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Make It Easy

I recently read an article talking about the 3 little words that matter when it comes to the customer experience - Make It Easy. Nothing new in the article, as customers all of us want the process of buying a product or service to be as easy as possible.

What got me thinking was a simple question - I wonder how many organizations or managers think about that question in terms of their employees. How many of them focus and struggle to Make It Easy for the employee to succeed? My educated guess - not nearly enough.

The idea of making it easy with customers is simple - we find any point of resistance in the buying process and try to eliminate it. A great example is Target (which my family spends way too much time and money). When I want to buy something, I find it at the store, go to the self-service lane to check out quickly, use my App to pay for it that gives me the Target discount, and walk out. Even better, if I have to return the item, the purchase is recorded in the system so I don't need the receipt. It is almost a perfect system.

What I wonder is: does Target go to similar pains to make the processes of the employees easier? Do they look at the time clock system and try to find a way to make it easy for the employee? Do they create rules, guidelines, and processes that not only get the desired result but make it easy for the employee? When there is an issue with anything, do they make it easy for the employee? Those are all serious questions - I do not know.

I suggest every manager take some time each week to review the rules, guidelines, and processes your employees deal with and ask yourself "How can I make this easier?" It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive technological fix (although that may be needed). In fact, you may decide to ask the team how to improve the process.

Here is my example. I am working with a client on a process regarding skill building. The current process works and while it is not complicated, there are a lot of manual touchpoints. Those are things that someone has been trained to do and is doing it just fine. Now I am looking at the process much closer and trying to find ways to automate the process. If I can find a way to automatically approve a request or automatically send an email, it will make it easier.

Will that save the company money? Maybe, but probably not much. Could the employee do the job without those enhancements? Yes.

That isn't the point. I have spent some time trying to make it easier - which is what we should be doing for everyone.

One last thought - most leaders don't do this because of a misguided notion of the paycheck. They pay the person to do the hard things, why make it easier? I know there is someone out there thinking "we pay them to do that". Paying someone doesn't mean you don't try to make their life easier. It would be a heck of a lot easier to just say "I could care less about those people". Because that is what you are saying.

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