If there is one thing that large enterprises have learned over the last decade: they need to constantly evolve and adapt with consumer habits in order to stay viable. The emergence of new technology and the ability for the consumer to have unlimited information at their finger-tips makes maintaining an advantage over your competitors a daunting task.
Similarly, maintaining employee satisfaction can be equally as challenging. Online platforms like Glassdoor make the employee experience transparent for everyone to see. This is especially crucial as millennials start to comprise the majority of our workforce. Millennials now make up one-third of the U.S. workforce¹, according to the Pew Research Center, and with this new generation of workers comes noticeably different goals.
Traditional top-down strategies, methods and tactics on measuring employee engagement needs a reset, just as much as tactics towards customer engagement have shifted over time.
The importance of optimizing employee engagement is immense as millennials are not the only ones changing the world and impacting the workplace. Generation C, the connected customer, is here and the customer experience is on track to outpace product and price strategies by 2020.² Fostering an environment where people feel connected to the organization and allowing employees to develop is important in employee retention. Innovation is part of daily operations, and while retention has been a place of importance for HR and leaders for decades, it couldn’t be more important now, with the emergence of a new generation dominating the majority of our workforce, changing work infrastructure, and increasing customer interactions across every digital channel.
53% of managers say they have a hard time retaining millennials, and further identifies that 58% of millennials expect to leave their jobs in the next three years, according to a study done by Odesk,
Here are five ways to improve employee engagement at your organization and foster a culture of listening.
Define value for your organization
Every organization differs in its structure and method of communication between workers, managers, senior executives, and customers. In order to expand employee engagement you need to identify the point in your organization where improvements matter.
Do your employees appreciate giving feedback? When leaders receive the feedback do they make alterations accordingly, and do they have the ability to do so fluidly? More importantly, do they acknowledge the employees feedback in a meaningful way? In order for your employees and leaders to feel like they are contributing to a bigger vision and strategic goal, they need to know that their voices are being heard in some capacity, even if the outcome doesn’t go their way.
Ditch the annual engagement surveys
For an organization to be relevant for the connected consumer and engage a modern workforce, companies must focus on building a listening capacity by creating a single source of truth and making people intelligence accessible throughout the enterprise. Annual surveys may have served a purpose at one time, but often lack the ability to provide real-time intelligence that is crucial in capturing specific feedback along the employee and customer experience. Modern workplaces must consider “people insight” as an engagement enablement function in order to provide personalized employee experiences to effectively engage, grow, and retain employees and customers.
Real-time feedback is crucial in capturing specific points along the employee experience, just as you would with your customer journey. By listening and capturing feedback during certain touch-points, you can understand shifts in workforce sentiment and place context behind those changes.
A yearly summary is too long a duration of time to identify issues early in a process’s life-cycle. Some campaigns only last a matter of months, making this issue even more important.
Skip reporting mere numbers
Pure metrics are good at looking at overall trends but lack the deeper understanding of the question of “why?” Focus on answering critical business questions. For example,
“What causes our employees to change engagement over time?” and
“What is the impact on customer outcomes?”
Taking a holistic approach is often better at connecting inputs that can deconstruct findings to create real insight on value opportunities and solve business issues rather than reporting mere statistics.
Has your company recently introduced a new software system or has it changed a business process drastically? If a leadership change has taken place have the new leaders re-engaged their diverse workforce with the right consistency? How are flexible resources (contingent, freelancers, temps, etc.) connecting to internal people networks and impacting the customer and workplace experience?
Also consider opportunities of advancement and the potential for employees to expand their role at your organization. Evaluate whether these opportunities exist, and if they don’t, what can you do in order to make them more adaptable to meet the needs of the customer.
By looking at the context of your organization you can readily identify places where your employees are highly engaging or disengaging with their work, and the reasons behind it.
Rethink your Methods
Consider people intelligence by measuring and facilitating employee sensing in real-time rather than a one-time event in an annual employee survey. New tools and sophisticated text analytic engines can provide continuous social listening and are capable of correlating this feedback with the way employee’s engage in their work within your organization’s day-to-day.
Focus action quickly
As you rethink employee engagement, what changes may be required to guide your leaders in how to act on new people intelligence? Having real-time people intelligence is only part of the formula; you need to execute quickly in order to contribute to the customer experience. What structural changes may need to be made within your organization to allow greater ability for leaders to make the appropriate adaptations required to move with the speed of business?
Engagement is of paramount importance for companies looking to succeed in the coming decades. Retraining and onboarding of new employees is costly and time consuming. But it goes far beyond as employee engagement plays a critical factor in illuminating a positive customer experience.
60% of companies see customer service as a top source of differentiation in the next three years, and 71% of businesses are now putting a stronger emphasis on customer service, according to SAP. The results are clear. Employee engagement and the B2C relationship are strong drivers in what makes your business unique and ultimately viable in contemporary markets.
©2016 All rights reserved. Judy White, SPHR, GPHR, HCS, SPHR-SCP™ is the founder of The Infusion Group™. A trusted partner in creating new possibilities in workplace design, future of work and organizational management strategies to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses,
This article was published on CEO.com
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¹ Fry, Richard. “Millennials Surpass Gen Xers as the Largest Generation in U.S. Labor Force.” Pew Research Center RSS. Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
² Customer 2020: The Future of B-2-B Customer Experience, Walker. Web 21 Dec. 2015.
3 “Millennial Majority Workforce.” Elance-oDesk.com. Elance-oDesk, 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce>.
4 “44 Facts Defining the Future of Customer Engagement.” 44 Facts Defining the Future of Customer Engagement. SAP CEC, 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.