A pickaxe, a bow-saw and a spade! — HEIGH-HO, HEIGH-HO.

This is a subject that’s close to my heart, and I’m at risk of seriously breaking my self-imposed, 300 word limit here.

Everyone knows this, but employees make (or break) an organisations customer experience. Its obvious stuff! But why are so many organisations so terrible at engaging employees and increasing their personal satisfaction?

What the hell does “Employee Engagement” mean anyway?

What’s the Big Idea?

I don’t have a cook-book recipe for employee engagement, its means different things to different people, so a good start is to ask your people what it means to them. However social science has proven that there are at least a few factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction.

Purpose — The most successful organisations have a desire to do something that has meaning and importance — and they also profit from it. Organisations that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.

Self-direction — In my experience good leaders will share a purpose, lead by example and allow others to create the best environment for teams to succeed — the best leaders actually do this unconsciously. The best organisations have structures and processes in place to allow employees to do this.

Earlier this year one of my team noticed that a number of our customers were continually being transferred to other suppliers against their will. Calling the other supplier with the customer on the line to have a 3-way conversation halved the problem over-night — resulting in 4,000 happier customers and saving the business around £750,000.

Just think, how engaged you would be if you were the person who suggested and even involved in making this happen? Even more interesting this action wasn’t driven by any “innovation bonus” or a call to “work harder”. This happened because generally people want to improve their organisation and are more engaged when they’re just allowed to do it.

What the hell does “Employee Engagement” mean anyway?

Make it Fun! — Twice a year I take my team off to help a charity of our choice. In August we spent the day helping the ranger at Chevin Forest park to maintain the parkland. It’s amazing what a pickaxe, a bow-saw and a spade can do for team spirit and just getting out of the office for a day, not to mention the social value we added.

The Bottom-Line

My team engagement scores reached 92% this year by recognising that the old model of carrot and stick isn’t appropriate anymore and intentionally introducing purpose, self-direction and fun into the team has generated great results.

As customer experience leaders you owe it to yourself and your customers to understand what motivates people in your organisation and then create the best environment for success.

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