Who’s getting the balance right and why?
“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers, it’s that simple.”
The simplicity of this quote resonates with me. Putting your people first is often central to the success for any business and is critical right now.
I’ve recently read a ‘Roll on Friday’ article comparing law firms with the best and worst employee satisfaction scores for work / life balance.
The article ranks each firm, and the satisfaction range from top (83%) to bottom (37%) is significant. The scores are supported by powerful quotes which bring the results to life.
Only a selection of partial quotes is provided, but the distinction between top and bottom scoring firms is interesting. Quotes for the higher scoring firms reflect a culture of flexibility, trust and engagement which seems lacking in firms scoring lowest.
“There’s not enough lawyers after a mass exodus and too much work to go around with skeleton teams.”
“2am finishes are a regular feature,” and “requests to work on weekends are not infrequent.”
“The workload they pile on associates is more than anyone could keep up with.”
There will be many reasons for people to rate their employer poorly, but the quotes suggest workload demand challenges are contributing to the lower ratings achieved. I’m curious to know whether we would see a connected impact in customer service delivery and satisfaction scores too.
My curiosity here is fuelled by my experience over the past 44 years working across a range of industries. It doesn’t matter in which industry you are employed, there is a basic need to be clear about your customer demand to establish the number of correctly skilled people you need to service your customers.
With the right number of skilled people, in the right place, at the right time, your customers will be looked after. You can then focus on looking after your people, informed by clarity over your customer demand and how this influences resource requirements. This then becomes a virtuous circle where your people and your customers and clients are better satisfied.
My curiosity is sustained – since no firm enjoys these challenges or being rated poorly against others in their industry, what’s stopping improvements?
I wonder if any firm experiencing this type of pain:
• Knows it has a problem, but is hoping it will go away?
• Doesn’t measure employee engagement or customer satisfaction?
• Is working on a strategy but it’s taking a long time to have an impact?
• Can’t quite work out the operational leavers to plan for and manage their demand?
• Isn’t sure what to do to make positive inroads into solving the problem?
It is never enjoyable working in an environment where you are drowning in workload volumes as this often results in a culture of overload (in extreme cases, burnout) and feeling you are not cared for.
There are likely to be multiple causes driving this, and different options to resolve them; being clear about these is going to be essential for the wellbeing of your people and the future success of your business.
So what steps do you take to fully understand this? If you need a hand, we are very happy to suggest what you could do first.
Mark Turner – Head of Transforming Operations