The way employers treat employees has a direct effect on how employees treat customers. These quality interactions ensure brand loyalty, advocacy and can give an organisation a competitive edge, which if rooted in their ‘culture’ can be hard, if not impossible to replicate. (1)
Richard Branson is also quoted as saying: “Customers do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers.”
I’ve been supporting the UK Contact Centre Forum, assessing submissions for its annual awards and reviewing the presentations for ‘Employee Engagement Strategy of the Year’. These include some amazing stories about the transformations organisations have brought about through an enlightened and positive approach to their people.
The most impressive factor for me, which was consistent across all the wonderful presentations, was that each organisation knew that it needed to improve employee engagement, and implemented a clear strategy to do this.
One of the presentations talked about taking the ‘brave step’ of looking at their employee engagement results. Although these were highly concerning a year ago, they became pivotal to the improvement journey on which they embarked.
It sounds obvious, but the process of compiling relevant and meaningful assessment criteria, creating a desire for all employees to want to get involved, bravely analysing the results, and then delivering practical and real change, is not easy.
This made me wonder how many organisations actively or unintentionally avoid gaining a real understanding of how their employees feel? Perhaps there is an expectation that employees want more money, more holidays, fewer hours and an easy life. The reality is very different.
The organisations I listened to demonstrated how there had been a real shift in the mindsets of their people at every level. From CEO to the newest and most junior recruit, all members of the team now felt a real sense of empowerment, belonging and an awareness of the value they add to the wider operation.
Studies have shown that if organisations increased investment in engagement by just 10% they could increase profits by £1500 per employee, per year. (2) In the UK, a 10% improvement in engagement could yield an additional £25.8 GDP billion per year. (3)
Delivering long-lasting and positive changes to an organisations culture and employees’ mindsets is not a quick fix. It takes time and effort, but the benefits can make a dramatic difference to the organisation and add real value to its customers.
Good luck to everyone involved in the CCF awards!
1. MacLeod, D. and Clarke, N. (2009) Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance through Employee Engagement, London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
2. Tamkin, P. Cowling, M. and Hunt, W. (2008) People and the Bottom Line, Report 488, Institute for Employment Studies.
3. Calculations Supplied to the Task Force by Kenexa. Cited in Rayton, B. Dodge, T. and D’Analeze, G. Employee Engagement Task Force ‘Nailing the Evidence’ Workgroup, Engage for Success