3 Surefire Ways to Drive Employee Engagement
There’s been an increased focus on employee engagement over the past couple of years because companies are realizing that their frontline people are both their biggest assets and on the flipside, their greatest liabilities. Great employees tend to create great experiences and detached employees create poor experiences.
Taking it a step further, remember Annette Franz’s recent guest post, where she succinctly reminded us that:
“Quite simply: without employees, you have no customer experience.
The linkage between employee engagement and experience and the customer experience has been proven. It’s real, and your employees matter! If your employees aren’t engaged with your improvement efforts – or engaged overall with the organization – it will be very difficult for them to delight your customers and deliver the experience they expect.”
Recently, an Institute of Customer Service (ICS) survey of 3,000 consumers showed that staff attitude and staff incompetence are rated the “most annoying or frustrating” problem. So it’s scary that an estimated 71% of employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged,” from their work, a number that represents $500B in lost productivity and higher attrition.
Does your CX program drive and/or measure employee engagement?
If not, the time is NOW for making major shifts to improve employee engagement. This tends to be a blindspot for many organizations (even ones with mature CX programs) for several reasons. One is that companies get stuck in the literal definition of “customer experience” and focus only on the customer side of the equation, which is silly. It takes two to tango and great “customer experience” in many cases involved a great employee confidently, competently, and happily doing her job.
Another common challenge is that different companies will define and measure employee engagement differently. There’s no single set of criteria that works for every organization, so it does require some strategy to define how you’re going to baseline it, define it going forward, track it, and of course, report on it.
Cathy Brown, Executive Director of Engage for Success, commented on that challenge:
“Despite there being some debate about the precise meaning of employee engagement there are three things we know about it: it is measurable; it can be correlated with performance; and it varies from poor to great. Most importantly, employers can do a great deal to impact on people’s level of engagement. That is what makes it so important as a tool for business success.”
So what CAN you do? Here are three surefire tactics that will drive up employee engagement. There are many others, but if you start with these, you’ll see improvements rather quickly.
- Leverage feedback for change. It’s not enough to run an annual employee satisfaction survey. Those days are over. Today, you need to collect and respond to feedback on regular, shorter cycles and/or create ongoing feedback loops that are always available. The most important advice here is to make positive changes based on that feedback and let the staff know it was their input that created the improvements. When they see the results of their sharing, they will share more and more often, and you will have a beautifully evolving organization that’s constantly working to improve itself from the inside out.
- Create a culture of learning. Training has become more important than ever in the digital age. Systems and processes change so quickly and frequently that untrained employees will fall behind and as a result, disengage. With the proliferation of learning technologies available (like our sibling CallidusCloud solution Litmos), there’s no excuse to not make learning a fun, compelling part of your culture that’s baked right into people’s everyday jobs. As you stimulate their minds and expand their skill sets, you’ll see a deeper commitment to the company, the customers, and their career achievements.
- Discover digital motivation. This is the new frontier of employee engagement. By adding a gamification layer to the systems your employees use, you can dramatically increase the amount of time and attention they give to those tools, ultimately driving performance. Using Badgeville (another sibling CallidusCloud solution), you can motivate and expedite the meeting of goals (for individual and/or teams), gamify challenges, and offer rewards and status bumps that inspire greater leadership, friendly competition, and commitment to the mission.