When used to improve male sexual performance, Viagra as a drug, has an effect size of r=.38. Now, I’m not asking you to understand the “r=38”; just keep your focus on the number.
With this in mind, Forbes says that if a great corporate culture that engages employees, were a drug for improved customer experience, according to American Psychologist Journal, it would have a drug effect of r=.43.
You do the math.
But if you’re still in doubt, Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.
Employees are generally only ever highly engaged when they work in an environment that is conducive to their happiness and fulfillment. And this is where company culture comes into play.
This article will demonstrate how company culture that is designed to engage staff, directly impacts customer experience. And the bottom line.
Image Credit: Forbes
What is company culture?
Every company has its own culture, whether by design or by default. The culture is the personality of the corporation, and the environment it provides. The culture is the sum of a company’s beliefs, ethics, expectations, goals, values and mission.
What does high employee engagement mean?
We’ve all seen them. Or been them. The deadbeat who sits slumped over his desk, head in hand. He comes in when he’s supposed to and he leaves on the dot as soon as he can. He does nothing exceptional and just blends into the woodwork, doing what’s expected of him, but no more. Chances are, this employee is not highly engaged with the company. He’s just there to earn a paycheck. Actually, according to Modern Survey, this dreary image depicts most of us, as only 16% of employees worldwide, were actually happy in their jobs in 2014.
When people are highly engaged with the company they work for, they are happier, more productive, loyal and enthusiastic about their work. This has a direct spin-off on the quality of their work, and if they are customer facing, their interactions with your customers.
Think about it, and it will make perfect sense: when you’re grumpy, do you bring joy and smiles to those you interact with, or is your mood a bit on the sullen side? Or remember how it felt when you first met your spouse – you were happy and in love, and your joy spilled over to others you met during the day. It’s just human nature. And whether we want to believe it or not, business is always about humans.
But I’m not only referring to human emotion. When people are equipped, loyal, happy and fulfilled, they’ll not only handle customers better, but also take ownership of their work, because they will take pride in what they do. When you engage employees, you create cheerleaders who will make an effort to ensure the company grows.
A much better picture than the slumped-over-desk-waiting-for-hometime image, right?
What makes employees more “engaged”?
For starters, the company that wants its customers to be more satisfied with their service experience, needs to treat its employees as they would their customers. Because when you have happy and respected staff, it rolls over to how they treat the company’s clients.
Richard Branson, that business icon we all wish we were, says to “put staff first and customers second”, because “if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy.” Branson’s philosophy is no great shakes, and is simply that happy employees = happy customers.
In addition, with social media now part of our daily lives, the happy employee is sure to help create a strong, reputable online brand for your business.
Image Credit: Bambu
For the small business, it will prove a lot easier to cultivate a culture where employees are more engaged, but for the major corporation, it may mean a huge project.
Simple activities to cultivate higher engagement
Before we go further, you should know that research proves that higher remuneration does not necessarily mean higher happiness levels. In fact, in larger companies that people are dying to work for, like Google, the salaries are not particularly high. But still, many people would give their right eye to work there.
For sure, if you’re paying your staff a pittance, and as a result they are stressed out, that is something that will need to be addressed, but you need to understand that higher salaries do not, on the whole, affect happiness levels.
Simple actions that will have major impact are:
- Providing the tools employees need to do their jobs well. If in doubt, ask them what they need to make their work more effective and easier.
- Making sure your management are good leaders who treat their staff with respect.
- Empowering your staff to do their jobs well. This means arming them with relevant skills, either by sending them off-site, or for virtual teams, conducting webinar meetings or training sessions.
- Encourage socializing among colleagues. When people have relationships with others they work with, it builds strong, helpful teams.
- Trusting staff to make wise decisions in their roles.
- Making employees understand their roles in the overall mission and vision of the company.
- Providing goals for staff to achieve, and measuring their performance.
- Conducting staff surveys and making changes and improvements based on their feedback.
A positive company culture whose management lead by example, will build a strong team of employees who are loyal to the brand, more productive, and give more of themselves in their duties and responsibilities.
The spin-off of high engagement is higher customer retention rates, less absenteeism and decreased staff turnover. Not only does company culture affect your expenditure, but also your growth and profit.
There are no other comments on your blog, so I’ve decided to offer mine. In one of my posts, I’ve also referenced Kevin Kruse’s material from Forbes (https://beyondphilosophy.com/connecting-satisfaction-behavior-service-profit-chain-employee-engagement-profit-chain-still-work/), but for different reasons. Though I agree that enterprise culture has much to do with both the employee experience and the customer experience, my perspective is that the concept behind Kruse’s ideas – the Service Profit Chain, employee engagement in general, and the influence of engaged employees on customer satisfaction (not customer behavior) – have reached the limits of their useful shelf life.
In employee engagement, customers are only an incidental, rather than a central, consideration. Today, cultures, experience design, and financial outcomes are better served by having employees who are committed to the enterprise itself, to its value proposition, and to the customers. This is employee ambassadorship; and some quick searching will uncover my posts, articles, and white papers on the subject. I have just completed the draft manuscript for a new book, rather appropriately titled Employee Ambassadorship, which will be published in the Spring.