every employee to be customer-centric and human-centered with their approaches to work. Essentially, I’m suggesting that a strong WX is inclusive of a strong CX. If there’s not a strong WX, there will not be a strong CX.

Similarly, I don’t think a strong, authentically enjoyable customer experience can exist without a strong, authentically enjoyable workplace experience, because what’s inside an organization is reflected in what they create and produce on the outside.

Yes, I think that by properly designing a workplace experience—which includes putting customers and humans at the center of the business—you will, as a byproduct, create a strong customer experience. I believe this is true because organizations that embody these philosophies are the ones that will inherently want to take care of both employees AND customers, and that will shine through in all the experiences both groups of people have with that organization.

For the organizational/management consultants out there: why do we spend our time teaching organizations what we’re teaching them? We’re helping them better serve their employees so that they can better serve the customers.

The future of business, and good business, is putting customers and humans and people and emotional intelligence and empathy and inclusion at the center of everything that happens within an organization. Organizations exist solely to serve the needs of people. So, organizations will no longer lead the way if they do not truly take care of their customers. They have to do that. And the best way to get them to do that is to take care of the employees and instill a human-centered philosophy within their everyday work experience.

One begets the other. Or, the organization will not succeed long-term.


I still may not be right about 100% of this (or any of it) but speaking/writing it all out did help me further flesh out that original theory. Please do feel free to push back on anything in here! These are theories I’m actively working through, and would absolutely love some constructive criticism to help me get my thoughts straight.