Employee Engagement, part 1- Written by Senior Customer Service Consultant Dave Murray
Internal Focus – So many organizations want to treat their customers well, yet so few take the time to consider their employees in the equation. Don’t get me wrong, several organizations provide great annual service training programs, service related contests, etc., but how many take the time to focus on how they are treating their employees – the people who are actually interacting with customers. The quick answer is, not enough. All too often we hear leaders proclaim: “We are a great team, everyone loves it here,” “our employees love our culture,” or even the dreaded “they are lucky to have this job.” The truth is, the first two are very often based on a gut feel rather than data, and the last one is obviously coming from a leader that flat out does not care that much about employees.
Earlier this year, Rob Markey wrote a telling blog regarding employee engagement for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement.” I personally have always been a big proponent of organizations actively cultivating and reinforcing employee engagement. Think about it for a minute: If your employees are not engaged with your company, how can you expect them to convey the proper message, sense of ownership, and pride to your customers? They can’t. If they are not properly engaged, they are simply going through the motions until they decide to finally leave. If your employees do not feel engaged, any customer service training you do will not stick for the long term. You may see some short-term success and momentum, but without true engagement, old habits will eventually return.
World Class – That is why when we work with a client here at The DiJulius Group, Creating a World-Class Internal Culture is the second of the 10 Commandments. Once we set the compass by creating the Service Vision, we then want to make sure that employees are on-board with the organization and fully engaged in their roles. Our Internal Culture process makes sure that employees are engaged and feeling appreciated whether they are just being recruited, or have been with the company 15 years.
The Findings – In his blog, Rob Markey shared some startling data recently uncovered in a Bain and Company study that surveyed 200,000 employees. As you read these, think of your own organization. I’ll bet you can think of some real-life examples. The number one finding was that engagement scores decline with tenure. So, the people who know the most and probably are paid more are likely to be less engaged.
Finding #2 from the Bain and Company study was that engagement scores decline as you travel down the organizational chart. Remember earlier how we mentioned leaders assessing culture based on feel? Too often, leaders may be getting a false sense of security regarding engagement when only interacting with fellow senior leaders.
The last finding brought to light in the study was that engagement levels tend to be lowest among folks in sales and service – also known as the people dealing with customers the most! All three findings are concerning, but to me, this one is the most serious.
Honest Assessment – I urge all leaders to take some time to honestly assess the level of engagement in your organization. In my next article, we will discuss some ways to begin to cultivate a culture of engagement. In the meantime, I would love to hear your examples of disengagement, or ways you have found to improve your engagement levels.
To be continued…