This note is in line with the previous post, which gave a brief idea about the notion of EEM – ‘Employee Experience Management’. It is tried to shed light on ‘Employee Engagement Program’ as a possible component for EEM.
EEM initially should attract, motivate, and develop the right kind of people, and then strengthen the brand ethos through engagement program (Mosley, 2007). Practically, it is confirmed that employees want to be engaged (e.g. 86% want live experiences and 83% want events to be experiential; Jack Morton, 2006). Clearly, highly motivated and engaged employees can create memorable customer experiences (Millard, 2006). Providing satisfactory and engaging experiences for employee are more likely to be productive instead pure training without presence of their heart. In EEM, we needs to go beyond the internal marketing and bartending, since they tend to form employees’ perceptions, while we need to embed brand ethos in total employee experience (Mosley, 2007). However, an engagement program would be successful, if it is appealing and memorable.
Engaging employees emotionally during their works is a vital element in shaping positive experience (Freedman & Edwards, 1988; Schembri, 2006). Value like respect, honesty, trust, friendliness, and straightforward relationship, can engage employee emotionally. If organizations do not meet emotional desires, they will lose both employees and customer (Barlow & Maul, 2000, p. 227). Furthermore, if employees are emotionally attached to firm and brand, they convey their personal feeling through interaction to customers. On the other hand, employees can be engagement by organized involvement program (Freedman & Edwards, 1988). Encourage employee through participation in service experience improvement can lead to engage customer in positive experience (Tseng et al., 1999). Employee can create novel and memorable experiences, if they engaged and involved in innovation programs. Given ‘relate experience’, engagement also happens when firms invite employees to experiential participation beyond the job description (e.g. live event).
Engaging customer emotionally has direct relationship with motivation as well. Motivation is needed to ‘work up to the brand standards’ (Punjaisri & Wilson, 2007). Motivated employees automatically generate memorable interaction for customer (Millard, 2006), which hardly ever is created by passive employees. Employees are motivated when they are enthusiastic about their tasks. This motivation can systematically create by emotional bond, challenging environment or incentive system; regardless the source, it is infectious and motivate entire organization (Shaw & Ivens, 2002, p. 107). The prominence of motivation is releasing employees’ capability and uncovering their competency. With enough motivation, firms can move on engaging employees in creativity. Engaging in creativity is another cornerstone to manage employee experience (Baer & Oldham, 2006; Madjar et al., 2002; Nonaka, 1991; Tierney & Farmer, 2004; Zhou & Shalley, 2003). Firms thus are responsible to furnish employee experience by encouraging, assisting, supporting, and valuing creativity (Baer & Oldham, 2006; Tierney & Farmer, 2004). Indeed, employee creativity makes an important contribution to innovation and competitiveness (Nonaka, 1991); hence the circumstance that leads to such behavior is substantial (Baer & Oldham, 2006).
Support is another remarkable example for engaging employee. Support – whether from direct supervisors or coworkers –facilitate employee engagement in their works. This support may encourage employees to be more creative and problem solving (Baer & Oldham, 2006; Madjar, Oldham, & Pratt, 2002). One form of support can interpreted as empowering (Shaw & Ivens, 2002, pp. 10-11). Engagement can create through empowerment, for instance, when employees feel the elements of strategy in their hand. Firms are responsible to empower their employees to convey excellent service experience (O’loughin & Szmigin, 2005). Empowerment of employees helps them to use their own discretion to serve customer better and find solution (Lovelock et al., 2002, p. 476). Empowering employee – for instance in handling customer complaints – besides enhance customer experience, create positive feeling in terms of control (Barlow & Maul, 2000, p. 184). The sense of control psychologically answers employees’ internal needs and emotionally engages them. All these facts encourage firms to empower employees to deliver positive experience (O’loughin & Szmigin, 2005; Venkat, 2005).