Three ways to raise employee engagement and customer satisfaction
11th March 2022
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We look at the 3 ways businesses can get employees engaged and doing their best work in today’s hybrid working environment.
In 2019, the employer ratings company Glassdoor noticed something interesting about employee satisfaction. Every time a company’s ratings improved by one star, that increase was associated with a “statistically significant 1.3-point increase” (out of 100) in the company’s customer satisfaction levels.
It was one of the clearest demonstrations yet of the long-suspected link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction — or the idea that the happier your employees are, the happier your customers become.
And that’s not all. Glassdoor showed that the jump in customer satisfaction improves the company’s financial standing, too. It was able to demonstrate that every one-star improvement in employee ratings translates into a 7.8% — 18.9% increase in market valuation – with the biggest impact in high customer contact sectors like retail, tourism and financial services.
“Every one-star improvement in employee ratings translates into a 7.8% — 18.9% increase in market valuation.”
Glassdoor Research, 20191
Companies revealed their true attitudes towards employees during COVID-19
While many companies had some focus on the employee experience over the years, the real test came with COVID-19. The actions that employers took when staff were forced to work from home revealed which companies were genuinely employee-centric, and which weren’t.
Many employers took pains to ensure their people had the right devices, connectivity and access to systems, so they could work effectively from home. The provision of adequate remote working tech was projected to result in a 46% increase in work-from-home productivity by the end of the pandemic, according to researchers from Rutgers University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin. A Catalyst study also found that well-supported remote work can also lead to less burnout, more innovation and greater commitment.
But other employers may have left their people to fend for themselves, while still expecting them to keep the business operating. Those employees may have been left feeling under-valued and under-supported, with some workforce – from knowledge workers to front line staff – voting with their feet, in what news headlines have dubbed the Great Resignation, Big Quit or Great Reshuffle. A survey of 1,000 UK workers conducted7 in January 2022 by Slack found that almost one in three of those surveyed (29%) were planning a career change this year.
29% of UK workers are planning a career change in 2022
Slack research, January 20228
How to get employees engaged and doing their best work
With that in mind, what can employers do to reverse the Big Quit, and get employees engaged and ready to do their best work for customers? In our new report, The human connection: How empowering your people drives customer loyalty, we look at three ways to help drive employee engagement in the post-COVID world, and how technology can help you deliver them. For now, let’s focus on just one of those ways: Make your people feel valued and supported.
That might sound simple, but the best ideas usually are. Even small things like saying “thank you” and giving specific praise can be powerful drivers of employee engagement. Showing you value your people, by helping them to achieve their personal and professional goals, is key to keeping talent and knowledge within the organisation.
Making people feel valued and supported can be more challenging in a dynamic working environment when you’re managing a mix of in-office and remote workers. But here, technology can be a great enabler of a positive work culture. Used wisely, it can do three things:
- Bring teams closer together
- Enable access to mentors, information and learning
- Provide managers with vital insights into the needs of individuals and teams
1. Bring teams closer together
Collaboration tools are advancing at a rapid rate, addressing many of the shortcomings of the videoconferencing platforms that were the saviour of many businesses in the early days of the pandemic. Today there are myriad options for hybrid and remote working, from Microsoft Teams whiteboards for brainstorming to Monday.com for task collaboration. Tools like Culture Amp and Quantum Workspace, meanwhile, can forge a stronger sense of togetherness and belonging.
One company using tech to bring remote teams closer together is Ocado. It’s using Slack as a central collaboration hub for technology teams dispersed across the UK, Spain, Poland and Romania. “The fantastic thing about Slack is transparency,” says Clifford Bailey, head of Ocado Technology. “For the first time, you can overhear a conversation in a remote office and everyone can get involved.”
2. Enable access to mentors, information and learning
Professional development is an essential part of the employee experience, and should be considered an investment as much as a cost, since the aim is to equip the workforce to better meet customers’ needs. Remote workers need the same access to formal and informal development opportunities as their in-office colleagues, and technologies like virtual and augmented reality for training, and virtual water-cooler apps that connect junior hires with senior colleagues, can help.
Bank of America, for example, will debut a series of VR experiences for employee training during 2022, with simulated scenarios to help them navigate customer conversations and respond to customers with greater empathy. Managers will get access to insights from that training, enabling them to identify skills gaps and areas where employees need extra support.
3. Provide managers with vital insights into the needs of individuals and teams
In a hybrid working environment especially, managers need to know where their team is excelling and where individuals or whole teams need help to be at their best. New AI-powered tools, like Qualtrics, provide insights into individuals’ workloads and skills gaps, as well as overall team dynamics and areas of friction or inefficiency. Armed with this knowledge, managers can take action to re-balance workloads, invest in skills training, or tighten up processes.
One company using Qualtrics to boost both the employee and customer experience is Volkswagen Group Australia. It uses the platform to collect customer and employee feedback simultaneously, creating an immediate feedback loop that lets employees know when they’ve wowed customers. That has employees striving to be better, and according to Volkswagen Australia’s Chief Customer Officer Jason Bradshaw, “when our employees are engaged, our customers are advocating our brand. That, for us, is the way forward.”
Dive deeper with our paper on improving the employee experience
The link between employee experience, customer experience and business performance is a long-established one, but the Great Resignation is revealing just how bad things can get when the employee experience is neglected.
If you’d like to learn more about how to optimise your customer experience by optimising your employee experience, read our report: The human connection: How empowering your people drives customer loyalty.