In the past several years, we’re hearing more and more about the importance of client experience as it relates to the success and sustainablity of our businesses. But, what I’m finding is that to truly offer the ultimate client experience, we must first start with the engagement of our employees. Our clients must witness first hand an engaged team committed to the vision and purpose of the organization. Engaged employees create a client experience that promotes loyalty, sustainability and ultimately a huge ROI.
In fact, plenty of studies show that highly engaged employees surpass their colleagues in customer service and overall performance. Nonetheless, Gallup Daily statistics reveal that only 35% of US employees are engaged in the workplace. And even more staggering, the lowest engagement levels are typically within sales and service employees who frequently have the most interaction with our clients.
The good news is that it’s never too late to reevaluate your company’s employee engagement strategies. Here are some best practices to implement and energize your employees and clients:
1. Employees First: Purpose, Development & Autonomy
Various studies show that in order for employees to feel engaged they need purpose, development and independence. Their purpose should align with company culture and impact the bigger picture of our companies’ success. All of this can be easily accomplished through communication from the leadership team reinforcing the importance and value of their team members. Development is also key… employees want to add to their portfolio of skills for more challenge and career advancement. Especially, high potentials who are the most ambitious and most recruitable. Additionally, to reach a high level of engagement, employees need to autonomy. Working independently promotes trust, job satisfaction and proves to them they are valued within their organization.
2. Recognition & Rewards
To understand the importance of employee recognition, we must first identify the psychology and fundamental need of appreciation. Various studies have shown that employee recognition increases engagement, productivity and retention. No matter what age or stage we’re at in our careers, we remain child-like by our response to feeling appreciated and being recognized for going above and beyond our call to duty. Here are a few examples on ways you can reward your employees:
• Lunch with the boss
• Certificate of achievement at next team meeting
• Work from home day
• Give extra time off
• Donation to charity of choice
• Gift card to favorite restaurant
• Shout out on social media
3. Listen & Get to Know Your Employees
You may be hearing your employees, but are you listening to them? A 2016 Deloitte report says, “The biggest challenge for HR in leading engagement programs is shifting from a transactional, once-a-year mind-set, to an ‘always on,’ continuous listening approach to monitoring engagement.” Yes, this approach takes time but developing an authentic partnership with your employees not only promotes communication strategies, it lets your employees feel that their opinions and what they have to say holds value and is important to the success of the organization. Let them know that you truly care not only professionally but about their well-being and personal lives.
When clients experience working with an engaged team of employees, they can literally feel the excitement which creates an emotional connection between client, employee and company offering them the ultimate client experience.