Better Service through Engaged Employees

“Employee Engagement – the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort.– Kevin Kruse

Human resources are assets – possibly the most valuable assets for any company. It is surprising then that so many companies fail to leverage this asset to better their standing in the market and with their customers. The success of a company depends on happy customers – this happens through great customer service. However, employees serve the customers directly and hence better service is possible only through engaged employees – employees who are willing to ensure customer satisfaction in every way possible. Disengaged and unhappy employees are unlikely to provide good service to customers and neither would they be effective in fulfilling the other requirements of their jobs. Engaged employees are a greater asset than companies realize – just as dissatisfied employees can prove to be a major hazard for any company. Companies must first care internally in order to build a workforce of engaged employees and the rest would follow, through their employees.

Focusing on and investing in the training, personal development, adequate compensation and proper recognition of staff will result in motivated and engaged employees. Such employees are better equipped to generate more revenue from existing sources and find new sources to cause additional income. By focusing on employee engagement, a company is able to establish a sound culture, build strong brands and garner market support, which in turn leads to additional business, attracting of investors and the best and brightest talent in the market. Engaged employees are more productive in their job roles and are energized to provide top class service to customers. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair. Engaged employees are more professional – the work output is of superior quality and quantity, ensuring that a company can get more out of fewer engaged employees than they can out of an army of amateurs.

Engaged employees do not just happen. To create such a workforce is the responsibility and in the best interest of a company. Engaged employees are motivated to help the brand and company to succeed and are willing to ensure that customers have the best experiences every time they associate with the company. Engaged employees will be so since they would be empowered by the company to make decisions that would help the customers and the company – they would feel trusted and valued. When employees know that the company values their efforts, they would be more inclined to work harder and better to serve it and its customers. When employees feel connected and as valued partners of a company they would be willing and powerful brand ambassadors of a company. Their demeanour and conduct would amply display their allegiance and loyalty to the company, which in turn would serve to attract customers and bright talent in the market. Engaged employees would be happy to promote the company on their own personal social media sites as well, leading to even more recognition and awareness about the company they represent.

As mentioned, before a company can hope to gain customer engagement, it must focus on building a workforce of engaged employees at all levels and in all departments. This is so since customer service as we know, is the responsibility of the entire company and unless each person understands their responsibility towards customers, it would be impossible to improve the quality of customer service.

Employee engagement has huge benefits for any company. However, it is not a simple or one-off exercise – it requires time and commitment on the part of a company to ensure that its most valuable asset is happy and willing to give their best. The culture of the company must reflect this commitment – rewarding good behaviour and customer focus, providing adequate compensation and benefits, providing opportunities for training and other such business endeavours. The idea is to show existing and potential employees that they are valuable assets and that the company would do whatever it takes to keep them happy and loyal. With such a culture, it would be a lot easier to have a workforce of engaged employees, who in turn would provide the best in class customer service – a win-win combination for any company.  The company and its brand would be the motivating and inspiring factors and give a sense of purpose leading to engaged employees.

We believe that building a workforce of engaged employees should be part of the overall goals of a company, if it expects to gain more customers and remain successful. What steps has your company taken in building an engaged workforce and what are the challenges you faced in doing so?  The first step towards creating engaged employees is to make them feel part of the company –by letting them know both the existing goals and the plans for the future. By being open and transparent, employees feel a sense of involvement and security and can believe that they have a sound future with the company. This feeling fosters trust and confidence in employees, taking the level of employee engagement to a higher level. As this feeling grows, customers would be able to perceive heightened levels of service leading to their overall satisfaction. By making the company’s future transparent and tangible for employees, a company would be able to mould the behaviour of employees to insure the company’s and their future with it.

Companies must not wait to create engaged employees. This must start at the time of induction in to the company. An employee is both nervous and excited on the first day at work and smart companies would use these feelings as catalysts to drive engagement and enthusiasm for the company. A friend was responsible for conducting the induction program for new employees, even though she was not from the human resource department. She was called upon to conduct this program since her enthusiasm and engagement with the company was extremely high and she amply reflected this in her overall demeanour – her enthusiasm was infectious. The company had rewarded her with growth, great compensation and opportunities to show case her talent beyond her set job responsibilities. The company she represented was using their best asset to gain more assets and the affect was outstanding. The new employees came on-board as super engaged employees raring to go and committed to helping the company achieve success. They learnt and saw that the company would reward them for exhibiting the culture and serving customers to the best of their ability.

What is extremely clear in the example above, the company had created a personal connection with their employees who in turn were happy to spread it to other employees and customers. When a company creates engaged employees, they would work towards making a meaningful and lasting impact on the company and its customers, leading to profits and a formidable market reputation. As a company grows, their ability to invest in employee benefit programs also enhances, which in turn leads to better customer service, enhanced product quality and an even more enthused and energized workforce. A company must remember that merely speaking about building engagement and top class service does not suffice. They would also need to put actions in place to complement their words – the more benefits employees perceive, the higher will their level of engagement be.

A company is known by its workforce and culture – hence it would benefit a company to invest time and resources in building these two aspects. Engaged employees would lead to enhanced customer experiences and communication, add to the ability of the company to attract bright talent, achieve its goals and overall gain long-term success.

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