Key Stakeholder Decision Crossroad: Stay or Go?


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Building on his long-time mantra of “People work for people – they do not work for businesses”, management consultant Donn Carr’s recent LinkedIn post, Why Good Employees Quit, listed nine reasons why employees leave their jobs:

1. They are overworked, i.e. pushed to contribute beyond their capacity
2. Their contributions are not recognized nor is their good work rewarded, i.e. they are taken for granted
3. The wrong people are hired or promoted, i.e. square pegs in round holes and the Peter Principle
4. Employers don’t care about them on a personal level
5. Employers don’t invest in their development, growing their ability to contribute
6. They are not asked to be proactively creative at work
7. They are not bonded to the employer by being intellectually involved
8. Employers don’t honor their commitments, i.e. there is a surfeit of integrity and honesty
9. Employers don’t let them pursue their job-related interests, nor do they want them to be passionate

Every one of these reasons has an emotional core. And, every one of them can apply, as well, to strength of a customer’s relationship with a vendor. Influences of decision-making by customers, and decision-making by employees, are often at least as much emotional as rational. We are able to gauge this through what can be described as a hierarchy of emotional value. Through years of research among thousands of b2b and b2c customers, we have been able to learn about emotional drivers in the decision to stay with a supplier, or an employer.

To quickly summarize, emotions can drive advocacy at the highest level, positivism, attention, or destruction at the most negative level, as follows:

– Advocacy – happy, enjoyment, pleased

These emotions are extremely important and powerful, and they impel strong brand favorability and voluntary informal face-to-face and digital communication to others about the organization and what it represents

– Positivism – trusted, valued, safe, cared for

Loyalty begins to be built, as well as commitment, at this emotional level, where stakeholder comfort, understanding, and personalization are the principal areas of focus.

– Attention – stimulated, interested, energetic, exploratory

These are emotions that organizations often use to attract customers and employees. While this cluster of emotions encourages both stakeholder groups to be involved, the challenge is for this attention to be sustained, i.e. that which attracts and stimulates can fade, and become bland.

– Destroying – stressed, neglected, frustrated, disappointed, unhappy, hurried

In the case of employers, the organization looks at what is good for them and imposes that experience on both customers and employees. While almost impossible to entirely eliminate destroying emotions, smart organizations must take steps to mitigate them.

These emotions, and their decision-making ramifications, are drawn from driver research through the University of London. We have developed a benchmark database of 40,000 respondents, to identify the subconscious of a customer’s (or employee’s) journey, relating emotions to overall perceived value. In other words, emotions control stakeholder experience memory and directly leverage decisions.

In our thinking (and research) about employee behavior, we have gone beyond the fit, alignment, and productivity bonds of engagement. To optimize employee commitment and experience, we believe it is essential to create ambassadors. Here is what, based on working with many organizations, we think are key ambassadorship priorities:

• Employees, at all levels and in all functions, need to have a thorough understanding of what is important to customers so that their actions match customer expectations and performance requirements.

• Employees’ behavior needs to be aligned around positive customer experiences and customer loyalty behavior.

• Across the enterprise, employee experience must be recognized as co-equal in importance, and directly connected, with customer experience.

• Management must build processes, technology, hiring, training, reward, recognition, and organizational/cultural practices that support employees being able to optimize customer experience.

• Companies should evaluate the effectiveness of metrics associated with employees as they are delivering customer value – financial and non-financial performance, addressing customer life cycle, amount of cross-functional collaboration to support customers.

As an employee, or a customer, and irrespective of business sector, there’s nothing more brand-building, and image reinforcing, than feeling good about the human, personal, and emotional story a company you’re affiliated with presents to its base and the public at large. Emotionally, it makes the stay or go decision a great deal easier.

We will be co-facilitating a webinar, principally to address the linkages between employee experience and customer experience. Check the Beyond Philosophy web site for further details.

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.



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