Is 2015 the Year of the Employee?

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Many brands are embracing the truth that engaged employees deliver higher-quality service to customers. That means 2015 could be a big year for employee engagement programs.

In fact, according to customer experience industry expert Bruce Temkin, 2015 promises to be “The Year of the Employee.” Temkin’s article on top 2015 customer service trends asserts companies will identify internal changes needed to meet customer experience goals. He expects companies to initiate culture shifts and provide more customer experience training to employees this year. Also, he expect firms to leverage HR’s employee-facing experience to help shape and implement customer programs.

The message is clear. If customer experience is a priority for your brand, you must intensify focus on employee engagement as well. With the right approach, 2015 can be the year when your brand cultivates stronger internal engagement.

The Employee Engagement Big Picture

In the past, some companies used attrition and retention statistics alone to assess employee engagement. Others may have relied on annual employee surveys. But these approaches are very limiting. Often, those metrics may not reveal the complete picture.

Ultimately, you need clarity on employee perceptions within your own organization. But you should know the big picture first—and it may surprise you. According to research from Gallup, just 30 percent of American workers feel engaged at work. This costs the U.S. economy between $450 billion to $550 billion each year.

Without question, many brands have work ahead to fortify employee engagement.

Industry experts recommend accelerating internal feedback collection to gain real-time input on employee sentiment. In a recent Forbes article, Josh Bersin explains “The change we need to make is to redefine engagement beyond an ‘annual HR measure’ to a continuous, holistic part of an entire business strategy.” Technologies for sentiment survey capture and analysis are important assets in next-generation employee engagement programs.

What Makes Employees Feel Engaged?

Adding to the benefits package or offering novel perks are often not what it takes to create an engaged workforce. Instead, several research studies reveal employees want to feel like their organization has strong guiding principles and astute leadership.

These are three organizational qualities, which deepen employee engagement:

  • Shared mission: organizations which motivate employees through a shared mission and set of values are nine times more likely to earn high satisfaction ratings from customers. (LRN)
  • Clear values: Employees who work for organizations with “known and understood” values are 51 percent more likely to be fully engaged at work than those who feel their organization does not have clear values. (Modern Survey)
  • Effective leadership: In organizations with leaders are perceived as effective, 72 percent of employees say they are highly engaged. (Towers Watson)

The Rewards of an Engaged Workforce

Companies with engaged workforces can achieve big business gains. According to the Workplace Research Foundation, successful employee engagement programs can grow corporate profits by $2,400 per employee—each year.

When employees feel connected to an organization with a clear purpose, that gives employees a sense of personal purpose. That can make employees feel more inspired by their work and more willing to go the extra mile to serve customers.

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