Austria: How to drive growth with employee experience?

By: March 25, 2019

At the beginning of February, I received a very kind invitation from Robert Fiegl, the Secretary-General of the Austrian Golf Federation to give a keynote presentation at their coming Golf-Forum 2019 conference (Friday, 22nd March) in Velden am Wörthersee.

Austria is a remarkable country for many reasons. One of them is the record high share of female golfers: 35%. This is one of the highest in the EU.

Austria had 102,695 registered golfers and 165 golf courses in 2017 (Source: KPMG).

Conference room before the start Austria

This is why I was happy to accept their invitation. During the event there were at least 140 participants.

I recommended the golf club employee experience development as my presentation topic.

Put your employees 1st!

I thought to explain the importance of investing in employee experience by showing my audience the connection between the customer experience quality and the employee experience available in a golf club.

Even the most advanced and sophisticated golf clubs who understand the importance of exceptional customer experience fail to focus on their most copetitive advantage:


Richard-Branson-Quote-Your-employees-are-your-company-s-real Austria

Our employees have got the biggest impact on customer experience as they have the most direct contact with our guests and golf club members.

The value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive golf club employees.

We should not get confused when we hear ‘employee engagement‘ and ‘employee experience‘! They are not the same!

Engagement is an emotional commitment an employee has to her organization and its goals. Engagement requires loyalty.

The drivers of engagement are:

  1. People
  2. Nature of work,
  3. Advancement in career,
  4. Recognition,
  5. Quality of professional life,
  6. Company practices.

At the same time, employee experience is the sum of all interactions between an employee and his/her employer as they are perceived, understood, and remembered by the employee.

The quality of employee experience affects 3 areas of our golf club’s operation:

  1. Recruitment,
  2. Workforce retention,
  3. Overall customer experience.

Deliver compelling & sustainable EX!

When we are designing employee experience our task is to deliver a compelling and sustainable employee experience.

However, we must understand first the complex ecosystem of interactions across services, processes, tools, technologies, event etc.

Today, the focus is not necessarily on processes, but rather on what kind of experiences do we design and provide at every step of the employee journeys.

employee journey

During the presentation, I defined 5 principles of employee experience:

  1. Employees are not just workers/headcount/manpower! This is why I was happy to find Marriott Hotel’s TakeCare Wellbeing Program.
  2. Employees are expecting mutually beneficial relationships with their employees. Let’s treat our golf club employees as business partners who are on the same mission as we are.
  3. Synchronize and evolve experience, brand, and culture!
  4. Provide ongoing reinforcement of the employer brand promise!
  5. Put employees 1st!!!

Thanks to Ian Bulleid (Director International Sales & Marketing at Troon EMEA), I could highlight in addition to employer persona development Gallup’s CliftonStrengths method (used by Troon as well) as a way to discover our employee’s personality and enhance employee talents.

I also highlighted in my presentation that we should stop doing the traditional once-per-year surveys.

Instead we should have much more frequent talks with our employees to understand their emotions, pain points in their employee journey and in their everyday work.

If we can find the following 7 personality traits in applicants and current employees then we have got much bigger chances to succeed in providing exceptional customer experience:

  1. Kindness & optimism,
  2. Intellectual curiosity,
  3. Work ethic,
  4. Naturally smiling & happy,
  5. Empathy,
  6. Self-Awareness (the above-mentioned Gallup method can help a lot to gain better self-awarness),
  7. Integrity.