Why employee engagement is business critical
The need to radically improve employee engagement as part of a successful forward-looking customer experience programme was one of the key messages to arise from the recent Confirmit Community Conference 2014 (CCC’14) in San Francisco. Attendees were advised to consider employee engagement as a business critical activity that could transform customer experience, deliver operational improvements and make a real impact on the bottom line.
Employee engagement can no longer afford to be sidelined as a ‘nice-to-have’ add-on or limited to an annual employee satisfaction survey that can only provide a static measure on one given day. What’s needed is a cross-enterprise strategy that harnesses both the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and the Voice of the Employee (VoE) and the realisation that customers and employees are two sides of the same coin.
A report by Amelia Sizemore and John Dalton, VP, Research Director at Forrester Research, Inc. supports this argument, suggesting that: “To differentiate, leaders must harness the power of their employees and diffuse their customer experience strategies throughout the organisation.” The report also states: “Engaged employees deliver better experiences, boost profits, and are less likely to jump ship. But to appoint employees as customer advocates for and participants in the customer experience, organisations must weave customer centricity into their entire ecosystem.”
Quite simply, engaged employees are more likely to engender customer satisfaction, which in turn is more likely to increase cash flow. With more cash, a business is able to invest more in its employees, driving up employee loyalty and satisfaction as part of a continuous process of improvement.
In his presentation at the conference, Kevin Sheridan, author of The Times Best Seller ‘Building a Magnetic Culture’ explained that: “Companies must work harder to understand the key drivers of employee engagement – from regular recognition and career development through to open communication and organisational culture – if they want to empower their employees, and sustain an environment in which employees are less likely to leave and in fact are motivated to provide better outcomes for customers and the organisation.”
Tore Haggren, SVP Voice of the Employee, Confirmit, agreed: "Taking a combined approach to customer and employee engagement will enable companies to get more value out of both programmes. It’s clearly the best way to find out how customers and employees impact and relate to each other, but it’s also the best way to boost the bottom line. By incorporating factors such as revenue performance and churn rate, it’s possible to see just how significant the relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction is to financial and operational performance as a whole and to drive real change across the entire business.”
The Confirmit Community Conference 2014 brought together hundreds of VoC, Market Research (MR) and VoE professionals from 12 countries, under the banner “Be a Hero”. The series of conferences started in May in Orlando, travelled to London and Oslo, and concluded in San Francisco in late September. Attendees gathered to hear about the latest trends in VoC, VoE and MR and to share the successes and challenges faced by organisations running feedback programmes to enhance business performance.
Keynote speakers included representatives from Gartner, Temkin Group, ViaSat Inc., Best Buy, Infor, Asurion, Fresh Intelligence, Forrester Research, Inc., ITV, Kobra, Safmarine, Virgin Holidays, RONIN Corporation, Futurelab, Equinix Inc., AIG, NetApp, Siemens Building Technologies, Sony Mobile Communications, and Research Now.
 Key Takeaways From Forrester's 2013 Customer Experience Forum: Engage Employees”, Forrester Research, September 24, 2013
 Key Takeaways From Forrester's 2013 Customer Experience Forum: Engage Employees”, Forrester Research
September 24, 2013