Some companies achieve their goals regardless of circumstances, while others cannot survive even with the best technology, talent, or positive market conditions. So what is the secret recipe for success? We have compiled best practices for an engaged workforce, a major driver of long-term company and customer success. Following these suggested best practices will help you answer the question and determine your recipe for success.
Temkin Group’s study presents a correlation between employee engagement and company revenue. Companies with strong financial performance reported an employee engagement rate of 75 percent, while engagement rate was 47 percent in companies with low financial performance.
Turnover is low in companies with an engaged workforce and these companies do not experience high costs due to lost time, recruitment and onboarding. Committed employees can create a superior customer experience and enhance customer loyalty resulting in company referrals that lead to repeat business and additional revenue increases.
Gallup shared that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. Clearly, we have a long way to go. Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their rivals by 147% in earnings per share.
There is another correlation worth examining. Temkin Group revealed that companies who shine in customer experience (CX) have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as do CX laggards. This same study shows that customer experience is strongly influenced by employee engagement.
Employee experience (EX) starts when a potential employee considers working for an establishment. Researching the company culture and mission statement, the application process, being contacted by Human Resources are some initial steps in this journey. How an employee is treated during their tenure with the company and even what occurs during the exit process should also be considered.
According to MIT researchers, companies that were categorized in the top quartile of EX had designed more successful innovations and derived twice the amount of revenues from these innovations as did those in the bottom quartile. First, let’s look at some of the motivating factors at work to improve Employee Experience.
In his book “Drive“, author Daniel Pink deliberates on autonomy, mastery, and purpose as core motivating factors. Fulfillment comes from being self-directed when you have autonomy. Mastery is improving in work by adding value. You get a sense of satisfaction while you contribute to making the world better, working for a purpose larger than yourself. It is clear that a purpose-driven company is key in attracting the best talent. These intrinsic motivating factors should be considered in people management, especially for employees dealing with complicated problems in today’s world. He highlights that repeated studies are demonstrating that larger monetary rewards could lead to a lower performance for tasks involving cognitive skills. Higher salaries do not guarantee an engaged workforce. A reasonable salary is crucial in work performance. If our employees are concerned about how they will get by, they cannot perform at their best. Bain & Company surveyed employees on what matters to them in a job. While compensation ranked first over any other job attribute, it is the top priority for only one in five workers.
Employees are your company’s brand ambassadors. They are the first to experience the service and/or product you offer and can communicate it with a wide audience. Your EX should align with your CX value proposition. If a company promises simplicity to its customers, it should also make their employees’ life easier or simpler at work.
People have been going through a very difficult time since the pandemic and economic downturn. They have seen colleagues lose their jobs, even employment shrink in some sectors. A portion of the workforce is still working from their homes. This makes it harder for line managers to monitor employees’ performance, give instant feedback to direct reports and motivate them. Employees need more support from both senior and direct management in times of change such as this.
Spending Time with Employees
Employees’ mindset or focus is different from one another. Things that motivate employees could be different for each and every employee. Although groupings such as department, age groups, gender, geography and rank could give us some similarities, every employee is unique with their desires.
Team leaders are critical in ensuring company-wide engagement according to Daniel Ord, one of the most well-known training experts in CX. They directly influence people around them therefore create exponential influence within the organization. It is a good idea to observe team leaders’ communication with their team and monitor people skills. Team leaders can effectively motivate and coach their employees when they know them well. Unfortunately, most leaders are tasked with preparing reports or admin work when they would benefit much more by spending time with their team. Leaders need to have one on one time to spend both listening and engaging with their direct reports. Ensure your supervisors have the necessary tools to perform their job and are empowered to address issues as they arise.
Executive leadership should also be engaging with and listening to their employees. When employees feel valued and appreciated they give more of themselves while serving customers. Companywide gatherings, engagement surveys, round-table meetings could give valuable information to senior management.
Promoting Collaboration Culture
Gregorio Uglioni shared some hints and tips for delivering successful projects in the organization during the Pisano seminar on the Future of Customer Service. People adopt processes more easily when they play a role in designing processes or when they are engaged beforehand. They may refrain from using new systems when they are not directly involved in creating work. A final product becomes much more powerful when you utilize different parties’ views. Cross-functional teams in organizations and even customers can join this co-creation process. It is important to inform employees about changes and explain the rationale behind them.
Uglioni shared the case of Zappos, an American online shoe and clothing retailer, offering superior customer service. During the interview process, the CEO of Zappos was trying to find the intersection between what a person was passionate about, what they were good at and what the company needed. When you find an alignment of these three items, your company will have engaged employees who create value. In Zappos, employees are being paid to quit their jobs if they think they are not good-fit for the company one week after starting work. Company culture is important to deliver great customer service and hiring is a crucial step for sustaining it. The company is eager to find out if a candidate is a bad fit sooner rather than later. Founders of Zappos were aware of the main motivating factors, which Pink explained in his book Drive. Extrinsic motivations (like compensation) are essential, it is the intrinsic motivation (like purpose driven roles with development opportunities) that prompts long-term commitment.
For example, you call a company and explain your issue. After listening to you, the person directs your call to someone else. You may get annoyed repeating your issue again and again. Employees should be empowered to solve customers’ problems when possible. When one team adopts CX goals and other teams ignore them stating conflicting priorities, you cannot improve your customer experience. All teams in your organization should support each other in realizing CX benefits. You can assign goals to everyone in the organization and deploy an employee development program to raise awareness about customer experience. If you create collaboration rather than competition with systems, it is easier for that organization to create a great customer experience.
Some ideas for establishing goal setting within an organization are thank you walls or cards cherishing collaboration, reward programs recognizing teamwork, social networking platforms for idea-sharing. For instance, if there is a reward program in which people get bonuses based on individual goals, they may ignore departmental or company objectives. You should consider both individual and company goals while recognizing people and distributing bonuses. All departments need to work together to drive the right metrics towards achieving shared goals. These shared goals will make customers happy and recommend you to others.
Redesigning Work & HR processes
You can learn the expectations of your employees during HR processes such as hiring, onboarding, and performance reviews. For instance, surveys intended for potential employees, job candidates, meetings with employees are all ways to help you understand an employee’s point of view regarding the recruitment process. You do not have to redesign processes from the beginning; you can adjust and improve them along the way.
Camaraderie, work itself, autonomy, using one’s strengths, competition, recognition may be some of the motivating factors for employees. Flexible work schedules and accommodations have moved into mainstream recently. Many employees are used to remote work and may not want to go back into the office. Redesigning your organization considering employees’ wants and needs can increase overall performance. Job rotations within the establishment and cross-organizational projects can help employees find their purpose and create value for the company. Lastly, all employees should spend time in customer contact centers or sales/marketing departments in order to better understand customers’ expectations. With this information in hand, they could radically improve their performance.
Employees get so many e-mails and management of this has become a large project. This kind of “shallow work” can limit human potential and hinder company growth. When an employee fully concentrates on one issue and works on a complex task, results could be impressive. Limiting time for e-mails and instant messaging, utilizing project management tools, reorganizing work and organization structure to make room for “deep work” could help your company produce tangible results.
Encouraging Continuous Learning
Both Daniel and Gregorio talked about how crucial the training is for delivering exceptional customer service during the CX webinars of Pisano. Training does not end with onboarding. You need to develop your employees continuously for a great customer experience. Daniel mentioned that people could be isolated in their companies; other companies could be doing what you are doing better. For this reason, he suggests looking beyond one’s organizational shell. It could be attending webinars, reading a book, watching a YouTube video, taking a course. He advises leaders to follow current developments in the industry and challenge their assumptions. People allocating even small amounts of time for development could genuinely create value for their organization.
The richer a country, the lower the share of the population that believes a job is “just a way of earning money”, according to the study by Bain & Company. Growing prosperity in the world changed the focus of people. A job is not only an endeavor for meeting economic needs, it is a medium for an overarching purpose.
Employees work more vigorously when they believe they contribute to their company’s purpose and they build meaningful relationships. In this context, it is essential for companies to communicate the company’s role and contribution to society and create an environment in which employees can realize themselves. You can express your company’s purpose in a simple language and update employees about how they contribute to that purpose individually. Don’t forget to help your employees find their purpose by coaching, job rotations and training activities. When a company’s purpose and employee’s purpose align, there is much more synergy created towards achieving company goals. In meetings, you can bring up questions like “What more can I do at work, at home, and in my community to be able to contribute to society?
Your efforts will become more impactful when senior management own and champion the transformation process. If leadership back you up and remain visible while you initiate these activities, it will get easier for you to get cooperation from all employees.