Employee Engagement: From “Fluff” to “Tough”


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Walt Disney said, “You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” In fact, Temkin Group research shows that an engaged workforce is a valuable asset—compared to their disengaged peers, engaged employees try harder at work, are more likely to help out a co-worker, will do something good for the company that’s unexpected, and are more committed to helping the company succeed.

However it takes more than a few all-hands meetings or office posters to engage employees in the company’s customer experience efforts. In our research on how well organizations are doing raising employee engagement, we found that only one out of five large organizations have strong or very strong employee engagement efforts. To reap the benefits of an engaged workforce in their customer experience journey, companies must make the shift from fluff to tough across what we call the Five I’s of Employee Engagement:

Inform. Provide employees with the information they need to understand what’s expected.
Inspire. Connect employees to the organization’s vision and values.
Instruct. Support employees with the training, coaching, and feedback they need to be successful.
Involve. Take action with employees to improve processes and solve problems.
Incent. Deploy appropriate systems to measure, reward, and reinforce desired behaviors.


As you can see in the chart above, when it comes to engaging employees in your CX journey moving from fluff to tough requires a significant shift from narrowly focused, occasional actions to a sustained commitment to practicing the Five I’s across the organization every day. The work involved is not easy, but it is worth it. Our research shows those organizations that successfully make this shift benefit from more engaged employees, along with better financial and customer experience results.

Aimee Lucas
I am a customer experience and employee engagement researcher, advisor, speaker, and trainer. I focus my work on guiding clients on how to optimize their employee and customer experience management programs, identifying and publishing EX and CX best practices, and shaping the future of experience management (XM). I have over 16 years of experience improving service delivery and transforming the customer experience through people development and process improvement initiatives.


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