"When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute."
Over the past few years employee engagement has become one of the top issues on the minds of businesses leaders and CX directors. More progressive companies notice that staff satisfaction and commitment impact customer experience and retention. Many researchers proved the existence of a powerful link between employee engagement and CX. But how does that relate to your business performance?
EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION VS. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Firstly, let’s look at the terms employee satisfaction and employee engagement. At first glance, they might seem synonymous and interchangeable, but they are actually quite different. To put it in simply, an employee who is satisfied with their job might not necessarily be engaged.
According to Gartner, employee engagement is the state of mind of an employee in which they are both rationally and emotionally committed to their work. This state motivates them to put energy and effort into their work beyond the minimum level required to “just do the job.”
As an employer, you want productive and ambitious members of staff who deliver results and exceed expectations. You want people who interact and work well within a team, as well as feel able to voice their ideas.
In order to become successful and profitable, you need to have a clear vision of how you’ll keep your employees motivated and committed to your company’s goals and values.
One solution is to…
…CREATE A CULTURE OF ENGAGEMENT
Promote and encourage teamwork. Research from Gallup shows that employees who have friends at work are more likely to be engaged in their jobs. This is because humans are sociable creatures in nature. Teamwork not only gives employees a sense of belonging and purpose, but also opportunities to learn from one another and brainstorm new ideas.
Empower. Empowered employees advocate for their customers, resolve issues quicker, and contribute towards customer loyalty. Give your staff the autonomy and flexibility to create positive experiences for your customers. By doing so, you construct a powerful emotional link between your customer and your employee. Mutually beneficial, such connection will reduce unnecessary effort and manifest itself in greater loyalty on both sides.
Listen. Continuously and not just during performance reviews. In fact, employers should shift towards having regular conversations instead of just relying on bi-monthly structured meetings. Every conversation is an opportunity to receive valuable feedback, connect with your staff, and improve operational efficiency.
Help employees grow and develop. This starts on the very first day with training and orientation. If your employees don’t understand their responsibilities, they will be frustrated, confused, and more likely to quit. Help employees develop new skills and challenge themselves. Being more informed and confident in addressing queries will contribute to greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Acknowledge and reward. Nobody wants to feel invisible and unappreciated at work. A 2017 report from CEB (now Gartner) reveals that a staggering two thirds of all employees regularly think of leaving their current jobs. The reasons range from lack of recognition and micromanagement to being underpaid. Additionally, a Gallup study explains that undervalued employees are twice as likely to leave. Whilst most drivers that lead to employee engagement are non-financial, it’s important to reward hard-working employees.
ENGAGEMENT DRIVES PERFORMANCE
According to a recent Forbes study, companies that invest in employee experiences are four times more profitable than those that don’t.
The truth is that satisfied employees will fulfil their responsibilities and serve customers with a smile, but they’ll never go above and beyond. Being an engaged employee means thinking about how you can make your workplace better, which helps the business grow and innovate.
Your employees’ commitment and motivation directly impact your customers’ experiences. If you support and encourage the growth of your workforce, they’ll care more about making the customer journey more enjoyable and effortless. With that you reduce the chances of customers switching to your competitors, boosting your retention and revenue in the process.
Dissatisfied and emotionally detached employees are unlikely to promote a satisfied customer base and pass vital customer feedback up the chain.
Engaged employees are more likely to advocate their company to other co-workers and refer potential new hires and customers. They also prefer to stay within such a company, even if they’re being presented with other opportunities. This means lower staff turnover, improved retention, and higher job performance.
MEASURING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Measuring employee engagement is a challenging process, because you’re trying to capture, understand and analyse a complex blend of attitudes, actions, and perceptions. This might be why the majority of companies don’t have a clear strategy for employee engagement measurement in place.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to have regular conversations with your staff. Feedback received once a year is simply not enough to portray a complete and current perspective. In a larger company it might be too time-consuming to have engagement conversations done thoroughly on a regular basis. Therefore, higher management might seek more efficient solutions, such as surveys.
When designed well, surveys are an incredibly effective tool that delivers valuable insights. And it can deliver in real-time.
If you’re in retail or hospitality industries, characterised by seasonality, you need to remember that the survey results will reflect that. It’d be perhaps beneficial to create periodic questionnaires to capture the key elements of employee disengagement at less busy times and use this data to increase staff commitment and keep the absenteeism rate low.
Having the support from experts, such as Avius, will not only help you identify the right metrics, but also design the right questions and tailor the analytics to your needs.
Improving employee engagement is not a one-off activity, but an ongoing process, which greatly benefits your business. Having highly engaged employees is important to complete the customer experience loop and keep growing and innovating. Encouraging a customer-centric mindset in your employees results in better loyalty and business performance. Bottom line, motivated and satisfied employees will care more about making the customer journey enjoyable and effortless as well as represent your company better. And that leads to improved business performance, higher productivity and customer satisfaction.
By Natalia Kaczmarek